Washington, D.C. has a number of different modes of transportation available for use. Commuters have a major influence on travel patterns, with only 28% of people employed in Washington, D.C. commuting from within the city, whereas 33.5% commute from the nearby Maryland suburbs, 22.7% from Northern Virginia, and the rest from Washington, D.C.'s outlying suburbs.
Metro & Bus Tutorial in Washington, DC - A tutorial for HU17 about navigating around DC using public transportation resources.
Washington, D.C. has the second highest percentage of public transit commuters in the United States, behind only New York City.
Commuters have a major influence on travel patterns in Washington, D.C. 671,678 people are employed in Washington, D.C., with only 28% commuting from within the city. 18.7% of people working in Washington, D.C. commute from Prince George's County, Maryland and 14.8% from Montgomery County, Maryland. 13.2% come from Fairfax County, Virginia, 6% from Arlington County, Virginia, and 3.5% from Alexandria, Virginia. Smaller numbers of commuters come from the outer suburbs, including 2.4% from Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and 2.3% from Prince William County, Virginia, 1.6% from Charles County, Maryland, 1.3% from Howard County, Maryland, and 1% from Loudoun County, Virginia. Of the 260,000 Washington, D.C. residents that were employed as of 2000, 24% commute to jobs in Montgomery, Prince George's, Fairfax, and Arlington Counties, as well as Alexandria. Of those that work in Washington, D.C., 44.8% drive alone to work, 21.2% take Metro, 14.4% carpool/slug, 8.8% use Metrobus, 4.5% walk to work, 2.7% travel by commuter rail, and 0.6% ride their bicycle to work. Of the households in Washington, D.C., 35.4% do not own a car.
Streets and highways
City streets in the District of Columbia are organized primarily in a grid-like fashion with its origin at the United States Capitol, with diagonal streets running across this grid, as well as circlesâ"a plan laid out by Pierre L'Enfant and revised by Andrew Ellicott and Joseph Ellicott. The northâ"south roads are primarily named with numbers (i.e. 1st Street, 2nd Street, etc.), while the eastâ"west roads are primarily named with letters (beginning with A Street) or, once letters are exhausted, are named alphabetically (Adams, Bryant, Channing, etc.) Intersecting this network of streets are diagonal avenues named after each of the fifty states. Within this grid, all streets are a part of one of the four quadrants of the cityâ"Northeast (NE), Northwest (NW), Southeast (SE), and Southwest (SW)â"centered on the Capitol Building. All roads end with this suffix at the end of their title. For example, there is a 4th Street NE, 4th Street NW, 4th Street SE, and 4th Street SW.
Exceptions to this nomenclature include the names of the streets that line the National Mall. The north side of the mall is lined by Constitution Avenue, whereas the south side of the mall is lined by Independence Avenue. Both streets follow the NE, NW, SE, SW rule.
Major interstates running through the area include the Capital Beltway (I-495), I-66, I-95, I-395 (also called the Southwest/Southeast Freeway in D.C. or Shirley Highway in Virginia), I-295 (also called the Anacostia Freeway or Kenilworth Avenue), and I-270 (which does not reach D.C., terminating at I-495). Other major highways include the Whitehurst Freeway, in D.C., the George Washington Parkway in Virginia, the Rock Creek Parkway in D.C., the Suitland Parkway in D.C. and Maryland, US Route 50, the Clara Barton Parkway and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Maryland, and the Dulles Toll Road in Virginia. Portions of I-66 and I-95/I-395 in Virginia are HOV roads (only vehicles carrying multi-occupants or using hybrid energy are allowed on during weekday rush hours).
The Washington area is served by the Washington Metro rapid transit system, operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). WMATA also operates Metrobus, a regional bus system serving D.C. and the closest immediate counties (described further below). The Washington Metro connects with both commuter rail and intercity rail systems at Union Station.
On February 27, 2016 the first line of the DC Streetcar was opened between Union Station and Oklahoma Ave/Benning Rd, running for most of its length along H Street. More lines are planned.
