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Transportation in Detroit
 
 
 

With its proximity to Canada and its facilities, ports, major highways, rail connections and international airports, Detroit is an important transportation hub. The city has three international border crossings, the Ambassador Bridge, Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and Michigan Central Railway Tunnel, linking Detroit to Windsor, Ontario. The Ambassador Bridge is the single busiest border crossing in North America, carrying 27% of the total trade between the US and Canada.

Metro Detroit has an extensive freeway system administered by the Michigan Department of Transportation. The city is at the crossroads for three Interstate Highways. Detroit is connected via Interstate 75 and Interstate 96 to Kings Highway 401 and to major Southern Ontario cities such as London, Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area along Highway 401. The Blue Water Bridge near Sarnia, Ontario is another major commercial border crossing. I-75 (Walter P. Chrysler and Fisher Freeways) is the region's main north-south route, serving Flint, Pontiac, Troy and Detroit, before continuing south (as the Detroit-Toledo and Seaway Freeways) to serve many of the communities along the shore of Lake Erie. I-94 (Edsel Ford Freeway) runs east-west through Detroit and serves Ann Arbor to the west and Port Huron to the northeast. The stretch of the current I-94 freeway from Ypsilanti to Detroit was one of America's earlier limited-access highways. Henry Ford built it to link his factories at Willow Run and Dearborn during World War II. A portion was known as the Willow Run Expressway. I-96 runs northwest-southeast through Livingston, Oakland and Wayne Counties and (as the Jeffries Freeway) has its eastern terminus in downtown Detroit. I-275 runs north-south from I-75 in the south to the junction of I-96 and I-696 in the north, providing a bypass through the western suburbs of Detroit. I-375 is a short spur route in downtown Detroit, an extension of the Chrysler Freeway. I-696 (Walter P. Reuther Freeway) runs east-west from the junction of I-96 and I-275, providing a route through the northern suburbs of Detroit. Taken together, I-275 and I-696 form a semi-circle around Detroit. M-5 This freeway begins as the stub leftover from the Brighton-Farmington Expressway after Interstate 96 was rerouted to the Jeffries. From 1994 to 2002, it was extended north as the Haggerty Connector. M-8 is the Davison Freeway. Opened in 1944, this was the first modern depressed limited-access freeway in America. M-10: The John C. Lodge Freeway runs largely parallel to I-75 from Southfield to downtown. M-14 runs east-west from I-275 in Livonia to Ann Arbor. M-39: The Southfield Freeway runs north-south from Southfield to Allen Park from I-94. North of 10 Mile Road, the freeway ends and continues as Southfield Road into Birmingham. M-53 (Christopher Columbus Freeway from Sterling Heights to Washington), more commonly known as the Van Dyke Expressway or Van Dyke Freeway. Continues as Van Dyke Road or Van Dyke Avenue north to Port Austin and south through Warren to Gratiot Avenue in Detroit. M-59 (Veterans Memorial Freeway from Utica to Pontiac), continues east as Hall Road to Clinton Township and west as various surface roads to I-96 near Howell.

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), the area's principal airport, is located in nearby Romulus and is the primary hub for Northwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines. Bishop International Airport (FNT) in Flint, Michigan is the second busiest commercial airport in the region. Coleman A. Young International Airport (DET), previously called Detroit City Airport, is on Detroit's northeast side. Although Southwest Airlines once flew from the airport, the airport now maintains only charter service and general aviation. Willow Run Airport, in far-western Wayne County near Ypsilanti, is a general aviation and cargo airport.

Mass transit in the region is provided by bus services. Ridership on the region's mass transit systems increased by 8.4% in 2006. The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) provides service to the outer edges of the city. From there, the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) provides service to the suburbs. Cross border service between the downtown areas of Windsor and Detroit is provided by Transit Windsor via the Tunnel Bus. It is also possible for those who cross to Detroit on the tunnel bus to use a Transit Windsor transfer for transfers onto Detroit Smart buses, allowing for travel around Metro Detroit from a single fare.

An automated guideway transit system known as the People Mover, completed in 1987, provides daily service around a 2.9 mile (4.6 km) loop downtown. Amtrak provides service to Detroit, operating its Wolverine service between Chicago and Pontiac. Baggage cannot be checked at this location; however, up to two suitcases in addition to any "personal items" such as briefcases, purses, laptop bags, and infant equipment are allowed on board as carry-ons. The current passenger facility is north of downtown. The J.W. Westcott II, which delivers mail to freighters on the Detroit River, is the world's only floating post office.

From 1976 until June 21, 2003, Detroit operated a one mile narrow-gauge trolley along an "L-shaped" route from Grand Circus Park to the Renaissance Center along Washington Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue, with the trams coming from Lisbon, Portugal. The tram was originally just 3/4 miles long, but was extended 1/4 mile to the Renaissance Center in 1980. The tracks were removed in November 2003 following the extensive reconstruction of Washington Boulevard, and the carbarn (building that housed the trolleys) was demolished in 2004.


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