For many travelers, Memorial Day is synonymous with celebrations, barbecues, paying respects and appreciation for fallen veterans – and traffic jams. Yet as many areas are on heightened alert from COVID-19, travel across the United States remained lower than in recent years past. The open roads allowed drivers, truckers and buses to move a bit more freely – perfect for a patriotic holiday. Nationally, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) surged to its highest level since COVID-related lock downs, surpassing 93 percent of pre-COVID levels – the highest percentage since March 16th.


To gain deeper insight into the experience of those on the roads, INRIX analyzed travel speeds for the Friday before Memorial Day along with Memorial Day. As the table below illustrates, travel on Friday before Memorial Day typically sees more traffic congestion than the return on Monday, especially in areas like Philadelphia, San Francisco, Portland and Los Angeles. In those Metropolitan Areas, travel speeds on National Interstates and limited-access highways increased up to 57 percent during the evening peak period (2-6PM) to nearly free-flow travel speeds.

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