(Above) Photo by Sarah Unger/Maycreate
Options Abound in the Scenic City
Whether by rail, water, plane, car, or bicycle, Chattanooga has been a long-standing hub of transportation catering to residents and businesses that are always on the move.
With direct access to the Tennessee River, an expansive rail system, and three major interstates, Chattanooga is a natural home base for trucking, logistics, and delivery companies serving businesses across the United States.
Chattanooga welcomed its first rail line in 1850 with the arrival of the Western and Atlantic Railroad. In 1858, the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad arrived in Chattanooga, and the city transformed into a railroad hub. Since that time, rail transportation has continued to play a significant role in Chattanooga’s economy. Over a century later, two main players – CSX and Norfolk Southern – carry freight through Chattanooga daily and move it throughout the country.
Another deep-rooted method of transportation still used today is the Tennessee River. From the Tennessee River, barges can access the Missouri River, Ohio River, and Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. Approximately 28,000 barges travel the river each year carrying roughly 50 million tons of goods.
More modern modes of transportation have been made possible by the development of highways, and Chattanooga sits conveniently at the convergence of interstates 24, 59, and 75. With its prime location, several trucking companies have started in the Scenic City, among them Covenant Transport and U.S. Xpress. Of the 13 Chattanooga organizations named to Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing companies list in 2019, eight of them are in the logistics industry. Logistics companies such as UPS-owned Coyote Logistics and Kenco Group also have a notable presence, and FreightWaves is providing near real-time updates and information for the trucking and transportation freight markets. Amazon and FedEx operate fulfillment and distribution facilities in the area.
With over 3 million passengers annually and 20 routes, CARTA provides many options for residents and visitors to get around the city, including Care-a-van services for the disabled. With national notoriety for its innovation, CARTA has consulted with governments across the United States and even internationally on electric bus technology.
For those who prefer two wheels instead of four, Bike Chattanooga offers a city-wide network of bikes that can be rented from one of 42 stations located throughout the city. The availability of bicycles is accompanied by expansive bike lanes, making it a breeze to use this method both recreationally and as a way to get to and from work.
Keeping with eco-friendly initiatives is the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport, which offers nonstop flights to 10 cities across the nation. The airport has become the first 100% solar-powered airport in the United States and is continuing to gain attention. As of September, passenger boardings were up nearly 11% compared to the same period from the previous year, and for good reason. The airport supports a strong economy and vibrant tourism business while offering visitors numerous amenities.
Forward-thinking transportation doesn’t stop there. Every day, residents are doing their part by purchasing electric cars, and there are over 100 public charging stations within a nine-mile radius of the city. An additional green initiative includes GreenTrips, an online carpool matching program by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency.
Did You Know?
More than 50% of the public charging station ports in and around Chattanooga offer free charges for electric cars.