U.S. travel climbs slightly in June

Travel in the United States was up slightly at the start of the summer season, according to the latest Traffic Volume Trends report from the Federal Highway Administration. While overall travel in the Northeast was down, Rhode Island had the largest traffic increase in the nation.

The FHWA estimates that drivers traveled approximately 281.39 billion miles during the month of June. This was up 0.3 percent from the total of 280.54 billion miles in June 2017. The seasonally adjusted travel total had a year-over-year increase of 0.9 percent to 269.2 billion miles.

Drivers traveled an estimated 1.58 trillion miles in the first half of the year. The moving 12-month total stood at 3.22 trillion miles, up 0.6 percent from the same time in the previous year.

In the Northeast region—including the New England states, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania—drivers traveled an estimated 38.18 billion miles in June. This was a drop of 0.4 percent from the previous year.

Bucking this trend, Rhode Island travel was up 4 percent from June 2017. Drivers in the state traveled an estimated 714 million miles during the month, including a 4.2 percent increase to 554 million miles on urban arterial roads and a 1.6 percent increase to 54 million miles on rural arterial roads.

Connecticut travel dropped 0.4 percent to 2.78 billion miles. This included a 0.4 percent drops in both urban and rural arterial travel, to 2.02 billion miles on the former type of road and 148 million miles on the latter.

The North Central region, 12 states ranging from Ohio to North Dakota, was the only other one with a travel reduction. Drivers in this region put an estimated 63.07 billion miles on their odometers, down 0.6 percent from the previous year.

The strongest annual travel increase occurred in the South Atlantic region, which includes eight states stretching from Maryland to Florida as well as the District of Columbia. The travel total in this region increased 1.3 percent to 60.14 billion miles.

The South Gulf region, consisting of eight states stretching from Kentucky to Texas, had a 0.6 percent increase in travel to 57.02 billion miles. In the 13 states of the West, travel increased 0.4 percent to 62.99 billion miles.

After Rhode Island, Florida had the most significant single state travel increase, with its total growing 2.8 percent to 18.49 billion miles. This was followed by a 2.3 percent increase to 937 million miles in South Dakota as well as 2 percent increases to 4.97 billion miles in South Carolina and 1.64 billion miles in Idaho.

Travel was down from the previous year in 25 states as well as the District of Columbia. The steepest decline occurred in Arkansas, where travel fell 2.1 percent to 3.26 billion miles. Travel was also down 2 percent to 5.27 billion miles in Maryland and 1.4 percent to 10.25 billion miles in Illinois.

The FHWA Traffic Volume Trends are based in information from thousands of continuous traffic counting stations, which measure traffic volume against the same month in the previous year. The June report included data from 4,859 stations, including 39 in Rhode Island and nine in Connecticut.

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