Transportation in San Diego

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Transportation in San Diego consists of a variety of air, road, sea, and public transportation options.

Public transportation[edit]

San Diego is served by the San Diego Trolley, bus (operated by the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System), COASTER, and Amtrak. The trolley primarily serves downtown and surrounding urban communities, Mission Valley, east county, the coastal south bay, and the international border. A planned Mid-Coast line will operate from Old Town to University City along the Interstate 5 Freeway. There are also plans for a Silver Line to expand trolley service downtown.[citation needed]

The Amtrak and COASTER trains currently run along the coastline and connect San Diego with Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Ventura via Metrolink. There are two Amtrak stations in San Diego, in Old Town and Downtown.

The bus is available along almost all major routes; however, a large number of bus stops are concentrated in central San Diego. Typical wait times vary from 15 to 60 minutes, depending on the location and route [1]. Trolleys arrive at each station every 7 to 30 minutes (depending on time of day and which trolley line is used).[citation needed] Ferries are also available every half hour crossing San Diego Bay to Coronado.

Public Transportation Statistics[edit]

The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in San Diego, CA, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 70 min. 23% of public transit riders, ride for more than 2 hours every day. The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 16 min, while 29.% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 11.2 km, while 30% travel for over 12 km in a single direction.[1]


The dry and mild climate of San Diego makes cycling a convenient and pleasant year-round option. The city has some segregated cycle facilities, particularly in newer developments, however the majority of road facilities specifically for bicycles are painted on regular roadways. The city's hilly, canyoned terrain and long average trip distances—brought about by strict low-density zoning laws—somewhat restrict cycling for utilitarian purposes. In 2014 of .9% of commuters traveled by bicycle, below the average 1% for large U.S. cities. Also in 2014, San Diego experienced 6.8 bicyclist fatalities per 10,000 cyclist commuters, the average for all large cities was 4.7.[2]

A bicycle sharing system called Decobike was instituted in 2015.[3]


San Diego has two major international airports entirely or extending into its city limits:

San Diego International Airport, also known as Lindbergh Field, is the primary commercial airport serving San Diego. It is the busiest single-runway airport in the United States, and is the third busiest single-runway airport in the world, only behind London Gatwick and Mumbai.[4] It serves over 24 million passengers every year, and is located on San Diego Bay three miles (4.8 km) from downtown. There are scheduled flights to the rest of the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, United Kingdom, Germany, and Switzerland. It serves as a focus city for Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines. Voters rejected a proposal to move the airport to Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in November 2006.[5]

Since December 9, 2015, the Cross Border Xpress terminal in Otay Mesa has given direct access to Tijuana International Airport, with passengers walking across the U.S.–Mexico border on a footbridge to catch their flight on the Mexican side. It is the only airport in the world with terminals located on the territory of two countries.

Other airports include Brown Field Municipal Airport (Brown Field) and Montgomery Field.


The Port of San Diego manages the maritime operations of San Diego harbor. Cruise ships arrive and depart from San Diego's cruise ship terminal on B Street Pier. Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America have home port cruise ships in San Diego during the winter season. A second cruise terminal on Broadway Pier opened in 2010.

San Diego is home to General Dynamics' National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), the largest shipyard on the West Coast of the United States.[6] It is capable of building and repairing large ocean-going vessels. The yard constructs commercial cargo ships and auxiliary vessels for the U.S. Navy and Military Sealift Command, which it has served since 1960.


Cabrillo Freeway leading into Downtown San Diego

The streets and highways of San Diego reflect the auto-oriented development of the city as well as its "urban sprawl" historic growth pattern. Major freeways were built and repeatedly expanded to serve the needs of commuters[7] coming into the city from the suburban regions of North County, South Bay, and East County, as well as the Tijuana metropolitan area. The importance of tourism to the city also stimulated the development of roads, since 70% of tourists visiting San Diego arrive by car.[8]

Major highways[edit]


San Diego is the terminus of three primary interstate highways. The region is also served by one three-digit auxiliary interstate.

