Drivers trying to get out of town on this Friday afternoon of the Memorial Day weekend could spend 25 percent more time in traffic than they did on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend last year, according to Inrix Inc., a Washington state firm that uses big data analytics to crunch traffic information.
If you haven’t left already, leave after 7 p.m. to avoid the worst delays, the company suggests.
A long, harsh winter that kept people cooped up along with an improving economy are reasons why Inrix projects this increase in traffic congestion.
“A desire to do more than just a ‘staycation’ after one of the toughest winters of recent memory is expected to translate into more traffic over the holiday weekend,” Inrix said.
Inrix provides traffic data to companies that operate truck fleets. Its technology is also used in navigation systems available in some models made by Ford, Audi, BMW, and Toyota. When a driver of one of those vehicles punches in a destination on the navigation system, the vehicle’s location, speed, and the time it takes to get to that destination are anonymously relayed to Inrix.
Partly by aggregating such information and comparing it to historical data in the company’s archives helps Inrix make its traffic predictions.
Inrix recently released a top 10 list for the worst traffic cities in America for 2013. Boston ranked ninth. According to Inrix, locals wasted 38 hours stuck in traffic during 2013, up seven hours from 2012. Topping the list is Los Angeles, where drivers wasted 64 hours in traffic during 2013, Inrix said.
Earlier this month, AAA said that it projects that 36.1 million people in the US will journey 50 miles or more from home during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 1.5 percent increase from the 35.5 million people who traveled last year.