Total VMT and fatalities are up


[mid/late 2016 NSC estimates for fatalities are up big-time over 2015]

As a follow on to last week’s story about how Arizona 2015 traffic fatalities are up by at least 15% …

Preliminary data prepared by the NSC shows traffic fatalities nationally are expected to be up 10% (though an AP story says 8%) . And FHWA preliminary data shows total VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled) will increase to 3.1T miles, compared with 3T in 2014; (so perhaps a 3.5% increase).

The broader trends of VMT and particularly VMT per capita after having peaked in 2004 and decreasing for 10 years, ticked up slightly in 2014. The uptick in total VMT noted above is likely to produce another slight uptick in per capita VMT — but remaining far below the 2004 peak.

The US is a laggard in terms of improving traffic safety compared with virtually every other country in the developed world; and Arizona is a laggard compared to the rest of US, and absolutely pales in comparison to the states with the best safety records.

More about Per Capita VMT vis a vis Land Use

Interesting especially because it was an ADOT/USDOT-funded study, the full report, Land Use and Traffic Congestion , can be downloaded from ssti. Per capita VMT in the least-dense areas of Phoenix metro area was a whopping 50% higher than the most-dense:

The MAG region was divided into 17 jurisdictional areas and the household travel survey database used to explore differences in travel in relation to these key land use factors. Higher-density and more mixed-use areas such as South Scottsdale, Tempe, and East Phoenix were found to behave significantly differently from lower- density/less mixed use areas like Glendale, Gilbert, and North Scottsdale. Residential density for the more compact areas ranged from 6.14 to 6.94 households per acre vs. 2.86 to 3.61 households for the lower-density group. These higher-density areas also had better mix (0.53 vs. 0.30 value on a 0 to 1.0 entropy index scale); more retail and service opportunities within walking distance (42.4 vs. 15.4); and considerably more jobs accessible by transit (59,000 vs. 27,000). The implications of these differences may be seen in various travel measures, including:

  • Vehicle Ownership: 1.55 vs. 1.92.
  • Average Trip Lengths: 7.4 vs. 10.7 miles for home-based work trips; 2.7 vs. 4.3 for home-based shopping trips; 4.4 vs. 5.2 for home-based other trips; and 4.6 vs. 5.3 for nonhome-based trips.
  • Per Capita VMT: 10.5 miles per day vs. 15.4 miles per day.

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