As motor vehicle manufacturers plan what types of cars, trucks, and commercial vehicles to launch in the coming years, federal highway data can be a critical tool in catching trends in how and where people are driving. From 1969 until 2002, both urban and rural miles driven per year grew rapidly, with urban growth outpacing rural traffic. Since 2002, urban growth has continued but rural traffic has fallen. Such trends explain why automakers are spending billions to develop fuel-efficient small cars, despite the popularity of trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs).

3.2 trillion vehicle miles driven on U.S. state and local highways in 2016, up 7.4% from 2006

69.4% of highway traffic was urban in 2016, up 4.2 percentage points from 2006

1969 year urban traffic miles overtook rural traffic (537.4 billion, urban vs. 525.4 billion, rural)

61% of commercial vehicle miles driven by Class 8 trucks in 2015; the roughly 60% Class 8 vs. 40% medium-duty ratio has stayed steady for more than a decade