Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 21:24 EDT

Atlanta’s Labor Day Traffic To Be Ninth Worst in the Nation

August 28, 2012

ATLANTA, Aug. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Every Labor Day, millions of Americans hit the road for one “last” summer weekend, and 2012 will be no different according to INRIX, the leading provider of traffic information. Through in-depth analysis of recent traffic patterns in the metropolitan area, INRIX predicts that Atlanta, ranked as the eighteenth-most congested city in the U.S.,(1) will claim the number nine spot for the worst cities for weekend road-trippers.

“Between Dragon Con and the Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend, Atlanta’s position as a central hub for travelers moving across the Southeast to other vacation destinations, and recent trends and increases in consumer spending indicating that travelers will not fear gas prices, we’re predicting major delays as travelers leave or drive through town for Labor Day,” said Jim Bak, INRIX Director of Community Relations. “Best bet is to leave before 2.p.m. or wait for nightfall, if you’re planning to get out on Friday. Travelers thinking they’ll avoid traffic by waiting for Saturday to depart will have better luck if they get on the road right after breakfast, as traffic will pick up in the noon hour.”

Key insights from INRIX’s Atlanta area research include:

  • Traffic will start to build in Atlanta around 2 p.m. on Friday, August 31, and will continue to worsen past normal rush hour to at least 7:30 p.m.
  • Travelers leaving Atlanta will have the best luck traveling after 9 p.m. Friday or before lunch Saturday.
  • Drivers hoping to spend Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil should give themselves extra time to travel to Savannah, where slow-downs between Stockbridge at the 605 Interchange and McDonough could add delays of 45 minutes or more to the trip.
  • Beach bums can breathe easy: though the drive to Destin and Florida’s Emerald Coast is a long one, delays en route will average only about twenty minutes.

Despite big events in the city over the weekend, the majority of congestion in the Atlanta area during the holiday will be with travelers trying to exit the city Friday night. Drivers heading north from Midtown Atlanta will see the worst delays after 5 p.m. on I-75 with 13 miles of slow moving traffic until GA-120. Fourteen miles of dawdling traffic with affect those heading east of Sandy Springs along I-285 towards the Scott Mountain Highway. Given the expected increase in the number of holiday travelers, combined with inevitable road construction and unexpected delays due to accidents and other incidents, Bak advises travelers to use free tools like the INRIX Traffic app, to help ease drivers’ getaway trips with up-to-the-minute information about traffic conditions and travel times.

Additional information about traffic delays heading to popular road trip destinations Atlanta residents is as follows:

    Day      Worst Time to Travel Best Time to Travel
    ---      -------------------- -------------------
    Friday   5 - 6 p.m.           After 9 p.m.
    ------   ----------           ------------
    Saturday 12 - 1 p.m.          Before Noon
    -------- -----------          -----------

Friday traffic heading north to Tennessee and east to South Carolina will be most affected by the Labor Day getaway. Congestion will start to build after 2 p.m. and will remain slow until around 7:30 p.m.

Atlanta to Savannah, GA

Drivers should anticipate slow speeds of around 20mph between Stockbridge, at the 605 interchange, and McDonough. Thereafter there may be minor queues through Macon at the interchange for the I-16 but these are not estimated to be considerable.

    Route                        I-75 S and I-16 E
    -----                        -----------------
    Length of Journey            249 miles (4 hours 7 minutes)
    -----------------            ----------------------------
    Worst Corridor               Through Stockbridge
    --------------               -------------------
    Average Speed                51 mph
    -------------                ------
    Friday Travel Time w/
     Traffic                     4 hours 52 minutes
    ---------------------        ------------------

Atlanta to Destin, FL (Emerald Coast)

No major disruption is expected en route to the Emerald Coast across the weekend. INRIX has identified Auburn as a pain point because of traffic connecting at Montgomery for the I-65 interchange. In order to avoid the majority of these delays, INRIX advises that travelers take AL-9, where historic data suggests no major back-ups during the holiday getaway.

    Route                        I-85 S and AL-9 S
    -----                        -----------------
    Length of Journey             319 miles (5 hours 51
    -----------------            ----------------------
    Worst Corridor               Through Auburn
    --------------               --------------
    Average Speed                53 mph
    -------------                ------
    Friday Travel Time w/
     Traffic                     6 hours 11 minutes
    ---------------------        ------------------

Atlanta to Charleston, SC

Interstate 20 will face busier conditions on Saturday after midday, particularly between Columbia and Charleston Harbor, but delays are not expected to be extensive.

    Route                        I-20 and I-26 E
    -----                        ---------------
    Length of Journey             318 miles (5 hours 28
    -----------------            ----------------------
    Worst Corridor                From Lexington to Pine
    --------------               -----------------------
    Average Speed                55 mph
    -------------                ------
    Friday Travel Time w/
     Traffic                     5 hours 46 minutes
    ---------------------        ------------------


INRIX® is the largest global traffic intelligence platform in the world, delivering smart data and analytics to solve transportation issues worldwide. INRIX crowd sources data daily from more than 100 million vehicles and devices to deliver traffic and driving-related insight, as well as sophisticated analytical tools and services, across six industries in 31 countries.

With more than 200 customers and partners including Audi AG, ADAC, ANWB, BMW, the BBC, Ford Motor Company, the I-95 Coalition, MapQuest, Microsoft, NAVIGON, Nissan, O2, Tele Atlas, Telmap, Toyota and Vodafone, INRIX’s real-time traffic information and traffic forecasts help drivers save time every day. To experience the traffic technology revolution behind the next generation of transportation, navigation and location-based service applications, visit www.INRIX.com.

(1) As determined by the 2011 INRIX Traffic Scorecard, released May 2012. For more information, see http://scorecard.inrix.com.


Source: PR Newswire