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AAA Predicts Record-Breaking Holiday Travel

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - AAA is predicting that this holiday season will be a record-breaking year.

WEB EXTRA: Read AAA's complete travel forecast (.pdf)

Numbers released Thursday morning show that 112.5 million people are expected to be traveling in the air and on the roads. That's a 4.4 percent increase over last year's number. It's also the highest number of travelers since AAA started tracking holiday travel in 2001. It breaks down like this:

  • 102.1 million people are expected to travel by car
  • 6.7 million people will travel by air
  • 3.7 million will travel by trains, buses and cruise ships

Watch: AAA's Robert Sinclair On Holiday Travel

Robert Sinclair of AAA stopped by CBSN New York's studios to talk with Alex Denis about the forecast.

"We're anticipating in some cities as much as a quadrupling of travel time. Atlanta's the worst, and New York's right behind. So if a normal trip takes one hour, it's going to take four hours," Sinclair said.

Data released by AAA shows that Thursday, Dec. 20 from 9:30 - 10:30 p.m. will be the worst time for travel in New York City.

Sinclair told Denis that there are more cars on the road. Just in New York City alone, between 2012 and 2017 the number of registrations for passenger vehicles has gone from 1,776,536 to 1,925,041, an 8.2 percent increase.

"We've seen and additional 146,000 vehicles registered in the City of New York over the past five years. An additional 52,000 for-hire vehicles, the Ubers and Lyfts of the world, in a place where it's so difficult to be a vehicle owner," Sinclair said.

Sinclair's advice for travelers?

  • Timing is everything. Leave early if you can.
  • Drive with the aid of an app that uses real time traffic data
  • Consider alternate routes
  • Travel on the holiday itself. Most people leave before the holiday, and that's when you'll hit the most traffic.

In addition to the holiday travel hangups, you should also be aware of Gridlock Alert days. Both today and Friday - as well as next Thursday and Friday - are Gridlock Alert days in New York City.

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