MARC provides service from Union Station to Baltimore and Perryville with intermediate stops, on both the Camden and Penn Lines. MARC's Brunswick line provides service between Martinsburg, West Virginia with intermediate stops, and Union Station. A new spur of the Brunswick line also goes to Frederick, Maryland. All three lines of Maryland's MARC train system begin at Union Station in Washington where passengers can transfer to the Washington Metro's Red Line; Metrorail service is also provided to New Carrollton (Orange Line); College Parkâ"University of Maryland and Greenbelt (Green Line); and Silver Spring and Rockville stations in Montgomery County (Red Line).
Virginia Railway Express commuter trains provide service from Union Station to Fredericksburg and Manassas, Virginia. VRE trains also stop at several Metro stations, including L'Enfant Plaza, Crystal City, King Street â" Old Town, and Franconia-Springfield.
Amtrak's Acela Express and Northeast Regional provide service on the high speed Northeast Corridor from Washington's Union Station to Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston, as well as intermediate stops. In addition, the Vermonter provides service to Burlington, Vermont via New York. The Palmetto provides service to Georgia, the Crescent provides service to New Orleans, and Amtrak's Silver Service trains provide service to Florida, all en route from New York. The Capitol Limited and Cardinal, the latter using a much longer and more southerly route via West Virginia and Virginia, provide rail service between Washington, D.C. and Chicago. Amtrak's nonstop service Auto Train to Sanford, Florida originates 30 minutes south of the city in Lorton, Virginia. Connections to the Washington Metro are offered at Union Station in Washington, at New Carrollton station in Prince George's County, at Rockville in Montgomery County, and at the adjacent King Street â" Old Town Station and Alexandria Union Station in Alexandria.
Metrobus is a bus service operated by Metro, consisting of 176 bus lines serving 12,301 stops, including 3,133 bus shelters and nearly every Washington Metro station. In fiscal year 2006, Metrobus provided 131 million trips, 39% of all Washington Metro trips. It serves D.C. and the inner ring of suburban counties. The Maryland Department of Transportation and several privately operated companies provide bus service during weekday rush hours between D.C. and more distant counties such as Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Howard, and St. Mary's in Maryland; and Fredericksburg, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford in Virginia.
Tripper Bus is a private commuter bus offering service from the Washington, D.C. suburbs of Arlington, Virginia and Bethesda, Maryland to and from New York City.
Washington Deluxe is an independent bus line offering express round trip service between the cities of New York and Washington, DC. The Washington, D.C. bus stops include Dupont Circle and Columbus Circle. The New York City stops include Penn Station Chinatown, and Brooklyn.
DC Circulator is a downtown circulator bus system owned by the District of Columbia Department of Transportation, with five routes connecting points of interest in the city center.
Union Station is a stop for many intercity bus lines, including Megabus, BoltBus, Greyhound Lines, OurBus, Peter Pan Bus Lines, and BestBus. A bus stop for the Chinatown bus lines is near Gallery Place station and the Verizon Center. The Greenbelt Metro station also has a bus line that commutes to the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, which connects Metro to the Baltimore area's MTA buses and light rail system. MTA Commuter Bus also serves limited parts of Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland. Local transit services such as Loudoun County Commuter Bus and private companies such as Martz Group provide commuter bus service to Virginia.
Several Metrorail stations offer connections to Home Ride, a bus service which connects Virginia Tech, Radford University, James Madison University, and the University of Virginia to the northern Virginia area. Many students at these schools use Home Ride as a method for getting home on weekends.
Higher education campuses in the area also offer on-site and commuter transportation, such as the University of Maryland's Shuttle-UM.
Metrorail's Yellow and Blue Lines serve Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Express bus service from L'Enfant Plaza and Rosslyn (Route 5A) is provided to Washington Dulles International Airport. Baltimore-Washington International Airport is served by express bus from Greenbelt (Route B30), and by rail from Union Station by MARC and Amtrak. There is also a planned station for Washington Dulles International Airport on the Metrorail Silver Line.
