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D.C. Region Expecting Big Travel Numbers This Memorial Day Weekend

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Traffic backs up at the Bay Bridge in Maryland (Photo credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Traffic backs up at the Bay Bridge in Maryland (Photo credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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LANHAM, Md. (WNEW/AP) — A strong case of cabin fever and a little more money to spend should inspire a greater number of Americans to hit the road this Memorial Day weekend.

That’s the forecast from auto club AAA, which expects a total of 36.1 million people to travel 50 miles or more. About 2.7 million people from D.C., Maryland and Virginia will travel at least 50 miles during the holiday weekend, AAA Mid-Atlantic predicts.

If that estimate holds true, it would be the largest amount of people traveling during the holiday weekend since 2005.

AAA officials, along with representatives of traffic agencies in D.C, Maryland and Virginia, said at a news conference Tuesday that almost 90 percent of those planning to travel during the holiday weekend will do so by car.

Although most will drive to their vacation spots, more people are expected to fly or take a cruise or train this year compared with a year ago, AAA says.

Holiday air travel is expected to increase by 2.6 percent at the D.C. region’s three largest airports.

The improving job market, a rise in disposable income and the desire to get out of the house after a brutal winter are fueling the increase in holiday travel plans, AAA finds.

Memorial Day Weekend Travel

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State and local officials are aiming to reduce traffic deaths across Virginia by 15 percent this year.

The goal is part of the national Drive to Save Lives traffic safety campaign. The campaign also aims to increase safety for law enforcement officers on patrol.

With the long holiday weekend ahead, Virginia State Police on Tuesday urged motorists to drive safely.

The four-day Memorial Day weekend is the traditional start of the summer travel and tourism season.

State police say in a news release that nine people were killed in traffic accidents during the holiday weekend in 2013.

This year’s holiday period begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday and ends at midnight Monday.

State police plan to increase patrols during the period as part of the annual Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort.

(TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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