Memorial Day Weekend Traffic Expected to be Greater than Last Year

May 23, 2013

By Evan Lockridge

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You can expect more traffic on the roadways during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

While AAA projects slightly fewer Americans overall will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend than last year, due to a decline in air travel, traffic on the roadways is expected to be higher.

Approximately 31.2 million people plan to drive to their destination, an increase of 0.25% from the 31.1 million who drove last year. Almost nine out of 10 holiday travelers will take to the nation’s roadways during the Memorial Day weekend, keeping automobile travel in the traditional lead as the dominant mode of holiday travel transportation.

In addition, Inrix, a provider of traffic information and driver services, is predicting holiday traffic will increase an average of 4% over last year. It says the trend is consistent with data drawn from a report released last month showing traffic congestion back on the rise in 62 of the top 100 U.S. cities after two years of declines. 

While not as intense as a typical Friday, this Friday afternoon rush hour period will start much earlier with traffic building as early as 1 p.m. and traffic congestion peaking 1-2 hours earlier than normal.

The Monday return trip is expected to be lighter than the Friday getaway, with INRIX's analysis showing the busiest time to be on the roads will be between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 23 to Monday, May 27.

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