Press Releases

INRIX Predicts Increase of Thanksgiving and Black Friday Traffic for Malls, Airports and Cities

  • 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%
2 Los Angeles 1 3PM-5PM 2:30PM-5PM 42% +1.2%
3 Seattle 5 3PM-4PM 3PM-5PM 37.5% +1.6%
4 San Diego 11 3PM-5PM 2:30PM-4:30 PM 36.5% +1.7%
5 Boston 8 2:30PM- 4:30PM 3:30PM-5:30PM 36% +1.7%
6 Portland OR 2 3PM-4PM 4PM-6PM 33.5% +0.9%
7 New York 3 3PM-5PM 2:30PM-5PM 32% +1.6%
8 Hartford CT 13 3PM-4PM 1PM-2:30PM 31.5% +0.3%
9 Miami 9 3:30PM- 5:30PM 4PM-5:30PM 28% +0.4%
10 Chicago 14 3PM-4PM 4:30PM-6PM 25% +1.6%
11 Houston 10 3PM-4PM 4PM-5:30PM 24.5% +1.2%
12 Washington D.C. 6 2PM-4PM 2PM-4PM 23.5% +0.9%
13 Philadelphia 7 3PM-4PM 12PM-1:30PM 21% +1.4%

“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.

Related News