Google is helping American holiday-goers in major cities avoid the heavy traffic jams by predicting the times when most cars will be out on the road. It’s set up a handy site where you can check the optimal time to drive into each city for your celebratory freedom fireworks.
To use the site, select your nearest metro area from the list and which day you plan to travel. Google will tell you the best and worst times to travel on that day. Traffic in most cities peaks mid-afternoon and the best time to leave post-festivities is apparently around 11 pm. You might want to bring snacks.
In order to anticipate the likeliest high traffic times in each city, Google analyzed last year’s holiday period, which lasted from July 3 to July 6. It pulled data from Android phones with location sharing turned on in order to assess how many cars were on the road at any given time.
This year, since the holiday falls midweek, the data indicates the preceding day will likely not see a huge upswing in traffic into the cities. Consistently, the suggestion when you ask the best time to drive into each city is early in the morning on July 4. I checked my nearest major city on the list, Dallas, and was told the best time for me to commute would be 6 am. The worst would be 3 pm.
Personally, I’m going to stay home and grill pork chops while watching Independence Day, but it’s nice to know Google has my back.
Google’s done this before, specifically for Thanksgiving last year. It also mapped search trends for various states during the holiday. Now if it could give me some traffic predictions around Christmas, that I might find really helpful.