Summary of National and Regional Travel Trends : 1970-1995
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Summary of National and Regional Travel Trends : 1970-1995

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  • English

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      This paper summarizes travel trends in the United States and five regional areas for the period 1970-1995. Travel is summarized at the annual, monthly, weekly, and daily time scales. Data sources for this study included the annual automobile travel estimates included in the Table VM-2 from Highway Statistics and traffic count data from approximately 5,000 Automatic Traffic Recorder (ATR) sites nationwide. The nation was split into 5 regions, corresponding to the regional breakdown in Traffic Volume Trends. It was found that travel has grown at approximately 3 percent per year over the past 25 years. For recent years urban travel makes up more than 60 percent of the total travel in the United States. The urban travel growth rate is slowing while rural growth rate is increasing. This shift in growth rates is also occurring at the regional level. The daily distribution of travel shows that, since 1978, traffic distribution during the day has undergone significant changes. The early morning hours (12 midnight to 4:00 a.m.) have declined as a percentage of the total ADT. The peaks in the morning and in the afternoon are increasing as a percentage of the total and the shoulders are growing into the middle of the day. The share of travel occurring during daylight hours (between 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.) has been increasing since 1978, and accounts for over 80 percent of the travel during the day.
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