Are there any sites, maps, or news articles with informed estimates of how many people will be traveling to various locations along the total eclipse path? I know that many locations, such as Carbondale IL and Hopkinsville KY, will be completely mobbed. But that means other less-notable spots might end up with lower popularity and easier driving. Is there any way to identify those?
Michael Zeiler of GreatAmericanEclipse.com has put together a page with several maps showing estimates for how many people will be visiting various locations along the path of totality.
Traffic, along with weather, will be the chief challenges for people wanting to see the total solar eclipse. I analyze how the US population is distributed with respect to the US road network and the path of total solar eclipse to predict how many people will visit the path of totality and the resulting traffic congestion. Using advanced ArcGIS.com software by Esri, US Census data, and a road network model of every street in the USA, I present estimates for where people will gather for the eclipse and in what numbers.
One of the maps is shown below.
This infographic summarizes how many people are expected to travel to the path of totality and where they will congregate. The patterns of converging lines to the path of totality represent the quickest drive paths from throughout the nation to the path. These lines are color-coded by destination state. The blue circles in the path are destinations for eclipse travelers, proportionally sized to the expected traffic impact. The black dots are metropolitan areas throughout the country scaled to population."
Clearly, the state with the greatest impact on eclipse day will be South Carolina. It is the closest destination for the entire Eastern Seaboard. Other states with major impacts will be Tennessee, Missouri, and Oregon.
He also shows the 12 worst drivesheds - locations along the path of totality that will have the highest traffic chokepoints:
I-95 near Santee, SC is the closest destination for 74.6 million Americans
I-15 near Idaho Falls, ID is the closest destination for 35.8 million Americans
Highway 75 near Sabetha, KS is the closest destination for 27.8 million Americans
I-65 near White House, TN is the closest destination for 27.1 million Americans
I-57 near Goreville, IL is the closest destination for 26.2 million Americans
I-5 near Salem, OR is the closest destination for 25 million Americans
I-75 near Sweetwater, TN is the closest destination for 20.4 million Americans
I-55 near Festus, MO is the closest destination for 13.8 million Americans
I-35 near Lathrop, MO is the closest destination for 12.5 million Americans
I-85 near Greenville, SC is the closest destination for 9.6 million Americans
I-25 near Glendo, WY is the closest destination for 8.6 million Americans
I-20 near Columbia, SC is the closest destination for 5.5 million Americans
At the bottom of the page, he also has a map for each state along the path of totality that shows all of the intersections of highways with the center of the path, along with high and low estimates for how many people will visit those locations. For example, this map shows that even though South Carolina will have the most visitors, there are still areas along the path that will have a relatively small amount compared to other areas.
To provide a simple answer and some native insight. I live in a town in South Carolina that is dead center on the line of the Eclipse. We're expected to have double the population in our town (near Greenville, SC). 200,000 increased to an estimated 400,000.
We have been advised numerous times to stay off the roads. Coincidentally, it is also move in weekend for most colleges. Thousands of more families traveling into SC for that reason. This will not help.
As a side note, we've also been advised not to make phone calls and live video feeds as certain people in the phone industry believe we could overload the towers, providing a dangerous situation for 911 response.
Most weekly events scheduled for Monday have been moved to Tuesday. All the stores are sold out of glasses.