Highways face record-breaking use in first part of 2015

More than ever, Americans are cruising the interstate highway system, logging 1.54 trillion miles so far this year, surpassing the 2007 record of 1.5 trillion,  according to recent estimates by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

“More people than ever are using the roads while also traveling greater distances,” Doug Hecox, a spokesman for the USDOT's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), recently told TI News Daily.

With this estimate roughly twice the number of miles traveled in 1981, the new data continues a trend of mileage doubling every generation. Additionally, the FHWA found an increase in travel miles for 16 consecutive months.

A USDOT report from earlier this year projected that by 2045 American highways will see an increase of 43 percent in freight traffic and a population growth of 70 million potential drivers, which seems supported by this latest date.

“Data sensors are mounted in the road," Hecox said. "From those devices, we are able to calculate the amount of people that are driving for our data reports. We release this data once every month, usually every third week. Once we feel comfortable with the data and that it is in fact correct, is when it is given out.”

The FHWA said all this data reaffirms the need for increased spending on infrastructure projects to deal with the nation’s aging highway system as it faces increasing use.

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