Commuting to Washington DC is challenging and the region’s traffic problems are legendary. Residents of DC, Maryland and Virginia travel to work using a wide range of transportation options including driving, mass transit, carpooling, bicycling, and walking. The following guide will help you learn about commuting alternatives for the Washington DC area.
DrivingDriving allows the most flexibility and gives you the freedom to travel on your own schedule.
- Traffic Alerts – Plan ahead and get traffic reports providing up-to-date traffic information. Find detours and ways to get around the heaviest routes.
- Carpools - By sharing the ride, carpoolers save money on fuel and car maintenance. Carpooling can also reduce time spent on the road, because carpools can use HOV lanes which usually move faster than the other lanes.
- Slug Lines - Slugging is an organized system where people commuting into the city stop to pickup other passengers. Both participants benefit, the passenger saves gas money and the driver saves time by using HOV lanes (only allowed when 3 or more occupants).
Metrorail and MetrobusThe Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is a government agency that provides public transportation within the Washington, DC metropolitan area. The Metrorail subway system includes five lines, 86 stations, and 106.3 miles of track. Metrobus operates 1,500 buses. Both transit systems connect to bus lines in the Maryland and Northern Virginia suburbs.
Commuter RailThere are two major commuter rail systems serving the Washington, DC area, Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) and Virginia Railway Express (VRE). Both systems operate Monday through Friday only and have cross honor agreements with Amtrak to offer reduced fares for commuters.
- MARC Train - The 187-mile commuter rail system, provides service on three lines, between Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD; Washington, DC and Perryville, MD; and Washington, DC and Martinsburg, WV.
- Virginia Railway Express - VRE connects northern Virginia and Washington, DC with commuter rail service on two lines, one from Fredericksburg and one from Manassas. VRE stations in the Washington metropolitan area are: Crystal City (Arlington, VA), L'Enfant Plaza (Washington DC), and Union Station (Washington DC).