Over the last few years, vehicular ad hoc networks (VANETs) have gained popularity for their interesting applications. To make efficient routing decisions, VANET routing protocols require road traffic density information for which they use density estimation schemes. This paper presents a distributed mechanism for road vehicular density estimation that considers multiple road factors, such as road length and junctions. Extensive simulations are carried out to analyze the effectiveness of the proposed technique. Simulation results suggested that, the proposed technique is more accurate compared to the existing technique. Moreover, it facilitate VANET routing protocols to increase packet delivery ratio and reduce end-to-end delay. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York.