Public Transportation Statistics
The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Washington, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 86 min. 31% of public transit riders, ride for more than 2 hours every day. The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 19 min, while 34% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 8.8Â km, while 20% travel for over 12Â km in a single direction.
There are a number of major routes for autos.
In December 2001, Metro initiated a relationship with Flexcar, a private company which operates car sharing networks in several North American cities. A competitor, Zipcar, began service in the region and later merged with Flexcar on October 31, 2007. With this service, cars are parked at major Metrorail stations and other convenient locations in the metropolitan area and made available for rental on an hourly basis, with the goal of reducing car dependency and congestion, improving the environment, and increasing transit ridership.
In March 2012, Car2Go began offering service in D.C., initially providing 200 Smart cars for use everywhere within the District's city limits. The international car sharing company, which offers one-way rentals charged by the minute, increased their vehicle fleet to 400 in 2013. During its first year of operation, Car2Go paid the city more than $500,000 for rights to meter-free parking. The service has seen initial success; from September 2012 to July 2013, membership tripled to 26,000 users.
There is heavy vehicle congestion from the large percentage of the population who chooses to drive. This results in a parking problem. There have been various attempts by corporations to solve the city's parking problem as a Guinea pig location. There has been little success. Parking restrictions are strictly enforced, and the complicated parking hours posted on signs can be confusing. Environmentalists question the free parking spaces given to thousands of Congressional employees, which discourages them from using public transportation.
Washington, D.C. is served by three major airports: two are located in suburban Virginia and one in Maryland.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (IATA: DCA, ICAO: KDCA) is the closestâ"located in Arlington County, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Hains Point, and accessible via Washington Metro. The airport is conveniently located near to the downtown area; however, it has somewhat restricted flights to airports within the United States because of noise and security concerns.
Most major international flights arrive and depart from Washington Dulles International Airport (IATA: IAD, ICAO: KIAD), located 26.3 miles (42.3Â km) west of the city in Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia. Dulles is the second busiest international gateway on the Eastern Seaboard. It is the Washington region's second busiest airport in terms of passengers served. Dulles offers service from several low-cost carriers including JetBlue, although the low-cost selection decreased greatly when Independence Air (which was headquartered at Dulles) folded in January 2006.
Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (IATA: BWI, ICAO: KBWI), is located 31.7 miles (51.0Â km) northeast of the city in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, south of Baltimore and is the busiest airport in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. BWI is notable for its variety of low-cost carriers, such as Southwest Airlines, and its few international flights, on carriers such as Air Canada and British Airways.
Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport are operated by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
General aviation is additionally available at several smaller airfields, including Montgomery County Airpark (Gaithersburg, Maryland), College Park Airport (College Park, Maryland), Potomac Airfield (Friendly CDP of Prince George's County, Maryland), and Manassas Regional Airport (Manassas, Virginia). Since 2003, the general aviation airports closest to Washington, D.C. have had their access strictly limited by the implementation of the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
There is a network of 45 miles (72Â km) dedicated bicycle lanes around Washington, D.C. and there are 1,300 bicycle racks installed on sidewalks all over the city. An estimated 3.3% of the District's residents biked to work in 2010, and by 2008 the city had the sixth-highest percentage of bike commuters in the United States.
There are also two bicycle sharing services. SmartBike DC was launched in 2008 and Capital Bikeshare began services in September 2010. Washington D.C. formerly had the largest bike sharing service in the U.S. with 1,100 bicycles and 110 rental locations (New York City's CitiBike program is now larger). The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) provides advice and information to bicycle commuters, as well as lobbying for better cycling conditions.
- DC Streetcar
- Washington streetcars
- List of heliports in Washington, D.C.
- Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)
- Parking Panda
- DC Circulator
- Capital Bikeshare
- Shuttle Wizard