- INRIX’s annual Thanksgiving Traffic Forecast reveals peak road travel times on Wednesday will be 36-44 percent longer than usual.
- Shoppers seeking deals at America’s busiest malls should expect 46 percent extra travel time.
- Drivers headed to major airports can expect an average 19-minute delay.
Kirkland, WA—November 24, 2015—Thanksgiving travel and Black Friday shopping are synonymous with turkey dinner and football for many American families. The 2015 INRIX Thanksgiving Traffic Forecast predicts the country’s busiest malls will experience an average 63 percent increase in traffic on Black Friday during peak hours. Travelers going to major airports on November 25 should allow up to 50 extra minutes of travel time, not including the added time needed to brave the crowded security lines.
Black Friday Shopping Center Forecast
The common perception is that shoppers must go early to snag the best deals, creating traffic challenges, appears to be a Black Friday myth. INRIX estimates that traffic levels around America’s busiest shopping centers will peak during the early afternoon, specifically 12:00-3:00p.m. Shoppers hoping to avoid crowds and traffic delays should either head out early or visit their favorite store before closing time.
The INRIX Thanksgiving Traffic Forecast identified the Top 11 Busiest U.S. Shopping Centers, their peak congestion hours and the percentage change over 2014.
|Top 11 Busiest US Shopping Centers||YoY Increase of Travel Time||Worst Time for Traffic||Extra Time at Worst Hour|
|Palisades Center, West Nyack, NY||46%||12PM-4PM||250%|
|Westfield Garden State Plaza, Paramus, NJ||26%||2PM-6PM||53%|
|The Galleria, Houston, TX||25%||3PM-6PM||110%|
|Roosevelt Field, Garden City, NY||14%||12PM-3PM||67%|
|Sawgrass Mills, Sunrise, FL||12%||1PM-3PM||31%|
|Tyson’s Corner Center, McLean, VA||11%||4PM-5PM||50%|
|Bellevue Square, Bellevue, WA||10%||12PM-3PM||12%|
|Del Amo Fashion Center, Torrance, CA||7%||12PM-1PM||17%|
|Mall of America, Minneapolis, MN||6%||2PM-3PM||15%|
|Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, IL||4%||7AM-8AM||12%|
|King of Prussia Mall, King of Prussia, PA||4%||5PM-7PM||8%|
Additionally, the graph below depicts the values of six popular shopping centers with the most significant Delay Index predictions. During peak hours, drivers heading to the Palisades Center in West Nyack, New York will spend up to 250 percent longer than usual in mall traffic.
Where to Find Parking Near Popular Shopping Districts
For individuals who decide to venture out on Black Friday, finding parking in urban shopping districts may be a tricky and expensive endeavor, as the average rate to park around the country is ten dollars per hour. The following chart illustrates the best place to find parking in seven popular shopping areas.
|City||Average Hourly Price||Average Daily Price||Nearby Parking Lots||Best Place to Park||Times Available|
|Union Square, San Francisco, CA||$10.72||$24.43||20||560 Geary St||24 hours|
|Third Street Promenade, Los Angeles, CA||$7.99||$14.89||27||Public Parking Structure #6||24 hours|
|Pacific Place, Seattle, WA||$8.43||$21.96||33||Pacific Place Garage||24 Hours|
|Horton Plaza, San Diego, CA||$14.04||$27.83||22||Westfield Horton Plaza Garage||24 Hours|
|Fanueil Hall, Boston, MA||$18.13||$35.35||47||60 State Street||24 hours|
|Magnificent Mile, Chicago, IL||$19.57||$32.18||126||The Allerton Hotel Lot||24 hours|
|Main Street District, Dallas, TX||$3.92||$7.66||16||1400 Elm St||6am-2am|
Top 13 Busiest Airport Routes
Key routes to and from major airports nationwide have an increase in traffic congestion and result in significant bottlenecks for drivers planning to fly out of town. For example, travelers in the vicinity of the Chicago O’Hare Airport may experience an additional 50-minute trip delay. Although drivers heading to airports such as Atlanta, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco and Houston are expected to experience shorter delays than last year, their overall trip time is still expected to be longer than usual.
