Monday, November 19, 2012

Economy Still Down, But Thanksgiving Travelers Up

The AAA car club says 43.6 million travelers will hit the roads for the Thanksgiving holiday, marking the fourth consecutive year that the number of people traveling this weekend has increased.
It's not much of an increase though- only 0.7%, which AAA blames on the economy.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight, a Boston-based economics consulting organization that analyzes travel trends. The travel projections are derived from current economic conditions, along with a survey.

Total increase in economic activity, measured in its broadest measure as the gross domestic product, will end the year somewhere near the 2.1 percent mark, IHS Global Insight estimates. This is below the 2.5 percent measure associated as a threshold for a growing economy.

Despite the continued sluggish economic recovery, AAA said there are a few bright spots. Housing starts are up, median prices are climbing and consumer confidence is improved from a year ago.

Travel by the numbers

According to AAA Idaho, these numbers give a glimpse of travel in the week to come:
•Busiest travel day—Wed., Nov 21.
•Average travel distance—588 miles, down 16.7 percent from last year’s 706 miles.
•Median spending—Down 10 percent to $498, compared to $554 a year ago.
•Thanksgiving spending by category—food/beverage, 20 percent; shopping, 20 percent; fuel, 14 percent; lodging, 13 percent; entertainment/recreation, 11 percent; other transportation, 18 percent; other, 4 percent.
•90 percent—portion of travelers to ride or drive in motor vehicles.

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About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.