Forecast: July 4th travel brings holiday highway headaches

Independence Day Travel Forecast Full FINAL

Expect to share the interstates and other highways with a lot more people in the second half of next week as a record number of Americans travel for the long Fourth of July weekend.

2 Independence Day Travel Forecast Inrix FinalAAA says 49 million people — up 4.1% over last year — are making travel plans, and most will travel by car. The organization says 41.4 million travelers (the most on record for the holiday and 4.3% more than last year) will join members of the trucking industry on the highways.

The busiest travel day is expected to be Wednesday, July 3. AAA’s forecast spans from that date through Sunday, July 7.

INRIX, AAA’s research partner said drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute as daily travelers mix with those on the road for the holiday. In major metros, drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute. Nationwide, delays are expected to increase by about 9%, says INRIX.

According to AAA, the increase in traffic is because of:

  • lower gas prices compared with last summer
  • low unemployment
  • robust consumer spending
  • rising disposable incomes

“With record-level travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around our major metros,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, hands down, Wednesday afternoon will be the worst time to be on the road.”

Region Worst Day for Travel Worst Time for Travel
Atlanta Friday, July 5 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Boston Friday, July 5 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Chicago Friday, July 5 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Detroit Wednesday, July 3 2:00 – 4:00 PM
Houston Thursday, July 4 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Los Angeles Wednesday, July 3 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
New York Wednesday, July 3 1:45 – 3:45 PM
San Francisco Wednesday, July 3 1:30 – 2:30 PM
Seattle Thursday, July 4 12:00 – 2:00 PM
Washington, D.C. Sunday, July 7 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM