The city of Murfreesboro has a population of over 150,000 people with access to major roads like Interstate 24 and U.S. Route 41. For those planning a vacation or a move to Murfreesboro, it's helpful to know how to get around the city's roads by car or public transportation. Whether you're commuting for work or traveling to a local attraction, there are several key things to know about driving in Murfreesboro.
Get to Know Murfreesboro's Major Roads
The city of Nashville has an extensive road network, much of which leads into and out of Murfreesboro. Moreover, the state does an excellent job of keeping those roads in good condition. It estimates that only 8.6% of all major roads in the state are in bad shape, well below the national average of 26.4%. That's good news for those planning to buy a home here.
The state's interstates run throughout the city as well. That includes I-24, which runs from the Kentucky state line to Chattanooga, passing through Murfreesboro. I-840 also passes through the town. Several more significant state routes also provide access to the city, including Routes 41, 70 S, and 231. There are also Routes 1, 2, 10, 96, 99, and 268. All are easy to access from various areas of the city.
Because the city is so spread out, this network of roadways is critical to the area. Much of the city has a grid-like pattern of smaller streets that help to alleviate traffic on freeways. This network of roads also provides access to smaller neighborhoods within the big city. Because Murfreesboro and the surrounding area have been experiencing growth, drivers are encouraged to regularly check the city's roadwork resources.
What to Expect Driving at Different Times of Day in Murfreesboro
While getting around in Tennessee can usually be done with ease, the times when most people commute can be busy. Peak rush hour times in Murfreesboro are between 6–8 a.m., and traffic becomes more normalized by 8:30 a.m. The heaviest traffic tends to be around the city's center, along I-24. However, some people also drive to Nashville for work. That means traffic going the opposite way on I-24 can also be difficult during congested times.
For example, the commute from Murfreesboro into Nashville for work at 7 a.m. on a Monday may take as long as 1.5 hours. On a Saturday afternoon, that same commute is about 40 minutes.
Alternative routes, such as along I-41 and 41A, may offer some help, but these routes may still have some congestion to them as well.
Drive times also increase during the evening rush hour, which typically runs from 4:30–6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Traffic levels are more normalized on the weekend.
Parking in Murfreesboro
The historic and business districts in Murfreesboro tend to have the highest demand for street parking. There are a few public parking garages and lots available in these areas to accommodate the needs of residents, including an oversized parking garage on W. Vine Street and S. Church St. There is another parking garage on W. Lytle St. Two-hour parking is also available in this area, especially along W. Main Street and around the square. There are open parking lots near E. Sevier and N. Spring Streets that may or may not charge a fee depending on event parking.
Murfreesboro Public Transportation
Public transportation in Murfreesboro provides an option for those who want to skip driving a vehicle into the downtown area or for those looking to get around the region quickly. Public transportation here is used routinely by many people to beat the traffic during peak times.
Murfreesboro Transit is a bus system that runs through the city. The Gateway line runs Monday through Friday and goes to the Boys and Girls Club, Hope Clinic, Murfreesboro Medical Clinic, Westbrook Towers, St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital, and the St. Clair Senior Center.
The Highland route runs from Monday through Saturday to Middle Tennessee State University and Public Square. The Memorial route runs Monday through Friday from the VA Medical Center to the Murfreesboro Housing Authority, the Sports*Con recreation center, St. Clair Senior Center, the Post Office, and Westbrook Towers.
Several other lines are available, including the Old Fort line that runs to much of Murfreesboro's great shopping areas on Saturdays. The South Church line travels through Public Square and the City Hall area and runs during the week.
The city-run transit typically runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. It runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The bus may stop at any area along its route to pick up passengers unless it's a fixed-stop line.
Service fees include:
- Adults: $1
- Students ages 6 to 16 with ID: .50
- Senior citizens over 65: .50
- Individuals with disabilities: .50
- Children under the age of 5 with an adult: Free
- Transfers: Free
- Military veterans: Free
Rideshare options are available in Murfreesboro. Please note that costs differ based on pickup/dropoff location, time of the day, and other factors. Using the rideshare app to determine a quote for the route needed may be possible.
Several options are available, including Carmel, which offers everything from sedans to limo pickup services in the city. Curb is another local option, allowing riders to hail and pay for a traditional taxi through the app.
Lyft is a standard option for four to six people who need a ride. It tends to be a more affordable option when there's not a lot of competition for rides. Choose from a regular car to a luxury vehicle. Uber is also available in the city and was one of the first luxury services available (Lyft offers luxury services, too). Uber also provides a green version for those who want a 100% green and CO2-free car.
