Connecticut traffic drops in August

Connecticut was one of the few states in the nation where traffic volume decreased in August, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration.

In its Traffic Volume Trends report for the month, the FHWA says the estimated vehicle miles traveled in Connecticut fell 1.1 percent from the previous year to 2.87 billion miles. This was the second consecutive month with a year-over-year decline in traffic in the state, following a 1.3 percent decrease to 2.86 billion miles in July.

The estimated total for vehicle miles traveled on Connecticut's urban arterial roads in August was 2.07 billion miles, a 1.2 percent reduction from August 2016. Travel on rural arterial roads was up 0.6 percent to 153 million miles.

Rhode Island had a 2.1 percent increase in its estimated travel total, which stood at 866 million miles for the month. This included a 2.5 percent increase in urban arterial travel to 650 million miles, although rural arterial travel fell 1.5 percent to 83 million miles.

In the United States as a whole, the estimated number of vehicle miles traveled rose 1.4 percent to 283.32 billion miles. Drivers traveled an estimated 2.15 trillion miles in the first nine months of the year, while the moving 12-month total stood at 3.2 trillion miles.

Travel increases were relatively consistent across the nation. In the Northeast region—which includes the New England states as well as New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania—the estimated vehicle miles traveled was up 1.2 percent to 41.26 billion miles. The South Gulf region, which includes eight states stretching from Kentucky to Texas, also saw a 1.2 percent increase in overall travel to 56.36 billion miles.

Travel was up 1.4 percent in both the South Atlantic region and the Western region. The former, which includes eight states from Maryland to Florida as well as the District of Columbia, had an estimated travel total of 59.2 billion miles for August. The 13 states of the West had a cumulative total of 63.57 billion miles.

The smallest travel increase occurred in the North Central region, consisting of 12 states from Ohio to North Dakota. Estimated travel in this area was up 1.1 percent to 62.94 billion miles.

The largest single state increase in travel occurred in Nevada, which had a 5.5 percent increase in travel to 2.42 billion miles. This was followed by a 4.1 percent increase to 2.95 billion miles in Kansas and a 3.2 percent increase to 3.08 billion miles in Utah.

Only three states and the District of Columbia had a year-over-year decrease in their estimated travel totals. In addition to Connecticut, these included a 3.6 percent decrease to 4.41 billion miles in Louisiana, a 0.5 percent decrease to 479 million miles in Alaska, and a 0.4 percent decrease to 363 million miles in Washington, D.C.

Urban arterial travel was down in 10 states, led by a 4.1 percent decline to 2.18 billion miles in Louisiana and a 2 percent decrease to 297 million miles in Montana. Only three states saw less rural arterial travel, most notably a 2.2 percent decrease to 1.19 billion miles in Louisiana.

The FHWA issues its Traffic Volume Trends reports on a two-month delay. The reports are based on data collected by thousands of continuous traffic counting locations, which measure traffic volume and compare it to the same month in the previous year to determine changes and estimate vehicle miles traveled. The report for August included data from 4,881 stations, including 20 in Connecticut and 37 in Rhode Island.

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