Miami: Transportation

Approaching the City

The visitor arriving in Miami by plane will stop at the Miami International Airport (MIA), an ultramodern facility only seven miles from downtown and served by more than 100 airlines. MIA is the one of the busiest in the world, and has the third highest international passenger traffic in the country. The Metropolitan Miami-Dade County Aviation Department, which is overseeing a $4.6 billion expansion of the airport, also maintains five general aviation facilities that handle corporate aircraft flights. The Port of Miami is the world's busiest cruise port, serving more than 3.6 million passengers annually. Amtrak provides passenger rail service into and out of the city. Tri-Rail links downtown Miami to three counties and to Miami International Airport via a 65-mile train system.

The major north-south expressways into Miami are Interstate 95, the Palmetto Expressway (also called State Road 826), and the Florida Turnpike. Main east-west routes are Interstate 195, the Dolphin Expressway (State Road 836), the Airport Expressway (State Road 112), the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 4, which is also Southwest Eighth Street), and the Miami Beach Causeways (MacArthur, Venetian, Julia Tuttle, and Seventy-ninth Street). Other east-west thoroughfares are the Bal Harbor (Broad Street), Sunny Isles (State Road 826) and William Lehman Causeways.

Traveling in the City

Miami is laid out in a grid pattern organized around a downtown intersection of Miami Avenue (east-west) and Flagler Street (north-south), which divides the city into four quadrants. For ease in getting around, visitors have only to remember that "streets," "lanes," and "terraces" run east and west, while "avenues," "courts," and "places" run north and south.

Miami's Metrorail-Metrobus system is operated by the MetroDade Transportation Administration. A tourist attraction in its own right, Metrorail carries passengers in air conditioned, stainless steel trains on an elevated railway over a 21.5-mile route from south of the city to north Miami-Dade. It provides connections to all major areas of the city. With the completion of the downtown Metromover, Miami-Dade County became the first community in the world to have a people mover connected to a rail system. The Metromover is a free service that is made up of individual motorized cars running atop a 4.4-mile elevated track, looping around the downtown and connecting to the Metrorail. Interconnecting with the Metrorail and the Metromover is the fleet of buses known as Metrobus, which runs almost 24 hours a day.

Bus, boat, and even helicopter tours are a relaxing way to see Miami and its environs. Comprehensive tour service is provided by numerous tour companies that feature half- and full-day bus or trolley excursions in and around Miami. For those who would like to experience the full effect of the city's skyline, several cruise lines in Miami Beach offer luncheon and moonlight boat excursions.