Transportation in Charlotte, North Carolina

The transportation needs for the city of Charlotte, North Carolina are served by an expanding mass transit system, major airport, and several highways.

Mass transit

(CATS) is the agency responsible for operating mass transit in Charlotte, and Mecklenburg County. CATS operates light rail transit, historical trolleys, express shuttles, and bus service serving Charlotte and its immediate suburbs. The LYNX light rail system comprises a 9.6-mile line north-south line known as the Blue Line. Bus ridership continues to grow (66% since 1998), but more slowly than operations increases which have risen 170% in that same time when adjusted for inflation. []

The 2030 Transit Corridor System Plan looks to supplement its established bus service with light rail & commuter rail lines called LYNX. Designed to carry passengers along five key corridors, the project is estimated to cost $8.9 billion. $4.6 billion are capital costs and $4.3 billion are operating costs through 2035. Originally, before the 1998 ballot referendum, the plan had been forecast to cost $1.1 billion. [ [ City Council Workshop ] ]


Charlotte/Douglas International Airport is the 11th busiest airport in the world, as measured by traffic [] It is served by many domestic airlines, as well as international airlines Air Canada and Lufthansa, and is the largest hub of US Airways. Nonstop flights are available to many destinations across the United States, as well as flights to Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Mexico.

Roads and Highways

Charlotte's central location between the population centers of the northeast and southeast has made it a transportation focal point and primary distribution center, with two major interstate highways, I-85 and I-77, intersecting near the city's center. Charlotte's beltway, designated I-485 and simply called "485" by locals, is partially completed but stalled for funding. The new projection has it slated for completion by 2013. [ [ News 14 | 24 Hour Local News | TOP STORIES ] ] Upon completion, 485 will have a total circumference of approximately 67 miles (108 km). Within the city, the I-277 loop freeway encircles Charlotte's downtown (usually referred to by its two separate sections, the John Belk Freeway and the Brookshire Freeway) while Charlotte Route 4 links major roads in a loop between I-277 and I-485.

Intercity rail

Charlotte is served daily by three Amtrak routes.

The Crescent train connects Charlotte with New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlottesville, and Greensboro to the north, and Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans to the south.

The Carolinian train connects Charlotte with New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro.

The Piedmont train connects Charlotte with Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro. The Amtrak station is located at 1914 North Tryon Street.

The city is currently building a new centralized multimodial train station called the Gateway Station. It is expected to house the future LYNX Purple Line, the new Greyhound bus station, and the Crescent line that passes through Uptown Charlotte.


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