Miami, Florida

By | December 4, 2022

According to jibin123, Miami is a city in the southeastern US state of Florida. Miami is a relatively small city with a population of 440,000, but it is the center of a large metropolitan region called South Florida, which extends over three counties with a total of 6,092,000 inhabitants (2021). Miami is the southernmost major city on the American mainland and also the only one with a tropical climate. However, it is not the largest city in Florida, which is Jacksonville.



Miami represents the South Florida region, but is actually in southeastern Florida, southwest Florida is usually not included in this definition of South Florida. Miami is the southernmost major American city (apart from Honolulu) and is located 325 kilometers southeast of Orlando, 150 kilometers from the Bahamas and 360 kilometers northeast of Havana. The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean, although it is usually considered part of the Caribbean.


Miami is located in a low-lying coastal region, sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the swamps of the Everglades to the west. Off the coast are a few islands, which are also called keys. The most famous is Key Biscayne. The Miami region has virtually no height differences and has little afforestation. Almost all trees are artificially planted.

Miami is the only American city on the mainland that has a tropical climate with hot and humid summers and short warm winters. The average maximum temperature is 25°C in winter and 32°C in summer. The tropical climate moderates the heat somewhat, but the high humidity often makes it feel very stuffy. Miami has a lot of precipitation, on average almost 1,600 mm per year, twice as much as the Netherlands. Most precipitation falls in the form of thunderstorms that develop in the late afternoon. The region is very vulnerable to hurricanes.


Miami is an important trade and financial center, especially between the United States and the Caribbean. Miami has an important port and a large airport, real estate is an important pillar of the regional economy. Miami is often considered one of the richest cities in the United States, but the gap between rich and poor is wide. Wealth is mainly seen in the many condos (apartment buildings) along the shoreline, while further inland there are deprived neighborhoods. After 2000, there was a rapid development in the construction of skyscrapers and tower blocks, followed by a sharp decline in housing construction. Miami was relatively hard hit by the US housing crisis. However, Miami has recovered strongly from the crisis since 2012, like the rest of Florida.

Urban construction

The metropolitan area is very vast, running mainly north-south along the east coast of Florida. As a rule, the conurbation extends no more than 20 to 30 kilometers inland, but measures 180 kilometers from north to south. The conurbation is wedged between the wilderness areas of the Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean, with opportunities for expansion only in the southwest and north. The conurbation is generally prosperous, but has poorer neighborhoods with Spanish-speaking immigrants from the Caribbean. The agglomeration has a particularly good air quality, and smog is rare due to the continuous sea breeze.

Remarkably, the central city of Miami itself is relatively small compared to the rest of the metropolitan area. There are suburbs of Phoenix that are bigger than Miami. In 2010, only 11.9% of residents were white and 25% of residents spoke English as their first language. Only 1 in 13 inhabitants of the urban area lives in Miami itself, the rest lives in the suburbs.

Population growth

The Julia Tuttle Causeway.

The metropolitan area is divided into three counties, from south to north Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County.

Year Miami-Dade Broward Palm Beach total
1920 43,000 5,000 19,000 67,000
1930 143,000 20,000 52,000 215,000
1940 268,000 40,000 80,000 388,000
1950 495,000 84,000 115,000 694,000
1960 935,000 334,000 228,000 1,497,000
1970 1,268,000 620,000 349,000 2,237,000
1980 1,626,000 1,018,000 577,000 3,221,000
1990 1,937,000 1,255,000 864,000 4,056,000
2000 2,253,000 1,623,000 1,131,000 5,007,000
2010 2,496,000 1,748,000 1,320,000 5.564.000
2020 2,692,000 1,942,000 1,492,000 6.126,000
2021 2,663,000 1,931,000 1,498,000 6,092,000

The Miami metropolitan area has experienced turbulent growth. In 1920 there was in fact no city yet, but between 1950 and 2000 the urban area increased by about 1 million inhabitants every decade. The region is favored by the elderly to move to after retirement, as well as strong immigration from the Caribbean. Growth fell by half after the year 2000, partly because of the limited space available to develop new suburbs. The first contraction of the agglomeration took place in 2020-2021.

Road network

Interstate 95 heading south.

The agglomeration’s road network is quite extensive, but due to the north-south orientation of the agglomeration, there is quite a lot of long-distance commuter traffic. From the furthest suburb to downtown Miami is more than 120 kilometers. The highway network consists of some toll-free highways such as Interstate 95, Interstate 595 and the Palmetto Expressway. That network is complemented by a larger network of toll roads, such as Florida’s Turnpike and several state roads in the 800 series. Miami has two bypasses west of the city, the Palmetto Expressway and the Homestead Extension of Florida’s Turnpike. In some cases, the toll roads also the absolute boundary of the urban area and the Everglades.

Due to the many toll roads and the cut-through traffic that this causes, the underlying road network is quite well developed, with many four- and six-lane urban arterials. It is striking that no US Highway is part of the highway network. North of Fort Lauderdale, there are only two north-south highways in the urban area serving 1,350,000 residents. There are also no east-west highways in this area, because the distances are short in those directions.

