Orlando, Florida

Orlando: lakes and toll roads.

According to TOPPHARMACYSCHOOLS, Orlando is a city in the US state of Florida. The city is located in Central Florida and has a population of 309,000, with a larger conurbation with 2,692,000 inhabitants (2021). It is the 22nd largest metropolitan city in the United States.



Orlando is located in Central Florida, 75 miles northeast of Tampa, 325 miles northwest of Miami, and 200 miles south of Jacksonville. Orlando is Florida’s only major inland city and is approximately 70 kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean.


Orlando is located in a low-lying area with many lakes and forests. The center of Orlando is approximately 30 meters above sea level and the differences in elevation in the region are minimal. More than 10% of Orange County consists of water, mostly small lakes. Larger lakes in the region include Lake Apopka, Lake Monroe, Lake Jesup, and Lake Tohopekaliga.

Orlando is located in a subtropical climate, the average maximum temperature is above 20 °C all year round, between May and October above 30 °C. The region has quite a lot of precipitation, about 50% more than in the Netherlands. Especially in summer there is a lot of precipitation, mainly due to thunderstorms. Because Orlando is located slightly inland, the impact of hurricanes is less than in other Florida cities. Most hurricanes have weakened before reaching Orlando.


Orlando is mainly known for Disney World, which is why Orlando has the most hotel rooms in the United States after Las Vegas. Orlando is not oriented to specific industry, most industrial areas are located in the south of the city. Most industry is in the tech sector and aviation. In the south of Orlando is the Orange County Convention Center, one of the largest convention centers in the country. 70 kilometers east of Orlando is Cape Canaveral, the most important space center of the United States. The Orlando region is important for its supply industry.

Urban construction

Orlando is one of the least integrated urban areas in the United States. This is partly due to the geography, with hundreds of large and small lakes. In addition, most residential areas have been built as small developments, without connecting to existing neighborhoods and infrastructure. This makes the region very messy. The Orlando agglomeration has no really big cities, even the center city Orlando is not very big, the agglomeration mainly consists of small suburbs. The urban area has 10 times as many inhabitants as Orlando itself. Large parts of Florida are quite densely populated, so that there is no clear boundary with the countryside, especially to the west.

The core of the built-up area is located in Orange County. The northern part of the conurbation is located in Seminole County, the southern part in Osceola County. To the west is Lake County. The suburb of Deltona is considered part of the conurbation of Daytona Beach, but is actually more in the Orlando influence area.

Population growth

Orlando is located in Orange County. Sanford is in Seminole County and Kissimee is in Osceola County.

Year orange Seminole Osceola Lake total
1950 115,000 27,000 11,000 36,000 189,000
1960 264,000 55,000 19,000 57,000 395,000
1970 344,000 84,000 25,000 69,000 522,000
1980 471,000 180,000 49,000 105,000 805,000
1990 677,000 288,000 108,000 152,000 1,225,000
2000 896,000 365,000 172,000 211,000 1,644,000
2010 1,146,000 423,000 269,000 297,000 2,135,000
2020 1,430,000 471,000 391,000 386,000 2,678,000
2021 1,423,000 471,000 403,000 396,000 2,692,000

Road network



Orlando’s highway network is quite unique because all highways except Interstate 4 are toll roads. The most important is Florida’s Turnpike, which runs diagonally through the south of the conurbation. In addition, a system of tolled State Routes in the 400 series complements the road network. Most toll roads have 2×2 lanes. The largest work locations are in the center of Orlando and a large business park in the south of the metropolitan area, near the airport. This is where most of the highways are. Because the city is growing rapidly, many highways are relatively recent, before the 1980s there were only 2 highways in the agglomeration. There is no ring road around Orlando, although SR-417 and SR-429 do have two perimeter roads east and west of the metropolitan area will allow through traffic to bypass the busy Orlando route, particularly north-south from Tampa toward Daytona Beach and Jacksonville. SR-528 connects Orlando to Cape Canaveral to the east. In addition, SR-408 forms an east-west connection through the center of the city. Jeff Fuqua Boulevard connects through the airport.

List of expressways

name length first opening last opening max AADT 2016
Interstate 4 103 km 1960 1963 208,000
Florida’s Turnpike 45 km 1963 1964 128,000
East-West Expressway 36 km 1973 1990 137,000
John Land Apopka Expressway 11 km 2009 2009 38,000
Central Florida Greenway 87 km 1988 2002 120,000
Western Beltway 70 km 2000 2022 74,000
State Road 451 3 km 2000 2000 13,000
State Road 453 4 km 2018 2018
Bee Line Expressway 24 km 1967 1973 88,000


In 1950 Orlando was an insignificant city with 50,000 inhabitants by American standards. Florida itself was not yet a densely populated state. The growth at that time was mainly along the coast and Orlando, as a city located inland, was less attractive to migrants from other parts of the country. From the 1960s onwards, the urban area started to grow strongly, by 3 to 4 percent per year. Orange County grew from 115,000 residents in 1950 to 1 million in 2010. The first highways built in Orlando were Interstate 4 and Florida’s Turnpike. Interstate 4 opened in the early 1960s, as did the first section of Florida’s Turnpike in 1963. A year later, the Orlando toll road was completed, and I-4 was completed in the 1960s.

However, Florida’s Turnpike set the tone for the development of the metropolitan highway network, namely toll roads. No metropolitan area in the United States has as high a percentage of all highway tolls as Orlando. The second toll road to open was State Route 528, the first section of which opened in 1967. In 1973, State Route 408, the east-west toll road through Orlando, opened. With the growth of the suburban area, existing highways soon became obsolete, requiring bypasses, which were constructed between 1988 and 2004 on State Route 417 on the east and south sides of Orlando, and State Route 429. between 2000 and 2006 on the west side of Orlando and in 2018 on the northwest side of the city.

The Orlando region’s highway network, like the urban area layout, was cluttered and poorly integrated. The many lakes in the agglomeration contribute to the inefficient use of space, resulting in high traffic intensities on the underlying road network. This is partly because not everyone wants to pay tolls. Few new highways are planned for now, the only concrete plan is to extend State Route 429 to I-4 at Sanford, completing the western bypass. In recent years, many highways have been widened and modernized. Interstate 4 will be equipped with express lanes between 2015 and 2022.


Orlando is the conurbation with the most toll roads in the United States. The I-4 is the only highway that is toll-free, although express lanes are being built. All other highways are toll roads. The toll roads have been under the control of the Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) since June 20, 2014.


Due to the limited number of toll-free highways, there is quite a lot of congestion on the secondary road network and Interstate 4. The I-4 is an important through route, and also an important recreational route since World Disney is located here. Long traffic jams are an exception on the toll roads, although they are getting busier. Orlando’s secondary road network does not consist of a grid pattern, and the number of major through roads is limited. Due to the many lakes in the agglomeration, the population density is quite low, and the growth mainly takes place on the edges of the agglomeration, which ensures that people have large commuting distances. In addition, the public transport system consists of buses. Proposals have been made for a light rail, but due to a lack of public interest, this has been put on the back burner.

Orlando, Florida