Reduce Labor Day weekend travel time with BMC’s 2016 traffic data
The Labor Day holiday weekend provides Marylanders one last chance to get out and have some end-of-the-summer fun, especially those looking to head to the Eastern Shore.
Last year, more than 354,000 vehicles crossed over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge during the Labor Day weekend. Lower gas prices in 2016 mean that there is a good chance that vehicle volume will increase, and more vehicles mean more traffic.
The Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC)’s congestion management process analyzes where and when traffic in the Baltimore region tends to pile up and for how long it will stay congested by looking at data from the National Performance Measures Research Data Set (NPMRDS) congestion scans. Looking at 2015 Labor Day weekend data, staff members can conclude that those traveling to the Eastern Shore will hit less traffic by leaving on Thursday, September 1, instead of Friday, September 2.
BMC provides the following animation from 2015 Labor Day weekend data - from Thursday, September 3, through Monday, September 7 - to show when traffic is heaviest. You can pan around and zoom in and out on the roads you plan on traveling to get an idea of what traffic may be like this holiday weekend. Each day’s map refreshes to the same scale and location.
Looking at the following data from the National Performance Measures Research Data Set (NPMRDS) congestion scans we can observe the heaviest traffic on eastbound US-50 approaching the Bay Bridge between 4 and 6pm on the Thursday before Labor Day in 2015 with backups beginning between I-97 and the MD-2 exit and breaking up near MD-648 before the toll plaza.
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Conversely those who chose to leave on that Friday found a longer window of delays on US-50 eastbound from 2 to 9pm with more slowing at the toll plaza.
A Saturday departure shows also shows heavy traffic on US-50 eastbound approaching the Bay Bridge from 7am to almost 7pm with solid backups extending as far back as MD-2 at the midday peak.
Getting home from the beach poses an even more difficult challenge with backups from the Bay Bridge extending as far back as Easton, MD on westbound US-50 beginning at 10am and not ending until after 10pm.
The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) offers travel tips for the Labor Day holiday weekend:
- Travel off-peak when heading to and from the Eastern Shore. The best times to travel the Bay Bridge this weekend include:
- Thursday - before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
- Friday - before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
- Saturday - before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m.
- Sunday - before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
- Labor Day - before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.