Whether by air, rail, highway or waterway, getting around in central Illinois has never been easier. Nearly half of the U.S. population lives within a day’s drive of Peoria, while local commutes are short—most destinations are just minutes away!
With its central location in the Midwest, Greater Peoria offers easy access to the interstate highway system, with quick connections to Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis and beyond. Conveniently positioned on the Illinois River, Peoria and the surrounding region lie at the heart of the nation’s inland waterway system, with routes stretching from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.
The Greater Peoria Mass Transit District (CityLink) operates 20 bus routes throughout the region, while Peoria Charter Coach provides daily service to Chicago and unique day trips around the Midwest. In 2015, the company launched Peoria Charter Travel, offering full-service accommodations to destinations around the world.
Burlington Trailways provides intercity passenger bus service in the Midwest and beyond, while passenger rail is available at nearby Amtrak stops in Lincoln, Bloomington-Normal and Galesburg. The region is also served by 10 common carrier railroads, including four Class 1 carriers.
Greater Peoria has also become much more bicycle-friendly in recent years, with miles of trails around the region—and more plans for the future. Leading the way is Bike Peoria, an advocacy group that works to encourage bike-friendly features in local projects; hosts regular meetups, rides and workshops; and runs a co-op space for low-cost bike repair and other community resources.
CONNECTIONS TO THE WORLD
With daily nonstop flights to four of the five most connected airports in the country, the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport (PIA) has all the amenities of a metropolitan airport, but without the congestion and hassle. Nearly 700,000 people fly through PIA every year, taking advantage of daily nonstop flights to connect to the rest of the world.
“Central Illinois knows that we’re big enough to get you everywhere you need to be, but small enough to care you get there,” says Director of Airports Gene Olson. “Between our free parking and shuttles, our great airline partners and staff and our connections, I believe we strike that perfect balance of convenience combined with connectivity.”
PIA offers travel to 11 nonstop destinations via four airlines: American, Delta, United and Allegiant. With daily flights to five hub airports—Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth and Minneapolis—Peoria is better connected than most downstate airports. PIA set a new passenger record in 2018—with 672,594 passengers traveling through the airport—and has continued to set monthly records throughout 2019.
PIA offers both TSA PreCheck and its Premier Club private lounge, a rare amenity among small airports. Access to the lounge and secure parking just steps from the main terminal are available for an annual subscription; otherwise, parking at PIA is free.
Further setting PIA apart is its full-service U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, which handles about 200 international corporate, charter and general aviation flights each year. With additional federal staffing, PIA could also offer international commercial flights.
UPS carriers land at PIA daily, shipping millions of pounds of cargo each year, while the 182nd Airlift Wing of the Air National Guard and the Army Aviation Support Facility #3 of the Illinois Army National Guard both call PIA home.
Also owned and operated by the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Peoria, Mt. Hawley Airport caters to corporate pilots, with its prime location near many area businesses. Recreational pilots also benefit from Mt. Hawley, which offers a courtesy vehicle for their use, a flight school and hangars for rent.
Air charter services are offered by Aviation Specialists and Byerly Aviation, while private service is available at airports in Tazewell, Marshall, Fulton and Logan counties. The Central Illinois Regional Airport in nearby Bloomington/Normal is another reliable option, offering weekly service to seven nonstop destinations. PP