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Transportation in Oklahoma City

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Oklahoma City is near the geographic center of the United States and is an integral point on the U.S. Interstate Network. The city is served by numerous roads and highways, toll roads, three major airports, a train station, a bus station, and a transit system.

Roads and highways

Oklahoma City is served by an extensive freeway network. The city's network serves every major city in the region and are 6–8 lanes. Most have a level of congestion significantly lower than most comparably sized cities. In fact, OKC's freeways are rarely congested with the "stop and go" commuter patterns of other major cities. It is often said that one can get from any part of the OKC Metro area to downtown in 30 minutes or less by freeway. The city streets are on a N–S–E–W grid network with major streets one mile separated.

The former section of I-40 directly adjacent to downtown was known as the "Crosstown Expressway". The I-40 Crosstown Construction Project relocated the original elevated stretch of highway several blocks to the south. It opened to the public in 2012.

Interstate highways

Three major interstate routes serve the city in addition to two secondary interstates. Oklahoma City is the only city in the nation dissected by two interstate highways that reach the entire length of the nation (Interstate 40 E-W and Interstate 35 N-S).

Other major thoroughfares


Oklahoma City is a major air transportation and maintenance center, with three major airports and numerous other smaller ones. Will Rogers World Airport (OKC) is the principal commercial airport of the state and is the anchor of the city's network; located on the SW side of the city, the airport is completing the second phase of an expansion plan and is currently expanding its non-stop flight offerings (with emphasis on its top-15 O/D destinations). Will Rogers also serves as a major maintenance facility with numerous companies providing maintenance to large passenger aircraft. In addition, JPATS has its hub facility at the airport and numerous cargo carriers and air shuttles operate at the airport.

Wiley Post Airport (PWA) is located in the West Oklahoma City suburb of Bethany and is the FAA-designated reliever airport for Will Rogers World Airport. It also is the primary general and corporate aviation airport for the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

Tinker Air Force Base is the largest military air depot in the nation and is located in SE Oklahoma County.

Clarence E. Page Municipal Airport is a city-owned public use airport located in Canadian County.

Sundance Airpark is a privately owned public use airport located in Canadian County.


Oklahoma City is experiencing a new renaissance in rail service. What began with only freight service in the early 1990s was transformed by the arrival of the Heartland Flyer. With its daily service to Fort Worth, the Heartland Flyer provides access to the nation's rail network and has given Oklahoma City yet another option for inter-state transportation.

There were plans in the early 1990s to build a light rail system for the city as part of the MAPS urban redevelopment program, but the project stalled repeatedly on issues of funding. (Ernest Istook, 5th District Congressman and chairman of the congressional transportation committee, played a major role in killing federal funding for the project). However he played vital roles in getting other major cities funded for light rail like Los Angeles.

A downtown streetcar (or trolley) system, the Oklahoma City Streetcar, opened in December 2018.[1] Its construction was funded in part by the MAPS 3 initiative that was approved by the region's voters in 2009. In January 2006, Embark, then known as Metro Transit, had released a new Mass Transit plan that detailed its vision of rapid transit in the coming years. The study results showed a modern trolley in downtown OKC, commuter rail from downtown to the suburbs of Edmond and Norman, and a comprehensive, specialized metropolitan bus network.

Passenger service

Amtrak serves Oklahoma City via the Heartland Flyer, based out of the Art Deco Santa Fe train station in downtown. It has daily service to the satellite city of Norman and terminates at Fort Worth, Texas where passengers can transfer to the nation's rail network. There is currently a major push to expand the Heartland Flyer north into Kansas since the service has been guaranteed by recent state contributions.

There is also a heritage rail line under re-construction that will connect Adventure District in NE Oklahoma City to downtown. The line likely would run from the Santa Fe train station through Bricktown and the Oklahoma Health Center through the Eastside to Adventure District attractions such as the Oklahoma City Zoological Park, Remington Park, and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

Freight lines

Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe are the major freight lines in the city.


Union Bus Station is the principal bus terminal in the state. It is located just east of downtown. Greyhound and several other regional and intercity bus companies serve Oklahoma City given its central location.

Public transit

METRO Transit bus, downtown Oklahoma City, July 2007.
METRO Transit bus, downtown Oklahoma City, July 2007.

Embark is the public transit provider with its new bus terminal downtown at NW 5th Street and Hudson Avenue. Embark has numerous routes, most of them being in the central inner city areas and commuter routes from the suburbs of Edmond and Norman to downtown. Metro's service is lacking in some respects, but there are plans to improve it through Metro's vision known as Fixed Guideway Study.[2]

Also part of the FGS, a new streetcar system known as the Oklahoma City Streetcar, which opened in December 2018,[3][1] was completed under the city's MAPS 3 initiative. Served by modern, low-floor streetcars, the line connects the CBD with the other major downtown districts in the short term, with expansions proposed to Asia District and the NW Business District as well as the Oklahoma Health Center and Research Park and the Capital Hill district. The study results also showed commuter rail from downtown to the suburbs of Del City, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore and Norman and a comprehensive rapid or commuter bus network for the remainder of the metropolitan area.

Electric scooter company Lime located scooter rentals near city bus stops.[4]


  1. ^ a b "OKC Streetcar service begins" (Press release). City of Oklahoma City. December 14, 2018. Archived from the original on December 15, 2018. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  2. ^ Oklahoma Fixed Guideway Study Archived June 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine (accessed April 21, 2010)
  3. ^ Crum, William (December 14, 2018). "Lines form to catch first rides on the Oklahoma City streetcar". The Oklahoman. GateHouse Media Inc. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  4. ^ Garcia, Mireya (February 28, 2020). "Electric rental scooters becoming more popular during work commutes". KOKH. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
This page was last edited on 7 August 2020, at 16:42
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