Long-Distance Passenger Travel

Long-Distance Passenger Travel

People in the United States made, on average, nine long-distance trips per person in 2001. This amounted to a total of 2.6 billion trips covering 1.4 trillion miles. The distance traveled on these trips in 2001 was about 4,900 miles per person [1].

Long-distance trips are trips of 50 miles or more from home to the farthest destination traveled. The data come from the 2001 National Household Travel Survey (box 5-B) and were collected between March 2001 and May 2002. U.S. residents made 89 percent of their long-distance trips in 2001 by personal vehicle, such as cars, vans, and motorcycles1 (figure 5-3). Travel by airplane (7 percent) accounted for most of the other trips. People used buses for 2 percent of long-distance trips and trains for 1 percent. The median length of long-distance airplane trips is much longer than trips on other modes (figure 5-4). Still, people traveled 56 percent of the miles by personal vehicle and 41 percent by air (figure 5-5).

People stayed in their home state for most of their long-distance trips (63 percent). These trips accounted for 28 percent of the miles traveled. International travel made up only 1 percent of long-distance trips but consumed 14 percent of the total miles traveled. Trips within the United States but away from the home state constituted 37 percent of trips and 59 percent of the miles traveled [1].


1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics and Federal Highway Administration, 2001 National Household Travel Survey data, CD-ROM, February 2004.

1 Personal vehicles are cars, vans, sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, other trucks (e.g., dump trucks and trailer trucks), recreational vehicles (not including watercraft), and motorcycles.