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Reduce Memorial Day weekend travel time with BMC’s 2017 traffic data

With the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching many Marylanders will be traveling far and near to be with their families.  The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) anticipates a 1.5% increase in traffic volumes compared to last year’s Thanksgiving holiday period. Between Tuesday, Nov. 21, and Sunday, Nov. 26, the MDTA expects more than 2.2 million travelers on its highways, bridges and tunnels.  The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is typically considered the busiest travel day of the year.   Based on traffic counts from previous years, Wednesday, Nov. 22, is expected to be the heaviest travel day.  However, in recent years the Tuesday before Thanksgiving has become very busy as well with families trying to beat the rush.

So when are the best and worst times to depart for our destinations in order to avoid traffic congestion and delays?

Using crowdsourced vehicle probe data we can determine that peak travel occurs in the 4 o’clock hour on both Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Let’s take a look at speed maps from Tuesday and Wednesday of Thanksgiving week 2016 to see where traffic problems occurred.


Thursday, May 24 - Monday, May 28



As for the best times to travel, our partners at the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) offer these travel tips for the Thanksgiving Day holiday:

Travel during off-peak hours to avoid significant delays. For the I-95 corridor, off-peak hours include:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday -- before 6 a.m. and after 11 p.m.
  • Thursday through Sunday -- before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.


  • I-95 improvement project north of the Fort McHenry Tunnel is underway. Current traffic pattern features no left shoulder and only a small right shoulder on northbound I-95. All lanes are open in both directions.
  • I-895 Patapsco River Flats bridge deck and superstructure replacement continues. Current traffic pattern features two-way traffic (one adjacent lane in each direction) 24/7 on I-895 across the Patapsco Flats bridge near Baltimore/Washington Parkway. Motorists should consider I-95 as an alternate route.

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 various crowdsourced probe data sources. According to the Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA) who manage the regions toll facilities, travelers should consider departing during off peak hours to avoid significant delays along the I-95 corridor.

*All graphics and animations are generated in cooperation with the I-95 Corridor Coalition, Vehicle Probe Project and the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies (CATT) Lab.  Vehicle probe data provided by INRIX. 

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 May 2018 19:06