2009 Ends with an Overall Increase in Vehicle Travel Over 2008; Traffic Volume Remains Unchanged from December 2008 to 2009
February 24, 2010

Vehicle Miles Driven by Region (in billions)
  December 2008 December 2009 Percent Change
Northeast 37,389 37,612 +0.6
South Atlantic 50,856 49,771 -2.1
North Central 51,452 51,963 +1.0
South Gulf 45,904 45,544 -0.8
West 52,979 53,585 +1.1
Total 238,580 238,476 0.0

The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) estimates that 2009 ended with a .2 percent increase in vehicle miles driven over the entire previous year, in what could perhaps be a sign of a reviving automotive industry (and economy at large). The FHA, a division of the Department of Transportation, tracks both monthly travel on U.S. roadways, along with cumulative travel throughout the year. FHA estimates that a total of 2,293.4 billion vehicle miles were driven during the year 2009, compared with 2,925.7 in 2008.

Comparing month to month, December travel in 2008 and 2009 was nearly even, with 238.5 billion vehicle miles driven in December 2009, compared with 238.6 billion vehicle miles driven in 2008-a 0 percent change.

This continues the trend that appeared throughout the last nine months of 2009; October was the only month between April 2009 and the end of the year that traffic was down from 2008. (CLICK HERE for related story.)

From November to December 2009, traffic also rose by 0.2 percent-from 2,693.9 billion vehicle miles to 2,932.4 billion vehicle miles.

Regionally, vehicle traffic also was up for all regions except the Mid-Atlantic and South Gulf regions (see chart below).

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