Partial Highway Statistics for 2018 Released
Back in the old days, people had to wait for FHWA to publish the hard copy once a year, but since 1992, online versions allow viewers to select individual tables and, in many cases, download data in spreadsheet form. This also allows FHWA to post the stub of the annual page early in the process and keep adding new tables as the data becomes available throughout the year.
As such, the 2018 issue, to date, has none of the spending or revenue tables, and none of the tables relating to the number and type of vehicles on the roads, or of the number and demographics of licensed drivers.
But they do have most of the updated tables for road and bridge extent, conditions, and usage, as well as some of the safety stats and performance indicators, and some of the motor fuel tables.
This allows us to mix and match data. For example, Table HM-15 shows route-miles by system, and Table HM-48 shows lane-miles by system, which lets us calculate the average number of lanes per mile by system. Then, Table VM-3 gives us 2018 vehicle miles-traveled data by system, which also lets us break down usage by system.
|2018||2018||Average||2018||Vehicles per Year per|
|Subtotal, F-A System||1,028,217||2,499,005||2.4||2,771,761||2,695,697||1,109,146|
HS also divides all roads into rural and urban and reclassifies each year. (This is why the extent stats can be tricky – some years it looks like the number of total miles of rural roads went down, but how much of this is due to population sprawl reclassifying previously rural areas as urban and how much is due to roads actually being put back to gravel or otherwise taken out of service is sometimes hard to discern.)
|2018 Lane-Miles||2018 Million VMT||Vehicles/year per Lane|
Looking at motor fuel, Table MF-21 has been updated to tell us that in 2018, 178.13 billion gallons of motor fuel were used for highway purposes in the U.S. That is basically no change from 2017’s 177.95 billion gallons. In conjunction with this, we can look at updated Table VM-202 to show us total U.S. vehicle miles-traveled was 3,240 billion in 2018, up a little from 2017’s 3,212 billion. Then we can divide one dataset into the other and divine the actual average fuel economy of vehicles currently on the road in the U.S., for the past 10 years:
The above are all national totals – but most of the HS data is broken down by state, if any readers want to see their own state’s data and compare it to other states or to national trends.
(Ed. Complaint: Looking at the past issues of HS dating back to 1946 makes us sad – every few years, FHWA used to publish a summary book that contained combined historical tables from the dawn of record-keeping to the current day. The published such Highway Statistics Summary books in 1945, 1965, 1975, 1985, and 1995. But they haven’t published one in 23 years, and while some of the annual issues since then include historical tables, not all do, and it is a royal pain to have to download 20+ spreadsheets one at a time to add data to a historical table that stopped in 1995.)