Driving habits and traffic patterns change dramatically in September: Be ready!

family in front of car

Traffic patterns change in September. In major ways. From college kids, to parents, big box retailers and more. Learn more…

I like doing an annual reminder that Labor Day is the most important date to have highlighted on the promotional calendar of any brick-and-mortar retail business. Here’s why.

  • Families with kids, as well as older students, begin driving to school. They take new routes and develop new habits.
  • Parents are driving kids to after school events, team practices and games. More new habits.
  • Big box retailers are coming off heavy Back-to-School promotions and starting to drive traffic with holiday (believe it or not) merchandise and promotional efforts. More new routes and habits.

There’s lots of sporting events like football games and other fall activities that get people driving to different places; utilizing different traffic patterns.
This matters. Before you know it, new faces can be seen in and around your business. Now is the time to hang onto existing traffic, AND make some gains.

Dramatic increases in the number of vehicle miles driven

And there really is more opportunity. Traffic patterns do change in September, but that’s not all. There is simply a lot more traffic out there.

Travel on all roads and streets changed by +1.0% (+2.8 billion vehicle miles) for September 2022 as compared with September 2021. Travel for the month – September of 2023 – is estimated to be 280.8 billion vehicle miles.

The seasonally adjusted vehicle miles traveled for September 2022 is 274.4 billion miles, a 0.40% ( 1.0 billion vehicle miles) change over September 2021. It also represents a 0.70% change (1.9 billion vehicle miles) compared with August 2022.

Cumulative travel for 2022 changed by +1.6% (+39.0 billion vehicle miles). The cumulative estimate for the year is 2,444.7 billion vehicle miles of travel

These 1% changes are massive, considering the raw numbers of cars flowing through the road systems in the United States.

So, not only is there an opportunity in changing traffic patterns, there is a rapidly growing number of new vehicles driven in most areas of the country.

Increases in vehicle traffic in September 

Increases in vehicle traffic in September Map

This map indicates:
Estimated Vehicle-Miles of Travel by Region – September 2022 – (in Billions)
Change in Traffic as compared to same month last year.

You can see the data here:https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/travel_monitoring/22septvt/

So what?

So, there is no better time to pay attention to your operations and marketing to make sure you are actively communicating in your trade area, and providing a nice wash experience. One of the things you could wish for yourself could be, “I wish a lot of new people were driving by my wash.”

September is the month that wish could probably come true.