With over 37 million people needing to get around at any one time transport California can be complex to say the least. Needless to say, that does mean that there is an option for everyone who needs to get anywhere at any time – be it by foot or on wheels, so here is our guide to transport in California for newcomers.
Options for Transport in California
- A vast network of freeways, expressways and highways serve the many, many cars in constant use – by far the preferred method of transport in California. With over 23,000,000 registered drivers in the state, congestion is a frequent and much-debated problem. However, one saving grace drivers might find is that almost all of California’s highways are non-toll roads which include several non-toll bridges in and around LA, Sacramento and San Diego.
- In addition, and as you might expect, there are a number of subway, light rail and commuter rail networks in regular operation. All Intercity rail travel is provided by Amtrak California. The San Francisco Bay area to Sacramento is connected by the Capitol Corridor, San Diego to San Luis Obispo is connected via the Pacific Surfliner and the San Joaquin connects the major cities of the Central Valley. There are then additional lines that connect California externally to Chicago, Seattle and New Orleans. In total, there are 10 commuter rail lines, 7 heavy rail lines, 21 light rail lines and 3 street car lines serving the state.
- Local buses run regularly in almost every Californian county. Several of the major bus lines run in conjunction with the rail systems in LA, San Diego, San Jose and Sacramento, making life for commuters slightly easier.
- In line with its focus on the environment, bicycle use is encouraged as much as possible throughout California. The California Department of Transport (Caltrans) categorises the cycling facilities around the state in three different ways:
- Class I is a bike path. These are completely segregated from all other traffic.
- Class II is a bike lane. These work in exactly the same way as they do here in the UK in that the lane will run alongside the city street, but keep cyclists and pedestrians separate.
- Class III is a bike route. This is described as a ‘regular surface street that is designated as being safe or attractive to cyclists’.
For more information on moving to California or anywhere else in the USA, check out our moving to the USA guide.
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