AAA Predicts Record Holiday Travel Across US, Massachusetts

HYANNIS – AAA is predicting that more than one-third of all Americans will be traveling during the holiday season.

A record-breaking 112.5 million people are expected to take to planes, trains and automobiles through January 2 – which is a 4.4 percent increase from last year.

Nearly 2.5 million Massachusetts residents are expected to travel, with almost 85 percent getting to their destination by car.

Falling gas prices coupled with a strong year for the economy are helping to motivate more people to travel for the holidays.

AAA Northeast reports that self-serve, regular unleaded is selling for an average of $2.59 per gallon in Massachusetts.

That price is 22 cents higher than the national average and 13 cents higher than at the same time last year.

AAA Northeast Director of Public & Legislative Affairs Mary Maguire said inclement weather on Friday could cause issues for travelers.

“If you head out during heavy rain, for example, that’s when we see more crashes occurring and more crashes mean more backups,” Maguire said. “It’s not as safe to drive in inclement weather so you really want to check your real-time traffic and weather conditions before you get behind the wheel.”

Heavy rain is expected for Southeastern Massachusetts on Friday with up to 2 inches possible.

“This is the time of year when weather is a major factor when it comes to travel,” Maguire said. “The most important thing you can do before you head out is to check the weather.”

Maguire recommends checking favorite weather apps and websites, along with radio and television weather reports.

The traffic data firm INRIX is predicting Wednesady afternoon and evening to be the busiest travel time for Metro-Boston. Normal traffic volume is expected to be increased by 3.5 to 4 times.

“That includes people headed over the bridges to the Cape,” Maguire said.

Maguire expects heavy travel during the afternoon and evening commute Thursday and Friday.

AAA is also predicting 6.7 million people to travel through the air for the end of year holiday period.

“That’s the highest number in 15 years,” Maguire said.

Impacts to air travel on Friday are also expected across the Northeast due to rain and areas of snow.

Travel by train, bus and cruise ships is also expected to increase by 4 percent this year, with a total of 3.7 million passengers.


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