Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

According to jibin123, Tucson (pronounced: too-son) is the second largest city in the US state of Arizona. Tucson has 543,000 inhabitants and an agglomeration of 1,052,000 inhabitants (2021).


Tucson is located in southern Arizona, 180 kilometers southeast of Phoenix and 100 kilometers north of the border with Mexico. The city is located 750 meters above sea level in the Sonoran Desert, in a mountainous environment. Tucson is home to the University of Arizona, as well as Davis–Monthan Air Force Base, where hundreds of planes are parked. Tucson has a small center that is disproportionate to the size of the city. The city itself is built in a grid and consists almost entirely of detached houses. Typical are the suburbs on the north side of Tucson, such as Catalina Foothills, Tanque Verder and Casas Adobes, which have a very low density and are completely absorbed in the desert landscape, with large houses on large lots.

Tucson did not become a significant city until late, in 1950 the city had only 45,000 inhabitants. The population quadrupled in the 1950s to 213,000 inhabitants and doubled again by 1990 to 405,000 inhabitants. The growth did decrease after 2000, but the growth of the suburbs is quite strong. Pima County grew between 2000 and 2010 from 844,000 to 980,000 inhabitants.

Road network

Tuscon has only two highways, both Interstate Highways, namely Interstate 10 in Arizona, which runs from Phoenix toward El Paso, and Interstate 19, which runs south from Tucson to the Mexican border at Nogales. The highways converge south of downtown at the city’s only interchange. Elsewhere in the city there are some grade separations, particularly at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, but these are not full-fledged expressways. Interstate 10 has 2×3 to 2×4 lanes through Tucson and has frontage roads. The I-19 has 2×2 lanes. Tucson has no beltway or suburban freeways. It is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States with only two freeways.


Tucson’s first freeway was downtown I-10 that opened in 1962. The route of the I-10 through Tucson was already completed in 1967. In 1965, the portion of I-19 that runs through the urban area today opened and has not changed since. So Tucson’s highway network hasn’t actually expanded since 1967, but the urban area’s population has since quadrupled from just over 250,000 in 1965 to 1 million in 2013. The interchange between I-10 and I-19 was originally a trumpet node. In the period 2002-2005, the node was converted to its current configuration. In 2009, I-10 through Tucson was widened to 2×4 lanes.


One possible new freeway is State Route 410 that should connect I-19 and I-10 southeast of Tucson. This has been called the largest project in the region since the 1960s.

Traffic intensities

The highest intensity in Tucson is on Interstate 10 near downtown with 184,000 vehicles per day. However, the portion of I-10 that processes more than 100,000 vehicles per day is shorter than 20 kilometers. The busiest point of I-19 is south of the interchange with I-10 with 89,000 vehicles per day.

Tucson, Arizona