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Wisconsin Drivers Traveled Record 62.1 Billion Miles in 2015

Drivers traveled an all-time record 62.1 billion miles on Wisconsin roadways in 2015, representing an increase of nearly 2.1 billion miles compared to 2014 and the largest annual percentage jump in Wisconsin vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 17 years. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation attributes the increase in VMT to several factors including a strengthening economy, growing population, lower gas prices and continued growth in commercial motor vehicle traffic. The growth in Wisconsin’s VMT is consistent with traffic increases seen nationally.

“As overall travel increases, we especially see growth in commercial motor vehicle traffic which has increased 20 percent in just the last four years,” said WisDOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb. “It’s why our department remains focused on the safe, efficient movement of freight—from developing the first-ever State Freight Plan to be completed early next year, to the Governor’s Fifth Annual Freight Summit held last week in Rothschild.”

VMT is a nationally-agreed upon 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, highway performance monitoring system and automatic traffic recorder continuous traffic count information. WisDOT incorporates data from about 28,000 short-term traffic count locations across the state.

Other VMT and travel-related facts:

  •          Last year, the average Wisconsin resident traveled 10,767 miles;
  •          The 62.1 billion miles motorists traveled on Wisconsin roadways last year is equal to about 334 round-trips between the Earth and Sun;
  •          Over the last 40 years, Wisconsin VMT has more than doubled—from 29.4 billion miles traveled in 1975 to 62.1 billion today.
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