Washington, D.C.: Transportation
Approaching the City
Washington is served by three major international airports. The closest, Ronald Reagan Washington National—across the Potomac in Virginia—is minutes from downtown Washington by car or the Metro subway system. Dulles International is about 20 miles west of the District of Columbia in Virginia. Baltimore-Washington International is 20 miles northeast of the city in Maryland.
Travelers driving to Washington by car have to cross the Capital Beltway, also known as Interstate 495, which circles the city and connects it with Maryland and Virginia. Inter-states 395 and 66 also run between the District of Columbia and surrounding areas.
Continuous daily trains connect New York's Pennsylvania Station to Washington's Union Station, which is in sight of the Capitol, and 50 daily trains connect Washington, D.C. with more than 500 cities around the U.S. Taxi fares are based on a zone system and cabs do not carry meters.
Traveling in the City
Travel in the District of Columbia, second most congested area in the nation after Los Angeles, is made easier by the mass transportation system operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which runs the second largest rail transit system and fifth largest bus network in the United States. The award-winning Metrorail system includes 103 miles of track and 86 operating stations, including three new stations opened in 2004 extending the Blue and Red lines. The system has stations at Union Station and National Airport. In 2004 the Metrorail moved 190 million riders. The 1,460 vehicle Metrobus system has bus routes on all major streets in D.C. and nearly all primary roads in the region and carried 140 million riders in 2004.
More than 10,000 taxis cruise city streets charging inexpensive fares based on a simple zone system.
Discuss this city on our active forum.