standing traffic

More Americans than ever recorded, an estimated 49 million, are making plans to celebrate red, white and blue with an Independence Day getaway this year.

For those traveling, that will mean an increase in traffic and the possibility of delays.

According to AAA, which first began tracking holiday travel in 2000, the overall travel volume for the holiday is expected to rise 4.1% over last year, with an additional 1.9 million people planning road trips and other vacations to celebrate America’s birthday.

More than 2.5 million New England residents will be among those traveling, with close to 2.2 million going by car, according to the AAA report.

“As Independence Day approaches, it’s time for the much-loved family road trip and this year will be one for the record books, with more Americans than ever planning vacations,” said Lloyd Albert, senior vice president of public and government affairs for AAA Northeast. “This holiday builds on the strong travel demand seen for Memorial Day, and with schools now out of session across the country, families coast-to-coast are eager to travel.”

The report indicates that most people — an estimated 41.4 million — will be traveling by automobile, 3.6 million will take to the skies, and an additional 3.55 million will travel by train, boat or cruise ship.

The top travel destinations this year are Maine, New York, Orlando, Cape Cod and Canada, the report said.

For those traveling by automobile, INRIX, a location-based data and analytics firm based out of Washington, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion on Wednesday as commuters mix with holiday travelers. In major metros, drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute.

“With record-level travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around our major metros,” said Trevor Reed, a transportation analyst at INRIX. “Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, hands down, Wednesday afternoon will be the worst time to be on the road.”

— Jason Vallee

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