American traffic, travel and transportation profile – 2013

In late May last year, I posted: “Rationalization of transportation: Putting the brakes on delay, worsening air, etc.,” the content primarily having to do with American commuting and transportation.

Some highlights:

360px-CBX_Parkchester_6_jeh[1]In 2011, incidentally, passenger miles taken on American public transportation was estimated to be 56.01 billion.

Well, an entire year has passed – almost – and there is nothing really earth-shattering regarding the 2013 traffic/transportation/travel trends.

Beginning with aggregate vehicle miles traveled (VMT), the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration reports in its “Traffic Volume Trends: December 2013” survey that the estimated 2013 cumulative VMT was 2.9723 trillion, up 0.6 percent compared to year 2012 which means that clocked off last year were another 18.1 billion more traveled motor vehicle miles.

According to State Smart Transportation Initiative information, average annual per-capita VMT, meanwhile, saw additional reduction, dropping from 9,412 in 2012 to 9,402. It is important to note 2012’s figures were updated from the original estimate of 9,363 vehicle miles of travel.

Interestingly, while per-capita VMT fell, cumulative VMT increased, presumably, attributed to population increase. The added cumulative driven miles, absent improvement in motor vehicle fuel efficiency coupled with greater reliance on zero-emissions vehicles (e.g., fuel-cell and electric vehicles), spells increased tailpipe emissions.

Meanwhile, the Research and Innovative Technology Administration – Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that 590,948,967 passengers in 2013 flew on scheduled U.S. flights, down from the number who flew in 2012.

Regarding U.S. public transit use, I was able to find American Public Transportation Association (APTA) ridership data for 2013’s first three quarters, that is Q1, Q2 and Q3 only. The respective APTA quarterly ridership numbers (excluding Q4) are as follows:

*(It appears the above Q1, Q2 and Q3 figures are off by a factor of 1,000. As such this would put total ridership for 2013’s first three quarters at 7,858,501,000 and not 7,858,501, which seems reasonable).

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