Google Maps Has Tips for Beating Thanksgiving Traffic in Boston

No mention of the Mass Pike's new electronic tolling, though.

google maps thanksgiving boston

Image courtesy of Google Maps

Avoiding traffic in Boston is like an exceptionally not fun game that you almost never win.

During the holidays, that game becomes even more aggravating. Thankfully, though, the folks at Google Maps have a present for the hoards of holiday travelers gearing up for turkey and long car rides: data. Google measured traffic patterns in 25 cities across the country last year during the week of Thanksgiving. The company analyzed the total number of cars on the road at any given time with help from Android phones that have location services enabled.

The result? Advice for the tens of millions of Americans hitting the road in pursuit of mashed potatoes. The search site’s Boston-specific data could ease your traffic woes, as long as the Mass Pike’s new electronic tolling doesn’t trip you up. Here’s what Google had to say:

You should leave at 6 a.m. on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

It makes sense that the roads would be less busy four whole days before Thanksgiving. The smoothest possible trip is at 6 a.m. on Sunday—but at 3 p.m., traffic will be the most congested. Whatever you do, don’t leave on Wednesday, as it’s the worst day to leave. If you absolutely must head out on Wednesday, it’d be best to hit the road at 7 a.m. and avoid driving around 3 p.m.

You should return at 6 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Another early morning departure should make for an easy ride home. Google says to be home before 4 p.m. on Friday, when traffic will be incredibly sluggish. The site advises not to leave on Saturday, which is the worst day to depart. If there’s no other option, make sure to leave by 6 a.m.

Google also looked at the top recipes across the country, as well as state-specific turkey styles and types of pie. (Massachusetts repped in roast turkey and apple pie, by the way.) You can see Google’s full analysis here.