Americans Get Their Driving Mojo Back Over the Summer; Largest 4-Month Increase In 5 Years
The chart above shows the percent change in U.S. traffic volume through September (from the same month in the previous year), in a report released today by the Federal Highway Administration (data and report here). After falling for 17 consecutive months starting in November 2007, traffic volume has increased in each of the last four months. The 2.5% September increase is the largest monthly increase since a 3.8% increase in January 2006, and follows increases of 0.7% in August, 2.2% in July and 1.9% in June, and is the first time since the summer of 2006 that traffic volume has increased four months in a row (see chart). The cumulative 4-month June-Sept. increase of 7.3% is the largest 4-month increase since the 10.8% increase through May 2004, more than five years ago.
The chart below displays traffic volume as a moving 12-month total, showing a similar pattern to the percentage monthly increase above. After falling for 16 straight months going back to December 2007, the moving 12-month total has increased four months in a row, and marks the largest 4-month increase in traffic volume (12-month total) since the spring of 2005, more than four years ago.