Getting Around New Orleans
Whether by car, bike, bus, or plane, Greater New Orleans offers plenty of affordable and accessible options for getting to, from, and around the region.
For those accustomed to the aggravation of ten-lane freeways and hours spent on the road, Greater New Orleans is a dream come true. Thanks to low commute times, fast-moving highways, and various public transportation options, you’ll spend less time getting places and more time being there.
New Orleans is also home to one of the fastest-growing airports in the country, with a brand-new terminal designed by world-famous architect Cesar Peli. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, air travel to and from New Orleans has never been easier.
Travel by Car
New Orleans sits along I-10, which runs from California to Florida and is the main thoroughfare used to enter the city from Metairie and Kenner. Those looking to bypass downtown traffic use I-610 for a convenient detour.
Commuters have multiple options for crossing Lake Pontchartrain, the 630-square-mile lake north of Orleans and Jefferson Parishes and south of St. Tammany Parish. The Causeway, which connects Metairie to Mandeville, spans an impressive 23.83 miles. Commuters from the Northshore’s eastern communities, including Slidell, enter the city via the I-10 Twin Span Bridge, which crosses the narrow mouth of the Lake.
Residents of the West Bank (south of New Orleans) use one of four bridges to cross the Mississippi River, including the Crescent City Connection.
An added benefit for those who commute by car, Louisiana gas prices are among the lowest in the nation. Paired with low traffic in a compact city, residents spend significantly less money at the gas pump and time in the car.
Travel by Bike
With its flat streets, New Orleans is an ideal city for biking. It’s no surprise, then, that bicycling is an important element of the city’s transportation network. According to the American Community Survey, New Orleans has the 10th highest percentage of people who cycle to work each day. New Orleans has also been named a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.
Regionally, there are more than 300 miles of bike paths, trails, and dedicated lanes. The bikeway network in Orleans Parish alone currently boasts more than 100 miles of on- and off-street bikeways, with even more planned or in development. Riders can also take advantage of the Blue Bikes bike share program.
Travel by Air
New Orleans is home to the 5th-fastest growing airport in the nation, with a brand-new terminal designed by world-famous architect Cesar Peli. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) in Kenner – just 14 miles from downtown New Orleans – is the largest airport in Louisiana and currently hosts 16 airlines and serves 56 nonstop domestic destinations and eight nonstop international destinations across 156 average daily departures.
Lakefront Airport (NEW), used primarily by businesses and private pilots, is located just four miles from New Orleans’s Central Business District. NEW is a popular spot for training and recreational flying, and Southern Airways Express operates select flights from NEW to airports throughout the Gulf South.
Baton Rouge Airport (BTR) is another convenient option for residents of regional parishes, offering direct flights throughout the region. The airport is located 87 miles from the City of New Orleans.
Travel by Public Transit
Public transportation in the City of New Orleans is anchored by the iconic New Orleans Streetcar, a light rail option that has enjoyed a recent expansion. Five streetcar lines provide convenient access through the city. The streetcar lines are managed by the New Orleans Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), which also operates bus service. A one-way fare via either bus or streetcar costs just $1.25, while a 31-day unlimited pass costs $55.
The RTA works closely with Jefferson Transit (JeT) to provide services between Orleans and Jefferson Parishes, including shared routes, dual-access rider passes, and a consolidated customer service program, Ride Line. JeT brings thousands of daily commuters into downtown New Orleans and serves the most heavily suburbanized areas of the city.
A handful of other parishes in the region offer public transportation services, including SBURT in St. Bernard Parish, STAR in St. Tammany Parish, Tangipahoa Parish Public Transit, and the River Parish Transit Authority.