People often talk about Thanksgiving weekend as one of the biggest travel weekends of the year, but thanks to big data it’s now possible to actually see how accurate that is in different places– at least, in terms of driving.
The popular navigation app, Waze, which lets any users report traffic and accidents that can then be viewed by any other Waze users and used to find the fastest route, looked at the data from last years Thanksgiving weekend to see what travel trends showed.
It turns out that in New York, people (at least the ones who use the Waze app) actually did more driving on Thanksgiving day than on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, contrary to popular ideas that Wednesday is the biggest travel day. This isn’t necessarily true in every city, of course. They also found that the traffic data from Black Friday, which is normally considered a heavy traffic day, especially around shopping areas, was no more crowded or worse than traffic on any other normal Friday in the same areas around New York City (again, in terms of traffic alerts reported on Waze). Perhaps this has something to do with the shift toward online shopping, but these findings are certainly surprising.
Perhaps in the future this type of data can help to make navigating on busy holidays even less of a hassle.