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Data Dashboard: Vehicle Miles Traveled


Vehicle Miles Traveled

Trend at a Glance

At last count

11.75 billion miles traveled in Wake County during 2019

Current Through




What does this measure?

Vehicle miles traveled is the annual number of miles traveled by personal and commercial vehicles on Wake County roads and highways. Both citizens and governments can benefit from fewer vehicle miles traveled. Shorter commute times and fewer vehicle miles traveled results in less wear on local roads, decreased roadway congestion, and reduced carbon emissions. Reducing miles traveled also contributes to a higher quality of life, as it means citizens are spending less time in cars and less money on roadway maintenance, fuel, and vehicle maintenance. Vehicle miles traveled is in part a factor of the organization and infrastructure of the region (are employment, shopping, and service centers conveniently located to residential areas?) and public transportation systems (can a citizen elect to use public transportation options regularly?). However, it is important to remember that declining vehicle miles may also be a sign of a weakening economy, as vehicle miles traveled is also a signal that goods and services are moving around the county, that citizens are commuting to work, and that citizens are able to afford owning and operating an automobile.

How is Wake County performing?

While total annual vehicle miles has increased steadily since 1990 at an average rate of 0.4% per year through 2016.  In the most recent year (2017), Wake County saw the highest vehicle miles traveled in total.  The average miles traveled per capita per day was approximately 29.4.

Did you know?

The average daily miles traveled per capita is just over 29 in Wake County.

Data Source

Data Considerations

Note that in 2009, the North Carolina Department of Transportation changed its method for calculating vehicle miles traveled at the county and statewide level. While the growth trends in miles traveled between 1990 and 2008 remained valid, the change in methodology resulted in a large jump in the number of miles traveled between 2008 and 2009. This inconsistency has been accounted for by back calculating vehicle miles traveled by employing the formula used since 2009 to the 1990-2008 growth trends; therefore data published here may not match unrevised data published elsewhere. Please contact the North Carolina Department of Transportation with further questions.

Charts & Maps

WCBTN - VMT - 2018.07 Update.jpg
WCBTN - VMT PerCap - 2018.07 Update.jpg

Data is updated:

Data is available periodically from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Related Resources


February 2020 to reflect estimates through July 2019




Created at 1/3/2014 3:42 PM by Lori K. Neumeier
Last modified at 2/17/2020 9:39 PM by Jason Horton

Wake County Departments & Agencies: