AAA: Substantial Increase in Thanksgiving Travel Expected

KA_Road Traffic Signs_sagamore_Highway_Route 6_Exit_Winter_Cloudy_020316_023SAGAMORE – If you’re hitting the roads to travel for Thanksgiving, you won’t be alone.

AAA predicts this year will be the busiest Turkey Day travel period in nearly a decade, spurred by an improving economy and lower gas prices.

In total, 48.7 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday, representing an increase of over one million travelers from 2015.

“A substantial increase,” AAA Northeast spokesperson Mary Maguire said of this year’s travel volume. “It’s actually the most Thanksgiving travelers since 2007.

Massachusetts roads could see a 5 percent increase in drivers this year.

“Close to 950,000 Massachusetts residents are expected to drive to their destinations between Wednesday and Sunday,” Maguire said. “At least it’s staggered over five days, that’s a good thing.”

1.1 million Bay State residents in total are expected to travel for Thanksgiving across all forms of transportation.

The influx of drivers across the state comes as crews tear down the old toll booths on the Massachusetts Turnpike. MassDOT plans to suspend all demolition projects across the Mass Pike system at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Many of the booths have already been torn down.

Triple-A defines the Thanksgiving travel period as Wednesday through Sunday, but the Tuesday before the holiday has seen an increase in travel volume in recent years.

89 percent of travelers will drive to their destinations this Thanksgiving, according to AAA.

Gas prices this holiday are the second-cheapest they have been in almost a decade. The price at the pump in Massachusetts fell 4 cents Monday in AAA’s weekly survey to an average of $2.08 per gallon. The Bay State price was 6 cents below the national average.

Rising wages, increased consumer spending, and overall strong consumer confidence are also contributing factors in this year’s increase in travelers, according to AAA.

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