About 43.6 million people are planning to travel 50 miles or more for their Thanksgiving meal this year, according to AAA—and 90 percent of those people are traveling by car.
While D.C. area traffic is traffic-heavy throughout the holiday period, the day before Thanksgiving is the heaviest travel day.
Before Georgetown students travel home or residents travel to visit family, check out some of the resources local transit agencies are providing to travelers to make their journey a little easier.
Traveling South through Virginia
To help you plan your travel, the Virginia Department of Transportation created this set of maps showing Thanksgiving traffic congestion from Wednesday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011.
Unlike last year, the Beltway Express Lanes will be open for Thanksgiving, which may alleviate some of the Thanksgiving travel congestion on Wednesday.
The 2011 maps show the heaviest travel in Northern Virginia last year, particularly around the Beltway and on I-95 south of Burke, was between 1–4 p.m. Wednesday.
Tip: Try to leave Tuesday or very early Wednesday if you can. There are fewer people on the roads early in the morning.
Traveling North through Maryland
Maryland is offering a new 511 service, in addition to its website and phone number. This year you can register for Maryland 511 Direct, which will send email and text message traffic alerts customized your long distance trip.
"By learning about major incidents, delays, estimated travel times and weather conditions before getting behind the wheel, drivers can save time, fuel costs and the frustration that often breeds aggressive and unsafe driving," according to a press release from the Maryland State Highway Administration.
Register online at www.md511.org.
Debating about whether to go home Saturday or Sunday from your Thanksgiving trip? According to data from 2011, the earlier you leave either day, the better. On I-95 south of the Beltway, it gets quite congested both Saturday and Sunday by about 10 a.m.
You can always check current traffic congestion along major area roadways here on Georgetown Patch’s transportation page. That page also provides information on the cheapest gas stations in the area.
What's your game plan to minimize time spent in traffic?