Drivers

Traffic Congestion Forecast to be Worse in Spots around Thanksgiving

November 22, 2013

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For trucking, the time before and after holidays often means traffic is heavier at times and this Thanksgiving may be a whopper in some places.

A provider of traffic information and driver services, Inrix, says on Wednesday, in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday, travelers can expect trips in major cities to take a third longer on average due to increased traffic congestion, while other areas of the country, where economies are still struggling, can expect to see less traffic congestion over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Traffic congestion wasn't even on the radar during Thanksgiving in 1900, about the time this postcard was created. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Traffic congestion wasn't even on the radar during Thanksgiving in 1900, about the time this postcard was created. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Wednesday pre-Thanksgiving rush hour should begin two hours earlier than a typical Wednesday in most cities. Rush hour should peak between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the bigger cities and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. in the smaller cities. Traffic should drop off quickly after 6 p.m. On the West Coast, traffic congestion is expected to build as early as 1 p.m. but on the East coast and in the Midwest, traffic is expected to build starting at 3 p.m.

Traffic this Thanksgiving is expected to be greater than last year due to the average cost of gasoline being down about 25% compared to a year ago.

Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and San Francisco top this year's list of worst traffic cities with trips out of town taking from 30% to 50% longer than a typical Wednesday afternoon. 

The chart below shows the peak congestion period and extent of delays for the 10 worst cities. 

Rank

Metropolitan Area

2013 Peak Time: Wednesday

Amount of extra time the average trip will take drivers (percent)

 

 

Percent change from 2012

1

Los Angeles

3PM-5PM

48

Up 7%

2

Seattle

3PM-4PM

47

Up 1%

3

Portland OR*

3PM-4PM

46

Down 12% (weather event caused extra delay in 2012)

4

New York*

3PM-5PM

44

Up 17% (Superstorm Sandy lowered delays due to traffic dramatically in 2012)

5

San Francisco

3PM-4PM

36

Up 7%

6

Washington DC

2PM-4PM

33

Down 9%

7

Philadelphia

3PM-4PM

26

Up 2%

8

Chicago

3PM-4PM

24

Up 3%

9

Miami

3.30PM-5.30PM

23

Up 3%

10

Boston

2.30PM-4.30PM

23

Up 7%

*Large shifts in congestion in New York and Portland compared to last year are attributed to the impacts of weather events in those areas.

NRIX also analyzed traffic levels around America's busiest shopping centers over the last three years to predict what drivers can expect travelling around these areas on Black Friday. It forecasts traffic congestion will peak between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

The following table tracks the Top 10 Busiest U.S. shopping centers, the peak congestion hour and the percentage change over 2012.

Top 10 Busiest U.S. Shopping Centers

Amount of Delay (Percent)

Amount of Delay at Peak Traffic Hours (Percent)

Peak Traffic Hours

Roosevelt Field

Garden City, NY

115

133

2-4PM

Del Amo Fashion Center, Torrance, CA

105

120

12-2PM

Sawgrass Mills

Sunrise, FL

66

79

12-2PM

Westfield Garden State Plaza, Paramus, NJ

43

65

2-4PM

Palisades Center

West Nyack, NY

64

74

3-5PM

Tysons Corner Center, Mclean, VA

63

77

1-3PM

The Galleria

Houston, TX

41

62

2-4PM

Woodfield Mall

Schaumburg, IL

41

56

3-4PM

King of Prussia Mall

King of Prussia, PA

16

21

1-3PM

Mall of America

Minneapolis, MN

2

6

11-1PM

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