AAA: Less Cars On Road For July 4th Holiday
Expect Heavy Holiday Traffic Despite 3.3% Decline In Driving
Maybe you can blame it on both.
But, for whatever reason a lot less people will hit the road this 4th of July holiday weekend according to AAA.
Based on a survey by AAA, the group predicts only 1.9 million Illinois residents will go on an automobile excursion over 50 miles from home this upcoming weekend, down about 3.3% from 2010.
Nationally, AAA says 39 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the Independence Day holiday weekend down from 40 million in 2010, a 2.5% decline. 32.8 million will be doing so by car, or about a million less people on the road nationwide than last year.
“We’re expecting to be a decrease in the number of people traveling,” said AAA Chicago’s Beth Mosher who points out gas is $1 a gallon more than last 4th of July. “It’s the economy and gas prices–we think it’s a little bit of both.”
But while AAA is expecting somewhere between 60,000 to 75,000 less Illinois residents will be traveling by car, it believes air travel originating in Illinois will be up 27% to 105,000 people getting away for the weekend.
According to Mosher, the difference actually breaks down along income levels. Households which make over $100,000 per year are more inclined to travel and when they do, a higher percentage are leaving for their trip via O’Hare or Midway.
“Increased fuel costs are also responsible for a shift in the demographics of the typical Independence Day traveler as higher prices impact lower income households more significantly,” Mosher says.
Households making $50,00o or less are planning a staycation or are hitting the road because they can’t afford airfare.
“For people in that income bracket ($50K or less) gas prices are causing them to think twice on whether to take a vacation or not,” says Mosher.
But, according to Mosher, people in the upper income bracket are being affected by gas prices in a completely different way.
“These people are saying ‘If gas prices are this high, we might as well fly somewhere’,” explains Mosher.
AAA’s Holiday Travel Tips
For people who do decide to go on a road trip this coming weekend, drivers can still expect lots of traffic congestion getting in and out of the city for this long holiday weekend.
For this, Mosher has a few tips.
“We advise them to travel at off peak times if possible,” says Mosher.
Mosher also predicts a lot of travelers will be coming into Chicago for the Taste of Chicago as a substitute for a longer trip. She recommends using public transportation to come downtown to the Taste wherever possible.