Already a nightmare for many travelers on a daily basis, Chicago is now ranked eighth as far as worst Labor Day traffic is concerned. On a regular basis, the city is tenth.
A new report suggests that “although there’s plenty to do in Chicago this weekend, recent trends and increases in consumer spending indicate that travelers will be a little less afraid to spend money on gas and hotels, so we’re predicting some delays as travelers drive to the airport or out of town for Labor Day,” said Jim Bak, INRIX Director of Community Relations.
Key insights from INRIX’s Chicago area research include:
– Traffic will start to build in Chicago around 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 31, and will peak from 6 to 7 p.m., before slowly tapering off.
– Travelers leaving Chicago will have the best luck traveling after 9 p.m. Friday or leaving Saturday morning.
– Travelers bound for O’Hare Airport will find the train faster than going by car with the average trip taking at least 90 minutes from the city limits to the terminals.
– Popular getaway destinations including Portage, Indiana; Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; and Wisconsin Dells, will see delays ranging from as little as 30 minutes to as much as three hours.
“Traffic Friday will look like a longer version of a normal Friday rush hour, meaning conditions will be unpleasant well into the evening. Travelers thinking they’ll avoid extra traffic by waiting for Saturday to depart will have better luck as long as they’re on the road before lunchtime, as traffic will pick up around 2 p.m. and peak between 3 and 4 p.m., ” added Bak.
Although traffic patterns on Friday, the big holiday getaway day, will start off like normal rush hour conditions, effects of extra drivers on the road will extend the congested period, with rush hour lasting until at least 8:30 p.m. Bak advises travelers to use free tools like the INRIX Traffic app.
Meanwhile, according to TripAdvisor®, Labor Day plans are:
– About 27 percent are planning to travel this Labor Day weekend, up from 22 percent who traveled for the holiday last year.
– Among those traveling, 64 percent anticipate driving, and 31 percent will take to the skies.
– Of those traveling for Labor Day, 21 percent are planning an outdoor trip, 21 percent will take a beach trip, and 17 percent will go on a city escape.
If one is heading out, a quick check of the most expensive destinations in the United States, as noted by Cheap Hotels.
1. Seattle, $312
2. Virginia Beach, $309
3. Atlantic City, $286
4. Philadelphia $269
5. Boston, $246
6. New York City, $224
7. Chicago, $213
8. San Francisco, $179
9. Portland, $170
10. Austin, $163
Note – The prices shown are based on the daily rate for each accommodation’s cheapest available double room (minimum 3-star hotel) for the time period of Aug, 31 through Sept. 3.