“Drivers en route to West Coast airports such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas will experience the largest spikes in traffic between 7:00 and 10:00a.m.,” says Greg Hallsworth, INRIX’s Lead Scientist and Traffic Analyst. “In contrast, East Coast commuters should generally avoid traveling to airports 4:00-6:00p.m.”
|Metro Airport||Airport Route||Distance||Peak Hours||Travel Time||Expected Delay||Change YoY|
|Chicago O’Hare||Downtown to O’Hare via Kennedy Exwy W||16.8 miles||12-6PM||73 min||50 min||+87.2%|
|New York JFK||Hunters Point to JFK via Long Island Exwy E||15.2 miles||3-7PM||60 min||36 min||+33.3%|
|Las Vegas||Las Vegas to McCarran Int Airport via I-15 S||8.2 miles||7-10AM & 3-5PM||40 min||30 min||+90.4%|
|Miami||Downtown to Miami via Dolphin Exwy W||6.2 miles||3-7PM||39 min||31 min||+34.4%|
|LAX||Downtown to LAX via I-110 S||17.3 miles||7-9AM||37.5 min||15 min||+1.3%|
|Charlotte||Downtown To Charlotte Douglas International Airport||10.4 miles||9-10AM & 4-7PM||37 min||20 min||+85.0%|
|Dallas-Ft Worth||Downtown to DFW Airport via TX-183 W||18.2 miles||4-6PM||36 min||17 min||+9.1%|
|Denver||Downtown to DIA via I-70 E and Pena Blvd||19.7 miles||3-7PM||35 min||10 min||-7.9%|
|Houston Bush||Downtown to Intercontinental via US-59 N||17.2 miles||1-4PM||29 min||11 min||-44.2%|
|Phoenix||Phoenix to Sky Harbor Airport via I-10 E||6.5 miles||7-9AM & 3-5PM||23 min||12 min||+21.1%|
|SeaTac||Downtown to Sea-Tac via I-5 South||15.1 miles||3-4PM||22 min||3 min||-56.0%|
|San Francisco||Downtown to SFO via US-101 S||10.4 miles||5-7PM||16 min||3 min||-11.1%|
|Atlanta||Downtown to Hartsfield Atlanta via I-75 S||8.2 miles||8-9AM||13 min||3 min||-72.2%|
Top 13 Busiest Cities for Thanksgiving Traffic
Families planning road trips on Wednesday can expect the journey getting out of town to be at least 21 percent longer than normal. The pre-Thanksgiving rush hour is expected to start a full four hours earlier than on a typical work day. The peak travel times across America will range between 12:00 and 5:00p.m., compared to 3:00-5:00p.m. last year.
San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Diego top this year’s list of worst traffic cities with out-of-town trips expected to take 36-44 percent longer than a typical Wednesday afternoon. Notably, San Diego’s ranking jumped from 11th to 4th place while both Washington, D.C. and Philly’s rankings dropped six spots to 12th and 13th place, respectively.
|Rank||Metropolitan Area||Rank Last Year||2014 Peak Time||2015 Peak Time||Additional Trip Time||Change YoY|
|1||San Francisco||4||3PM-4PM||2:30PM-4:30 PM||44%||+1.4%|
|4||San Diego||11||3PM-5PM||2:30PM-4:30 PM||36.5%||+1.7%|
“In order to avoid the most traffic congestion, we advise drivers to leave either before noon or after 6 p.m. on Wednesday,” says Hallsworth. “On average, drivers across the busiest cities will experience a 32 percent increase in their trip time.”
The below chart illustrates that West Coast cities such as San Francisco, Seattle and San Diego have become increasingly more congested. Drivers from East Coast cities such as Boston, New York and Hartford will also experience the largest traffic congestion. As a comparison, San Francisco will experience a 44 percent delay, the busiest city on the East Coast, Boston, will have a 36 percent increase in average trip time.
For travelers wishing to stay up to date on the latest traffic conditions during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the INRIX XD™ app provides free, up-to-the-minute insight into current traffic. Drivers interested in finding or reserving available parking should download the ParkMe app.
Traffic Forecast Methodology
INRIX analyzed the Thanksgiving holiday periods from 2010 to 2014, traffic trends from major national holiday weekends in 2013 and current traffic trends to predict what drivers might expect over the upcoming holiday weekend. In measuring the shifts in traffic congestion over this period, INRIX uses a common measure for congestion called the Travel Time Index referred to in our research as a percentage representing the amount of delay drivers can expect on these days due to traffic.