TRAFFIC

Better Economy Boosts Thanksgiving Travel

Things must be looking up: 42.2 million people are expected to travel more than 50 miles from home for Thanksgiving—an increase of 11 percent from 2009. Why the sudden interest in Dad’s mashed potatoes? The economy is better, analysts say, allowing more people to budget in a family trip. Although the double-digit increase is a good sign, economists warn that it’s not as good as it may look: There was a 25 percent decline in holiday travelers in 2008—rates stayed pretty much flat between ’08 and ’09—meaning that the increase of 4.3 million travelers this year is still less than half the volume lost between 2007 and 2008.