The Transportation of Virginia

The Virginia Transportation department (VDOT) owns and runs 57,867 miles (93,128 kilometers) of the state’s total 70,105 miles (112,823 kilometers) of roadways, making it the country’s third-largest state highway system.  Because of the Byrd Road Act of 1932, the state government, rather than a local county authority, manages the majority of Virginia’s highways. According to the 2019 American Community Survey, traffic in Virginia is among the worst in the country. The average commute time in the United States is 28.7 minutes, and also the Washington Metropolitan Area, which covers Northern Virginia, has the second-worst traffic congestion rate in the country.

In 2019, 9.2 percent of Virginia workers reported carpooling to work, and Virginia was one of the first states to reach peak car usage before the year 2000. In 2019, approximately 171.9 million people used public transportation in Virginia, with 62 percent of those using the Washington Metro system, which serves Arlington and Alexandria and stretches into Loudoun and Fairfax Counties. Amtrak passenger train service is available in Virginia along many corridors, while Virginia Railway Express (VRE) operates two commuter lines from Fredericksburg and Manassas to Washington, D.C.

In 2019, VRE had approximately 90,000 weekly riders, but in 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic caused a drastic 90 percent drop in ridership. Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation are two of Virginia’s major freight railroads, and the state agreed to buy 223 miles (359 kilometers) of track and more than 350 miles (560 kilometers) of the right of way from CSX in 2021 for future passenger rail service. The Fairfax Connector, Fredericksburg’s FRED buses, and Prince William County’s OmniRide are all commuter buses. The Jamestown Ferry, which joins Jamestown and Scotland Wharf across the James River, is one of the free ferries operated by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Improved transportation in Virginia
Improved transportation in Virginia

Virginia has five main airports

Reagan Washington National in Northern Virginia and Washington Dulles International both of which handle over twenty million passengers per year, Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, Richmond International in the southeast, and Norfolk International in Hampton Roads. Several more airports provide minimal commercial passenger service, and the state’s aviation needs are met by sixty-six public airports. The principal seaports of the Virginia Port Authority are those in Hampton Roads, which transported 60,014,070 short tons (54,443,850 t) of total cargo in 2019, the ninth largest of any US port. A NASA-owned rocket launch center, and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, a commercial spaceport, Wallops Flight Facility, are both located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Space tourism is also available through Vienna-based Space Adventures.

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