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All Aboard: Getting Around Greater Fort Lauderdale is Easy

Transportation is a crucial sector for the Greater Fort Lauderdale economy, and it's easy for residents to get around town.

By Kevin Litwin on October 14, 2022

water taxi going down river

Residents and visitors can easily get to and from the Greater Fort Lauderdale region by land, sea or air.

Interstate 95 passes through Greater Fort Lauderdale, plus the region is served by I-75, I-595 and U.S. Highways 1, 27 and 441. Also within the region is Florida’s Turnpike and the Sawgrass Expressway.

Another transportation advantage is access to general aviation facilities in Pompano Beach and North Perry. Also serving aviation needs is Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, which is ranked among the top 10 general aviation airports in the U.S., thanks to its 163,000+ takeoffs and landings each year.

Photo of a train that is part of the Brightline. The Brightline is a transportation solution for the Greater Fort Lauderdale region of Florida.

Returning to Normal

For commercial travelers, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) served over 28 million passengers in 2021, making it one of the fastest-recovering U.S. airports as domestic passenger traffic approached pre-pandemic levels. In addition, before the pandemic, FLL generated $37.5 billion in economic activity annually and nearly 18,000 direct, local jobs. Those numbers are almost back to normal heading into 2023.

According to Airports Council International, FLL in 2021 ranked 15th in total passenger traffic and ninth in international traffic among U.S. airports, serving more than 28 million passengers.

The airport added two carriers in 2021, with Flair Airlines now flying to Ottawa and Toronto in Canada, and Avelo Airlines providing nonstop flights to New Haven, Connecticut.

FLL officials say they expect 2022 final passenger numbers to be close to 90% of the 2019 levels prior to COVID. Curbside valet parking service also resumed in 2022 after being suspended for two years.

Also, a new international service launched in June 2022 with Norse Atlantic Airways flying to Norway.

FLL will break ground in late 2022 on a fifth terminal building that will add five gates. The $306 million project is managed by JetBlue on behalf of Broward County and has an anticipated completion date of 2025.

Water & Rail

On the water, Fort Lauderdale is nicknamed the “Yachting Capital of the World,” with 100 marinas that house more than 50,000 yachts.

Meanwhile, about 3.5 million passengers annually board cruise ships at the Fort Lauderdale seaport of Port Everglades, which ranks third among cruise ports worldwide.

Another of the region’s advantages is passenger rail service, with three separate stations for service via Amtrak, Tri-Rail and Brightline.

“Brightline trains currently operate out of Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and downtown Miami, and new stations will open in Aventura and Boca Raton in South Florida by the end of 2022,” says Ali Soule, Brightline vice president of community relations. “We will also begin service to and from Orlando in early 2023. Brightline will continue to add more connectivity to serve our business, commuter and tourism customers.”

Soule adds that Brightline ridership is back to pre-COVID numbers.

“For the trip from Fort Lauderdale to Miami, Brightline will get you there in less than 30 minutes,” she says. “That is so much better than sitting in car traffic on Interstate 95 for who knows how long wondering if you’re going to be on time.”

If you’d like to learn more about the Greater Fort Lauderdale Region, check out the latest edition of Livability: Greater Fort Lauderdale

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