Tucson: Transportation

Approaching the City

Visitors arriving in Tucson by plane are greeted by the recently expanded Tucson International Airport, located a few miles south of the city. In January 2005 the airport completed a terminal expansion project allowing TIA to handle 7 million passengers in ticketing and baggage claim. A comprehensive master plan provides for even more development over 20 years to accommodate the area's rapidly growing needs and will include a runway relocation, additional runway, expanded passenger areas and terminal complex, as well as additional cargo, corporate and support facilities. Served by 12 major airlines, Tucson International provides daily flights to cities in the United States, Mexico, and abroad.

Principal highway routes into the city are Interstate 10, which runs between Los Angeles and El Paso and passes through downtown on a northwest-southeast axis, and Interstate 19, which originates at the Mexican border and merges with Interstate 10 in Tucson. Amtrak provides train service and Greyhound Trailways provides bus service.

Traveling in the City

Tucson, located in a narrow, elliptical valley, is laid out in a grid pattern. The city is essentially serviced by surface roads, which can be congested during rush hours. Some major cross-town roads may suddenly dead end, necessitating a switch to a roundabout route. Numbered streets south of Speedway Boulevard run east-west, and numbered avenues west of Euclid Avenue run north-south. Residential and commercial pockets are scattered throughout the city, which can cause confusion. Drivers should be aware that during rush hours, the center or left-turn lane on major east-west thoroughfares becomes a one-way traffic lane.

Tucson's public mass transit system, operated by Sun Tran Transit, provides service for 60,000 riders each day to major points within the city and the surrounding area, including the airport. Arizona has deregulated the ground transportation industry so that cab fare in Tucson is negotiable. The Old Pueblo Historic Trolley runs between the Fourth Ave Business District and the University of Arizona campus. Future expansion of the trolley will bring the line downtown to the Tucson Convention Center and the Rio Nuevo Development Area.