Northeast sees small travel increase in June

Many regions in the United States saw a fairly modest increase in vehicle travel at the start of the summer season, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

The FHWA issues monthly Traffic Volume Trends reports to estimate the vehicle miles traveled in individual states. The reports are released on a two-month delay.

Drivers in June traveled an estimated 280.94 billion miles, a year-over-year increase of 1.2 percent. The seasonally adjusted travel total rose 1 percent to 266.6 billion miles. The estimated total for the first half of the year was 1.58 trillion miles, while the moving 12-month total stood at 3.19 trillion miles.

In the Northeast region—which consists of the New England states, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania—travel increased to 39.08 billion miles. This total was up 0.8 percent from June 2016.

Connecticut had an estimated travel total of 2.86 billion miles, up 0.8 percent from the previous year. Travel on urban arterial roads climbed 0.9 percent to 2.07 billion miles, while rural arterial travel rose by 0.1 percent to 153 million miles.

Rhode Island was one of only five states with a year-over-year decrease in overall travel. Drivers in the state traveled an estimated 706 million miles, down 0.5 percent from June 2016. Although rural arterial travel was up 1.2 percent to 60 million miles, urban arterial travel was down 0.7 percent to 539 million miles.

The 13 states in the Western region had the strongest increase in traffic, with the region's travel total increasing 2.2 percent to 63.21 billion miles. The North Central region, 12 states from Ohio to North Dakota, had the smallest travel increase, rising 0.5 percent to 63.89 billion miles.

The FHWA recorded 1.3 percent increases in both the South Atlantic and South Gulf regions. The former area, eight states stretching from Maryland to Florida as well as the District of Columbia, had a travel total of 58.78 billion miles. The latter region, with eight states ranging from Texas to Kentucky, recorded a travel total of 55.98 billion miles.

The largest single state travel increase occurred in Oklahoma, where the number of vehicle miles traveled increased 3.5 percent to 4.19 billion miles. Nevada had a 3.4 percent increase in travel to 2.26 billion miles, while Kansas had a 3.3 percent increase to 2.89 billion miles.

Michigan had the most notable decrease in traffic, with its travel total falling 2.3 percent to 8.64 billion miles. Travel also dropped 2 percent to 4.33 billion miles in Louisiana and 1.2 percent to 301 million miles in the District of Columbia.

Year-over-year increases in estimated travel volume were less than 1 percent in 16 states. Overall travel in two states, Alabama and Vermont, was virtually unchanged from the year before.

Urban arterial travel was down in 15 states as well as the District of Columbia. Michigan had the largest decrease, with this type of travel decreasing 4.7 percent to 4.38 billion miles. Louisiana was the only state with a drop in rural arterial travel, which fell 1.2 percent to 1.12 billion miles.

The Traffic Volume trends reports are based on information from thousands of continuous traffic counting stations, which measure traffic volume and compare it to the volume in the same month of the previous year to estimate the number of miles traveled in the state. The June report included information from 4,957 stations, including 24 in Connecticut and 74 in Rhode Island.

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