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US Vehicle Miles Traveled Up 2.5% in September

Based on preliminary reports from the State Highway Agencies, total vehicle miles traveled on all roads and streets in the US increased by 2.5% (5.8 billion vehicle miles) for September 2009 as compared with September 2008, according to the latest Traffic Volume Trends report from the US Federal Highway Administration.

US VMT moving 12-month total through Sep 09. Click to enlarge.

Total VMT for the month is estimated to be 240.7 billion vehicle miles. This total includes 83.9 billion vehicle-miles on rural roads and 156.8 billion vehicle-miles on urban roads and streets.

Cumulative Travel for 2009 changed by +0.3% (6.7 billion vehicle miles). The cumulative estimate for the year is 2,208.5 billion vehicle miles of travel.

Traffic Volume Trends is a monthly report based on hourly traffic count data. These data, collected at approximately 4,000 continuous traffic counting locations nationwide, are used to determine the percent change in traffic for the current month compared to the same month in the previous year. This percent change is applied to the travel for the same month of the previous year to obtain an estimate of travel for the current month.



Does traffic volume have a direct relationship with economic activities?

If so, and if sustained in the next few months, the economy may be improving.

OTOH, lower fuel prices may have also played and important role.


Nope. It can mean the opposite actualy as people formerly able to afford to live close to work might now be living farther away in a much cheaper home or have 2-3 jobs now because hours at old job have been cut back or they were fired from high paying job.


This shows the nature of trying to correlate two items that seem to have a cause and effect, but actually do not. Common sense and reasoning only go so far and then it becomes nothing but idle speculation.


Is population growth another main reason?


Yups pop growth is also a factor.


People have accepted $3.00 a gallon for gas. I have noticed more people speeding and driving less economically in general. So until we see another rise in gasoline prices, I see continued increase in gasoline consumption.


Interesting comments.
If the economics indicater is prime then this will indicate recovery.
Even though the buisness component would seem a less likely contributer this early.
Lower gas prices and a phsycological decision(s) 'spending and driving therapy' is a likely fit too.

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