Cars driving on an expressway

Here’s some good news for broadcast radio: There’s a growing body of evidence that Americans are driving more miles than in recent weeks as coronavirus-related restrictions begin to ease across the U.S.

Data released last week by Geopath and Intermx reveals the average number of daily miles traveled per American increased to 11.5 for the week beginning April 20. That’s an increase of 18% from two weeks earlier, when it dropped to 9.8, its lowest point since COVID-19 restrictions took effect.

The mileage increases weren’t limited to a single region. In fact, they rose across all 50 states vs. the week beginning April 13. Some of the states with the most significant increases: Colorado (56%), Alaska (45%), Minnesota (44%), Michigan (43%), New York (40%), Vermont (33%), and Montana and Wyoming (both 32%).

The increases are significant because, even during the pandemic, the majority of AM/FM radio time spent listening continues to occur out of home, according to Nielsen.

Separate research from transportation data and insights firm INRIX also supports the contention that car usage is making a comeback across the U.S. It says personal travel has been increasing on a daily basis since mid-April. And like the Geopath/Intermx research, INRIX also says travel is increasing across all 50 states.

Meanwhile, a survey conducted by Cars.com that was released in April found that almost 60% of parents and 45% of non-parents have revived the “Sunday drive” as an activity for the coronavirus pandemic.

“People may be sheltering in place across the country, but make no mistake, they are hitting the roads for a brief escape from their homes,” Matt Schmitz, Cars.com Assistant Managing Editor for News, said in a release. “Our research shows that people just need a break from the daily monotony, and cars are serving as a safe, personal retreat for families. We are even seeing a resurgence in an American pastime: the family Sunday drive.”

The Cars.com survey also revealed that Americans are now using their vehicles for more than just transportation: More than 1 in 4 Americans are using their vehicles as offices as they work from home during the global health crisis.

Vehicles are also becoming refuges for parents in need of escape. According to the survey, 53% of parents admit using their car as a place they can go to get away from their homes and children.