15 Things to Know About Transportation in Florida

17 SEP

15 Things to Know About Transportation in Florida

Did you know this unique, weirdly shaped state we call Florida is 58,560 square miles? Somehow we manage to move lots of people and goods, from Pensacola to Jacksonville to Key West.

How many miles of roads do we have across the states? How many people live here or visit? How much of the goods we buy moves by truck? If you have ever wanted to know the answers to those questions, wait no more. Here’s 15 things you need to know about Florida and its transportation system.

  • It is the 3rd most populous state in the country. 20.84 million people live here, according the University of Florida’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research. As the population gurus for the state, BEBR predicts 21.5 million people are are expected to live here by the end of 2020. That is a lot of people for the state’s transportation to support.
  • More people move here than any other state, except for Texas. Florida adds more than 300,000 people each year. That is only slightly less than Texas and twice as much as California, the 3rd fastest growing state.
  • It has a LOT of interstate miles. There are 1,495 federal interstate miles in Florida. That’s I-95, I-75, I-4, I-10, and all their spurs like I-295. Duval County, home to Jacksonville, has the most interstate miles out of the state’s 67 counties.
  • The distance to travel from Pensacola to Key West is 792 miles, by road. That is approximately the same distance it takes to travel from Daytona Beach to Washington, DC; Houston to Nashville; and Los Angeles to Albuquerque.
  • There are 123,099 miles of road across Florida. That is a lots of miles to support this large and populous state. This calculation is in centerline miles, the length of a road not taking into account its number of lanes. A two-lane road and a six-lane that start and end in the same place – and they are exactly parallel – have the same number of centerline miles.
  • The state’s highway system has more than 44,000 lane miles. Interstates often get all the attention, but the state highway system is the true workhorse. State highways like SR 60 carry more than 50% of the daily traffic in Florida. A lane mile is the number of total miles for vehicles on a road, a calculation that factors in the number of the lanes. This is how centerline and lanes miles differ. A 4-lane road that goes for 10 miles has 40 lanes miles and 10 centerline miles. This is important for calculating capacity on a road, particularly in urban areas.
  • Florida is home to the largest tourist market, by metro area, in the country. More people visit the Orlando metro area each year than any other place in the United States. In 2018, 75 million people visited. And more than 126 million visitors came to the entire state.
  • The Orlando International Airport is the state’s busiest airport and the 10th busiest in the country. 47.7 million passengers traveled through the airport in 2018. Makes sense if it serves the country’s biggest tourism market.
  • The state has one of the largest transportation budgets in the country. $14 billion in federal, state, and local funds will be spent this year to improve our roads, bridges, ports, bus, and rail networks. Overall, $52 billion is expected to be spent on transportation over the next five years.
  • More than 500 million tons of freight moves within Florida each year. According to the most recent publicly available data (from 2012), 508.9 million tons of freight is intrastate goods movement. This far exceeds the inbound and outbound freight traffic, 141.2 million tons and 56.2 million tons, respectively.
  • Trucks are responsible for 70% of freight movement in the state. It’s clear that trucks are backbone in the state’s system of moving goods into, out of, and around places. Rail is very distant second, at 17%, followed by shipping at 12%, and air cargo at less than 1%.
  • Florida has 12,471 bridges. Spoiler alert: That is a bunch. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) maintains the majority of these bridges.
  • More than 600 million miles are driven on roads in Florida each day. Wow, that is a big number. More than half are cars and trucks on the interstates, expressways, and major state roads.
  • Florida has 750 miles of tolls roads. That might seem like a low number for the road warriors out there, but this is a lot considering most states do not have any toll roads. Between the Florida Turnpike and the expressway authorities, toll roads crisscross the state, with more in Orange County than any other county.
  • The 6 million residents of the Miami urbanized area spend 69 hours (on average) delayed in traffic. That is almost three full days! This has a cost too. $593 million is the estimated congestion costs for trucks in year in just the Miami urbanized area.
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Elizabeth Whitton (Author)

Elizabeth Whitton is a 7th generation Floridian, who feels equally at home traveling the back roads of North Florida or I-4 through downtown Orlando. She spent the last decade working with cities and regions across the United States with a significant amount of her time focused on addressing transportation issues in Central Florida. Her goal is to effectively communicate complex policy issues and research to a broad audience. Elizabeth is a graduate of the University of Alabama and Florida State University.

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