(WPRI) — Those hitting the road for Thanksgiving this year might have to put the pedal to the metal earlier than planned to avoid traffic.
AAA Northeast is expecting more than 54.3 million Americans to travel 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, which is the most since 2005.
According to AAA, this is an overall 4.8% increase over last year. They say that there will be 2.5 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways.
INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, is predicting travel times in the most congested cities in the country could be as much as four times longer than a normal trip. Travelers from the Massachusetts area will top 1.2 million, with more than a million of them traveling by car.
Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Director of Public and Legislative Affairs said that higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth are things Americans are thankful for most this holiday season but could be the reason behind traffic this year.
“This is translating into more travelers kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway, building on a positive year for the travel industry,” Maguire said.
INRIX and AAA predict the greatest amount of congestion during the Thanksgiving commute will begin during the early evening. Travel times will start to increase the Monday before, projecting that Boston will see the largest delays with nearly quadruple the normal drive times.
The best times to travel will be on Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday. AAA is warning drivers to expect increased travel times on the Sunday after the holiday.