Measuring the Miles

Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) has released its annual report on the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Wisconsin over the past year. The 2012 report indicates the states roads got 59 billion miles of use in 2012, with the average citizen putting in 10,337 miles behind the wheel.


VMT is a commonly used measure of highway use and demand, and is calculated by combining data on statewide fuel consumption, average gas mileage and traffic count information.

Traffic forecasting officials at WisDOT credit the VMT increase to more commercial vehicles traveling Wisconsin roads and a stronger economy. An increase in the state’s population is also a contributing factor in the 2012 reporting.

Last year, Milwaukee County had the highest VMT (more than 5.9 billion miles); followed by Dane County (just over 5 billion miles); and Waukesha County (approximately 3.9 billion miles).

Wisconsin has about 113,000 miles of total roadway. The State Highway System (federal, state and interstate highways) accounts for about 12,000 miles of the overall roadway network, but carries more than 60 percent of the total traffic load. In addition, Wisconsin is home to about 5.5 million registered vehicles and more than four million licensed drivers.

Charts breaking down VMT by county and by type of road are available on the DOT website going back to 1998.