Overview freeways

Road name length first opening last opening max AADT 2019
Alligator Alley 42 km 1980 1986 196,000
Interstate 95 140 km 1961 1977 334,000
Julia Tuttle Causeway 8 km 1961 1961 146,000
Dolphin Expressway 2 km 1971 1971 144,000
Port Everglades Expressway 21 km 1988 1991 218,000
Florida’s Turnpike 116 km 1957 1957 138,000
Airport Expressway 16 km 1961 1990 137,000
Homestead Extension 77 km 1973 1974 201,000
Palmetto Expressway 48 km 1961 1961 312,000
Dolphin Expressway 23 km 1969 2007 214,000
Sawgrass Expressway 37 km 1986 1988 120,500
Don Shula Expressway 10 km 1973 1975 117,500
Snapper Creek Expressway 4 km 1980 1980 44,500
Gratigny Expressway 14 km 1992 1992 70,000


12 and more lanes

10 lanes

8 lanes

6 lanes

4 lanes

Construction of Miami’s highway network began in the form of toll roads, the first highway to open was a 180-mile section of Florida’s Turnpike up to Fort Pierce. In June 1961, the Palmetto Expressway opened to traffic, Miami’s first bypass. On December 23, 1961, the Airport Expressway (SR-112) and I-395 opened as an east-west axis through Miami. After that, the focus was on the construction of toll-free Interstate 95 as a north-south axis through the metropolitan area. The section through the city of Miami was completed in 1964, and in 1969 the highway reached Fort Lauderdale. The highway to West Palm Beach was not completed until 1977. At the time, I-95 passed through undeveloped areas, although the coast was already dotted with hotels, but the suburban areas only grew after that. In 1969 and 1974, the Dolphin Expressway (SR-836) opened to traffic in two phases. Florida’s Turnpike (SR-821) Homestead Extension opened in 1973 and 1974. which gave the conurbation a toll road as a bypass. The Don Shula Expressway (SR-874) was opened in 1973 and 1975. In 1980, the short Snapper Creek Expressway (SR-878) opened in the south of the metropolitan area.

Originally, Interstate 75 was provided further south in the Miami metropolitan area, it was planned to cross the Everglades via US 41. In the 1980s, the route was upgraded to highway standards through Alligator Alley, which was completed in 1992. A little earlier, in 1986, the Miami suburban section opened. Shortly thereafter, Interstate 595 was also constructed as an east-west axis to Fort Lauderdale. In 1986 and 1988, the Sawgrass Expressway (SR-869) was opened to the northern suburbs around Fort Lauderdale, then through undeveloped land. In 1992, the Gratigny Expressway (SR-924) in northwest Miami opened to traffic, the newest highway in the Miami metropolitan area.

In recent years, a large number of motorways have been modified due to the rapid population growth and the traffic generated by it. In the period 2010-2025, almost all highways in the Miami area were widened. Almost all new capacity is subject to tolls, in addition to the widening of the toll roads, express lanes are also available with toll collection on the few toll-free motorways. Express lanes have been built on I-75, I-95 and SR-826. On the SR-821 (Homestead Extension) ‘thru lanes’ have been constructed, these are lanes for through traffic but where the same toll rate applies as the regular lanes. The highways have become quite large-scale thanks to the widening, on various highways there are 5 or 6 lanes in each direction. The longest express lanes are on I-95 from Miami to the north. I-75 also has relatively long express lanes. I-595 has been given an express shuttle lane.

A costly project was the Port of Miami Tunnel at the end of I-395 in Downtown Miami. This was constructed between 2010 and 2014 to make the Port of Miami more accessible, so that freight traffic no longer has to pass through the center.


No new motorways are planned in the agglomeration. This is also not very useful, because most corridors have already been developed as motorways. Because the conurbation is elongated, it makes little sense to build a third or fourth north-south highway within a few kilometres. There were plans to extend the Airport Expressway (SR-112) to the Dolphin Expressway or Homestead Extension, but funding failed each time.

Toll roads

There are a large number of toll roads in the Miami area. These are managed by various public agencies. The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority operates 5 toll roads close to Miami. Florida’s Turnpike operates that toll road and the Homestead Extension. In addition, express lanes on I-75, I-95, and I-595 are operated by the Florida Department of Transportation.

Traffic intensities

The intensities are highest on I-95, where the busiest point handles over 300,000 vehicles per day. Large sections of I-95 handle more than 200,000 vehicles and the entire route through the metropolitan area has intensities of more than 100,000 vehicles for 160 kilometers at a time. Additionally, the Palmetto Expressway (SR-826) is very busy peaking at just over 280,000 vehicles in the western suburbs. Also, I-75 through the northwestern suburbs handles more than 100,000 vehicles, but the intensity drops very quickly through Alligator Alley with less than 20,000 vehicles. Florida’s Turnpike barely counts 100,000 vehicles at its start in Miami Gardens, but drops to 60,000 to 80,000 vehicles further north to West Palm Beach. Further north than that, the intensities drop to about 30,000 vehicles. I-595 is also a high-intensity highway operating at 180,000 vehicles per day. The Airport Expressway (SR-112) handles just under 100,000 vehicles because it is too short a route to collect a lot of traffic. The Dolphin Expressway (SR-836) is a bit longer and busier, with up to 200,000 vehicles per day.


Due to the limited number of toll-free highways, there is a lot of traffic there, especially on Interstate 95, because that is the only toll-free highway into downtown. Along the long coast it can also be busy on the underlying road network due to the many tourists and day trippers. There are usually no major problems on the toll roads, but the underlying road network is quite busy. In Miami there is little alternative in public transport, because in Miami it is not possible to dig deeper than 20 meters due to groundwater, no metro is possible here. Only 12% of Miami residents use public transit on a daily basis, lower in the suburbs. There is a small elevated light rail network, as well as a commuter line to distant West Palm Beach.

Miami, Florida