US driving topped 2.4 trillion miles in the first nine months of 2016, an increase of 3.0% compared to the same period last year, lengthening a series of consecutive monthly increases that started in April 2014, according to preliminary new data released by the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
The new data, published in FHWA’s latest “Traffic Volume Trends” report—a monthly estimate of US road travel—show that more than 265.5 billion miles were driven in September 2016 alone—a 2.4% increase over the previous September and a 0.4% increase compared with August 2016.
The September 2016 report also includes seasonally-adjusted data, which is conducted by USDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics as a way to even out seasonal variation in travel and enable vehicle miles travelled (VMT) comparisons with any other month in any year. The seasonally-adjusted vehicle miles traveled for September 2016 were 268.7 billion miles. The estimates include passenger vehicle, bus and truck travel.
In September, US drivers increased total mileage among all five regions of the United States. At 5.5%, traffic in the West—a 13-state region stretching from California to Montana, and including Hawaii and Alaska—led the nation with the largest%age increase in unadjusted VMT, and continued an uninterrupted series of monthly increases that began in October 2013.
At 27.8 billion VMT, California accounted for more miles driven in September 2016 than the combined 27.7 billion miles of 19 states—Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming – and Washington, D.C.
At 1.6%, the North Central—a 12-state area stretching from North Dakota to Ohio—had the smallest percentage increase in unadjusted VMT for the month.
At 5.7%, Idaho led the nation with the largest unadjusted single-state traffic percentage increase compared to the same month a year earlier, followed by Utah at 5.5% and Nevada at 5.3%. For the seventh month in a row, at 2.2%, North Dakota led the nation with the largest unadjusted traffic decrease for the month.