Before there was science, there was human intuition. For example, intuition told the caveman that living in a cave was a better bet than, say, living under a rosebush. A caveman’s intuition also could tell you that traffic will stink when 85,000 people head to the Washington Redskins game Monday night.
Now, science can tell you that, too.
Using data from past Monday night games at FedEx Field, a company that collects traffic data from thousands of transponders in trucks and fleet vehicles has crunched the numbers in better-than-a-caveman fashion to aid your Monday-night game plan.
“If it usually takes 45 minutes to get home or get to the stadium, count on nearly 90 minutes on game night between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m,” said Jamie Holter, a traffic analyst for INRIX, which provides much of the information in radio, television and Internet traffic reports.
Holter said traffic will thin out after 9 p.m.
INRIX decided to project traffic flow at selected National Football League games this season, beginning with what drivers can expect as the Redskins’ 7:10 p.m. kickoff with the Philadelphia Eagles nears on Monday night.
“Everyone wants to get to the game on time, so we looked back into our archives to determine which games would come with the heaviest traffic,” Holter said. “With the data, we can report on likely congestion levels and recommend departure times.”
The influx of fans coincides with the heart of the evening commute, making the congestion worse.
A typical exodus from work in the Washington area begins to build at 4 p.m. and peaks at 6 p.m., with delays of 20 percent when compared with normal drive time. On Monday, INRIX predicts, congestion will set in at 4 p.m. and peak at 7 p.m., with delays of more than 40 percent.
It could be worse if the NFL ever decided that the Redskins should play a home game on Friday night. That’s the worst commute in the Washington area, INRIX says.
“I think Friday is usually reserved for high school games, no?” Holter said.