I-5 (CA).svg Interstate 5
San Diego Freeway
Interstate 5 begins at the U.S.-Mexico border and heads north through downtown and the coastal portion of the city, continuing through North County to Los Angeles.
I-8 (CA).svg Interstate 8
Ocean Beach Freeway
Kumeyaay Highway
Interstate 8 has its western terminus at the intersection with Sunset Cliffs Boulevard in Ocean Beach, and heads east through Mission Valley and San Diego's eastern suburbs before heading through East County to the Imperial Valley and Arizona.
I-15 (CA).svg Interstate 15
Escondido Freeway
Interstate 15 begins at I-8 in Mission Valley. It heads northeast through the city's inland suburbs before continuing through the Inland Empire to Las Vegas.
I-805 (CA).svg Interstate 805
Jacob Dekema Freeway
Interstate 805 is a bypass of Interstate 5 that begins just north of the Mexican border in San Ysidro and rejoins I-5 near Del Mar, at an intersection known as "The Merge".

California State Routes[edit]

State highways in San Diego include the following:

California 15.svg State Route 15
Escondido Freeway
SR 15 is a continuation of I-15, running from the I-8/I-15 interchange south to I-5 in Southeast San Diego near the 32nd Street Naval Station.
California 52.svg State Route 52
San Clemente Canyon Freeway
Mount Soledad Freeway
SR 52 connects La Jolla with East County through Santee and SR 125.
California 54.svg State Route 54
South Bay Freeway
Jamacha Boulevard
SR 54 begins at I-5 in National City, then travels northeast to SR 125 near Spring Valley. SR 54 then continues northeast on Jamacha Road to El Cajon.
California 56.svg State Route 56
Ted Williams Freeway
SR 56 connects I-5 with I-15 through Carmel Valley and Rancho Peñasquitos.
California 67.svg State Route 67
San Vicente Freeway
SR 67 runs north away from I-8 and El Cajon towards Lakeside, where it becomes a smaller road and continues north towards Ramona.
California 75.svg State Route 75
San Diego-Coronado Bridge
Silver Strand Boulevard
Palm Avenue
SR 75 spans San Diego Bay as the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, then heads south along the Silver Strand from Coronado to South San Diego, where it becomes Palm Avenue
California 94.svg State Route 94
Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway
Campo Road
SR 94 connects downtown with I-805, SR 15, and East County.
California 125.svg State Route 125
South Bay Expressway
SR 125 connects East County cities from SR 905 near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry north to Santee. The segment of SR 125 from SR 905 to SR 54 is a toll road, the South Bay Expressway.
California 163.svg State Route 163
Cabrillo Freeway
Dean E. Beattie Memorial Highway
SR 163 connects downtown with the northeast part of the city, intersects I-805 and merges with I-15 at Miramar. The stretch of SR 163 that passes through Balboa Park is San Diego's oldest freeway, and has been called one of America's most beautiful parkways.[9]
California 905.svg State Route 905
Otay Mesa Freeway
SR 905 connects I-5 and I-805 to the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.


Major streets[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "San Diego Public Transportation Statistics". Global Public Transit Index by Moovit. Retrieved June 19, 2017. CC-BY icon.svg Material was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Peterson, Mike (2015-08-07). "How San Diego's new bike sharing works". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  4. ^ Downey, Dave (September 4, 2017). "FAA chief says region right to consider bases". North County Times. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  5. ^ Craver, Joe W. (November 19, 2006). "A clear rejection on Miramar, so..." San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved April 22, 2009.
  6. ^ "Nassco Seeks to Parlay Power Plant Into Major Ship Contract". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  7. ^ Journal of San Diego History, vol. 41, no. 3, Summer 1995
  8. ^ San Diego Union-Tribune, May 28, 2004
  9. ^ Marshall, David. San Diego's Balboa Park. Arcadia Publishing. 2007.

External links[edit]