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Daily Vehicle Travel During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

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Experimental Data: These data are experimental and may not meet all of our quality standards. Experimental data products are created using new data sources or methodologies that benefit data users in the absence of other relevant products. We are seeking feedback from data users and stakeholders on the quality and usefulness of these new products. Experimental data products that meet our quality standards and demonstrate sufficient user demand may enter regular production if resources permit.

The data in the charts and graphs above start March 1, 2020 and is updated weekly on Tuesday. The data lags 72 hours behind the current date.

Indexing: To normalize the metrics, INRIX established a range of dates that would be considered “typical” travel behavior, not impacted by the pandemic. INRIX defined the comparison period as all non-holiday days between January 20 to February 28, 2020, inclusive. Using these dates, they computed the median trip count, distance traveled, trip duration, and average trip distance by day of week and created a ratio of the observed value and the median typical value for that measure for that day of week. The indexed values represent the observed measure as a fraction of what would be expected if we had not experienced COVID-19.

Seasonal Adjustment: The seasonal adjustment mathematically adjusts the observed values to reflect changes because of seasonal trends. INRIX adjusted the data from the baseline time period, using their own internal seasonal adjustment methodology, to reflect the expected values for a given year.  

INRIX does not treat individual holidays (e.g., Independence Day or Labor Day) differently in the index or seasonal adjustment calculations.

Definitions:

Passenger vehicle: road motor vehicle, intended to carry passengers and weighing between 0 and 14,000 lbs.

Local Fleets: service vehicles and local delivery vehicles weighing between 14,001 and 26,000 lbs.

Long-Haul Trucks: commercial trucks that weigh more than 26,000 lbs.

Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT): the estimated on-road distance traversed by each trip for a given vehicle type, region, and time period.

Trip Duration: the time between the start and end points of all trips for a given vehicle type, region, and time period.

Trip Count: INRIX trips are created using data from several sources, including: commercial vehicle transponders, in-vehicle navigation, and mobile applications and SDKs. The trip count is the number of trips that originate in that region at that time period that cover at least 200 meters in 10 minutes; if those criteria are not met, the trip is ended. When movement starts again, a new trip record is created.

Average Trip Distance: the estimated travel distance divided by number of trips for a given vehicle type, region, and time period.

For more information on long-term trends in VMT, BTS seasonally adjusts the monthly FHWA VMT values. They can be found https://www.transtats.bts.gov/osea/seasonaladjustment/

Source: 

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Department of Energy to access vehicle trends from INRIX.

INRIX developed a series of flash indicators that provide a snapshot of the transportation system given the COVID-19 pandemic. The INRIX Trip Trends Dashboard is designed to help understand highway passenger and truck transportation travel trends during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Dashboard provides daily summary-level information about traffic trends delivered from over 100 million GPS-based trips per day in the U.S. across consumer vehicles, local fleets, and long-haul trucks.

INRIX uses device/trip ID, location, heading, and speed from connected cars, mobile phones, local fleet reports, and long-haul truck transponders to calculate trip count, trip distance, trip duration, and vehicle miles traveled.

The state-wide shelter-in-place dates are based on the New York Times tracking of state policy changes titled “See How All 50 States are Reopening (and Closing Again).” The New York Times article is regularly updated and can be found at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/states-reopen-map-coronavirus.html. The last substantial change to this dashboard based on this article was July 21, 2020.