Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) is a critical performance measure that is used extensively in highway transportation management for financial analysis, resource allocation, impact assessments, and reporting to oversight agencies. As highway revenue from fuel taxes continues to plummet and user-based taxes such as VMT fees become increasingly attractive, consistent and reliable VMT estimates have become critical for highway funding evaluation and administration. At the present time, there are several methods for VMT estimation that typically yield estimates that are inconsistent or inaccurate. This study was commissioned by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to develop a benchmark method for VMT estimation and provide calibration factors for the VMT estimation methods.

The study’s core outcome is a segment-level framework for VMT estimation For the state roads, a comprehensive database was developed which facilitates extensive aggregations of VMT by geographical scope, route, functional class, and vehicle class. For the local roads, a sample of counties of different spatial locations and degrees of urbanization were used, and cluster analysis, geographic information systems (GIS), and spatial interpolation techniques were used to expand the VMT estimates from the local road sample to the population of all counties in the state.

The results of this study indicate that there is significant variation in the results from the various VMT estimation methods. The technique developed in this study for reconciling these different VMT estimates was validated using the estimate from the benchmark method (segment-level) as a basis. The implementation platform developed in this study was designed to produce outcomes that address the VMT data needs of the intended end users and stakeholders and could be enhanced in the future as and when data become available.

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vehicle miles of travel, VMT estimation, travel

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Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, Indiana

Date of this Version