AASHTO Journal

November Traffic Shows Continued Record Run as Sector Awaits Investment Plan

Traffic on U.S. roads continued to increase to new record highs in November 2017, the Federal Highway Administration reported, adding to pressure on surface transportation infrastructure while federal policymakers talk about how to boost project investments.

The FHWA in its latest "Traffic Volume Trends" report said traffic increased by 1.1 percent or 2.8 billion vehicle miles from November 2016.

traffic2.jpgThat continues a long run of travel volume setting ever-new record high levels, at a time when the federal government, states and local communities struggle to keep up and invest in infrastructure upgrades.

In fact, recent data shows that federal cash outlays to state departments of transportation flattened for federal-aid highway programs to just a 0.38 percent increase in the 2017  fiscal year, followed by a decline in the first three months of the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

President Trump used part of the State of the Union speech Jan. 30 to tout his goal to sharply increase infrastructure spending, through a plan that relies heavily on leveraging new non-federal investments from states, localities and private, for-profit companies.

While all that is under way U.S. motorists are driving more miles on roads and bridges.

The FHWA report includes traffic volume by all vehicles, including passenger cars, transit buses and commercial trucks that are reportedly experiencing a boom in freight demand.

The agency's monthly reports show traffic has increased throughout calendar 2017, with a 1.3 percent volume increase for January-November from the same period a year earlier.

The FHWA said that in November traffic grew in all regions except for its North-Central region of Midwest states, where volume contracted 0.7 percent. But volume grew 1.9 percent in the West, 1.6 percent in the FHWA's South-Gulf grouping of states, 1.5 percent in the South Atlantic and 0.9 percent in the Northeast.

Questions regarding this article may be directed to editor@aashtojournal.org.

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