Statewide vehicle miles traveled last year up 550 million miles compared to 2013
Drivers travelled over 60 billion miles in Wisconsin last year, an increase of more than 550 million miles compared to 2013. Traffic forecasters with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) attribute the increase in vehicle miles travelled (VMT) to growth in commercial vehicle traffic and the state’s population.
Over the last 45 years, Wisconsin’s population increased about 30 percent (from about 4.4 million in 1970 to 5.7 million today). Over the same period, Wisconsin VMT has more than doubled (130 percent increase) from 25.9 billion miles travelled in 1970 to 60 billion miles today. The 60 billion miles motorists travelled on Wisconsin roadways last year is equal to about 322 round-trips between the Earth and sun. Last year, the average Wisconsin resident traveled 10,430 miles. Wisconsin has about 4.2 million licensed drivers.
VMT is a commonly-used measure of highway use that assists in transportation planning. It provides a broad or aggregate picture of overall travel and is calculated by combining data on statewide fuel consumption, average vehicle gas mileage and traffic count information. WisDOT incorporates data from about 28,000 traffic count locations across the state.
Traffic forecasters can also estimate current and future Annual Average Daily Traffic. AADT is used to help plan and design a specific highway, intersection, or bridge improvement.
More information on Wisconsin’s 2014 VMT data, including a county by county breakdown can be found on the WisDOT website (http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/projects/data-plan/veh-miles/default.aspx).