Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

AASHTO Journal

U.S. October Road Traffic Continues Run of New Record Highs

Motor vehicle travel on all U.S. highways and streets increased 1.2 percent in October from a year earlier – adding 3.3 billion more vehicle miles – and continued a string of record-high volume levels.

The Federal Highway Administration in its latest monthly "Traffic Volume Trends" report said motorists racked up an estimated 275 billion vehicle miles in October as demand for roadway travel kept growing.

After traffic volume set an all-time yearly high in 2016, it is on pace for another record year in 2017.

traffic4.jpgThe FHWA said that in the 10 months of 2017 through October, traffic has increased 1.3 percent or by 34.6 billion vehicle miles.

That is often reflected in increasing roadway congestion levels and public cries for greater investment in highway improvements and other mobility projects to lessen the time spent stuck in traffic.

The growth has come despite that gasoline prices nationwide have risen this year by an average of 25 cents per gallon.

State departments of transportation and other agencies have been trying to keep pace with demand by accelerating projects where they can, by adding more transit options and through use of congestion-pricing tolls and innovative lane-management practices.

The traffic growth has not always been steady in 2017, although each month has shown a gain from the same month in 2016.

For instance, the FHWA said September saw only a 0.3 percent year-over-year increase after a 1.4 percent gain in August, as powerful hurricanes and their aftermath slowed activity in the South Gulf states and spurred a huge evacuation in Florida.

During October, roadway traffic rose the most in the West at 2.5 percent, while it rebounded in the South Atlantic region with a 1.8 percent gain. The Northeast saw a 1.1 rise and the South Gulf region a 0.5 percent increase, but traffic flattened to show no gain in the overall North Central area.

Questions regarding this article may be directed to

Recommended Stories

FHWA Sends $1.074B to State DOTs, Federal Agencies to Reimburse for Emergency Costs

The Federal Highway Administration said it was distributing $1.074 billion to state departments of transportation and federal land management agencies to reimburse them for costs of repairing infrastructure damaged by natural disasters and other emergencies.

April 20, 2018

FTA Nominee Drake Highlights ‘Advocacy’ for Transit, But N.J. Senator Issues Warning

​Former U.S. House member Thelma Drake, President Trump's nominee to head the Federal Transit Administration, told senators she considers herself to be a "transit advocate" and if confirmed will place what she called a "particular focus" on the needs of rural transit agencies.

April 20, 2018

FHWA Begins Taking Applications for $60M in New Round of Advanced Technology Grants

The Federal Highway Administration said it has opened up a $60 million pool of 2018 transportation technology grants for which states, cities and other agencies can compete.

April 20, 2018

Past Issues

Issue Date: