Auto travel is an integral part of the travel sector, with approximately 1.7 billion person-trips (84% of all U.S. domestic person-trips) being taken by car, truck, camper/RV, or rental car, according to the U.S. Travel Association (USTA, www.ustravel.org).
Tourism Works for America, by the USTA, provides the following assessment of automobile travel:
• Automobile travel accounts for 77% of business travel.
• Fifty-three percent (53%) of road travelers stay in a hotel, motel, or B&B on an overnight trip.
• Average trip spending by road travelers is over $275.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA, www.fhwa.dot.gov) estimates that Americans drove 3.1 trillion miles in 2015, a new record. The previous record was
3.0 trillion miles set in 2007, before the Great Recession led to a sharp reduction in driving.
ROAD TRAVEL Automobile Travel US Photo Gallery
National Scenic Byways, a collection of 149 distinct and diverse roads designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, are assessed in Chapter 49 of this handblog.
In a recent survey by Office of Travel and Tourism Industries for the U.S. Department of Commerce (http://tinet.ita.doc.gov/), more than one-third of adults said they traveled between 100 miles and 300 miles for a day trip within the past year.
A survey by GfK Roper (www.gfkamerica.com) found the following characteristics of summer road trips:
• Fifty-nine percent (59%) of people make at least two or more stops for food or drinks during their summer road trip; 31% stop three times or more.
• Seventy-four percent (74%) of road travelers say they make their food and drink stops spontaneously as needed; 15% of people plan their food and drink stops at the start of their summer road trip.
• Thirty-six percent (36%) of people use a GPS or other travel technology to identify food and drink stops during summer road trips.
Roadside assistance is a $10 billion market in the U.S.
AAA (www.aaa.com) provides roadside assistance as a service to its 55 million members; annual fees are $40 to $120.
Urgently (www.urgently.com) and Honk (www.honk.com) offer mobile app-based roadside assistance, providing maps that show users where their rescuer is with realtime updates. Users pay for on demand; costs per call range from $49 to $150.