Travel down slightly in Connecticut, Rhode Island in February

Travel totals in the United States continued to increase during February, but several New England states experienced year-over-year travel declines amidst a series of snowstorms.

According to the Federal Highway Administration's latest Traffic Volume Trends report, U.S. drivers racked up an estimated 233.45 billion vehicle miles in February. This marked a 1.9 percent increase from February 2016. The seasonally adjusted total stood at 267.2 billion miles, a year-over-year increase of 1.6 percent.

Drivers traveled an estimated 475.64 billion miles in the first two months of the year, up from 466.11 billion miles in the first two months of 2016. The moving 12-month total was 3.18 trillion miles, roughly equal to that in January.

Overall travel was down in both Connecticut and Rhode Island during February. Drivers in Connecticut traveled an estimated 2.27 billion miles, down 0.3 percent from the previous year. This included a 0.3 percent reduction in urban arterial travel to 1.66 billion miles. Rural arterial travel was unchanged at 113 million miles.

In Rhode Island, overall travel fell 0.5 percent to 507 million miles. This total included a 0.5 percent drop in urban arterial travel to 383 million miles, while rural arterial travel fell 0.7 percent to 47 million miles.

Despite wintry weather, overall travel in the Northeast region saw a modest increase in February. Vehicle miles traveled in the region—which includes New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and the New England states—rose 1 percent to 31.74 billion miles.

Strong snowstorms helped blunt travel in the 13 states of the Western region. Overall travel was down from the previous year in eight of the region's states, but the travel total for the region as a whole increased 0.4 percent to 50.15 billion miles.

The twelve states of the North Central region, which stretches from Ohio to North Dakota, had the strongest travel increase at 3.5 percent. The travel total in this region was 51.78 billion miles.

Travel increased 3.1 percent to 51.79 billion miles in the South Atlantic region, which includes eight states from Maryland to Florida as well as the District of Columbia. In the South Gulf region—eight states stretching from Kentucky to Texas—travel increased 1.2 percent to 47.99 billion miles.

Michigan had the highest single state travel increase, with the number of vehicle miles traveled increasing 7.5 percent to 7.87 billion. Travel totals were up 6.4 percent to 8.84 billion miles in North Carolina and 5.2 percent to 1.41 billion miles in West Virginia.

Travel totals were down in 14 states. The biggest reductions occurred in Alaska and Wyoming, with both states seeing a year-over-year decrease of 4.5 percent. Alaska's travel total for February stood at 326 million miles, while Wyoming's stood at 586 million miles.

Urban arterial travel decreased in 15 states, while rural arterial travel fell in 12. Alaska had the most significant decreases in both types of travel; urban arterial travel was down by 4.5 percent, while rural arterial travel dropped by 6.2 percent.

The FHWA's Traffic Volume Trends reports are based on data from continuous traffic counting stations located nationwide. These stations measure the volume of traffic and compare it to the same month in the previous year. February's report included information from 35 stations in Connecticut and 79 in Rhode Island.

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