When choosing rideshare, remember that costs and availability depend on when drivers are available. As a large city, there is a significant network of options for getting around, but prices can be high during peak traffic.
Commute Times from Suburbs to Downtown
It is not uncommon for residents who live in Murfreesboro to commute into Nashville or surrounding areas for work, entertainment, or other reasons. The area has an extensive network of streets to provide plenty of options. Here's a look at some of the most common commute times.
The town of Smyrna is to the north of Murfreesboro, about 12 miles away. The easiest and most direct route most times of the day is along US-41, which takes about 21 minutes during routine traffic periods. An alternative option would be to take Old Nashville Highway and US-41 to get there. That extends the time by less than 5 minutes but can be faster during rush hour. Some drivers may wish to take I-24 and US-41 to get to Smyrna. This route is about 15 miles longer, but it may work well during rush hour or when there's an accident.
The community of Rockvale is home to numerous residents who work in Murfreesboro. Those traveling here will most likely take State Highway 99 approximately 12 miles southwest. During low traffic periods, that's about a 20-minute drive. However, this can become more congested during peak drive times, which may take as long as 30–35 minutes to complete. Route 96 can provide a detour around some of that traffic but may not cut much time off a regular commute into Rockvale.
The city of Franklin, located just to the west of Murfreesboro, is rather large and offers a wide range of amenities, including shopping, medical centers, and parks. The most likely route is along I-840 to TN-96. This route is about 33 miles and takes about 45 minutes in regular traffic. Taking I-840 down is an option, but that 38-mile route will take about 50 minutes. If there's significant traffic, it may be possible to take non-freeway streets, but the process is far more complex as there are few near-direct links.
The town of Woodbury is a bedroom community to Murfreesboro, as many people live here and commute into the city. It's about 19 miles to the west of town. Most people would take US-70S, a straight path to get there. That route takes about 25 minutes in regular traffic. It may increase somewhat during rush hour, but not by more than a few minutes most often. An alternative option is to take Halls Hill Pike and then Murfreesboro Road. This would take about 21 miles and about 35 minutes. That's an option for days when there's traffic or an accident along 70S.
The larger city of Brentwood is located northwest of Murfreesboro. Since Brentwood is en route to Nashville when traveling from Murfreesboro, traffic patterns can go haywire during rush hour. The most likely path to Brentwood is along I-24. It takes about 42 minutes to travel the 32 miles in good traffic. A secondary option is to use US-41 and 70S to get there, but at about 32 miles, it's likely to take nearly an hour to complete. That could be better for some, depending on where the starting and stopping points are.
Also northwest of Murfreesboro in the direction of Nashville is the city of La Vergne. It's a larger city and a popular location for schools, medical facilities, and shopping. I-24 is the fastest route to La Vergne, which takes about 24 minutes to go the 21 miles. US-41 to 70S is shorter at around 19 miles, but it usually takes longer due to lights and traffic most days. For those traveling this route, alternatives along 96 and 102 may be options for traffic accidents, but these routes tend to take twice as long to complete during high-traffic periods.
The small city of Forest Hills is located northwest of Murfreesboro, but getting there can be difficult. That's because it requires most people to drive to Nashville and then around the city to get to Forest Hills. There may be local roads that offer a better option during traffic periods. However, the most common route is along I-24. It's about 40 miles away. In no traffic, this takes at least 45 minutes. It can increase by as much as twice that during rush hour, especially in the mornings.
The route most likely taken from Murfreesboro for those visiting the town of Nolensville is I024 and Rocky Fork Road. This option requires nearly 23 miles but is the best option for the most direct traffic without as many lights. Taking I-24 the whole way is likely a good option depending on where the driver is headed in the city. An alternative is along TN-96 and US-31, a route that's about the same distance and takes about 45 minutes in light traffic.
Traveling to the small city of Belle Meade may be necessary for many reasons, including visiting the companies, schools, friends, or retail options in the area. The route most likely to take is along I024. It will take the driver into Nashville and around the city to Belle Meade. This route typically is about 41 miles and can be done in as little as 45 minutes. In rush hour, this time can double, especially in the mornings heading into the city.
For those who plan to travel into the city of Nashville, which is typical for many reasons, including work, school, and entertainment, the most direct route is I-24. It's about 37 miles to Nashville. On the weekend, that may take about 40 minutes to complete. However, this can be about 1 hour and 10 minutes or more during the weekday rush hour, depending on overall traffic and congestion. Some alternatives include taking 840 to Route 41 and heading into the city that way, but without a freeway, it can require more time due to lights.
Other Helpful Things to Know About Driving in Murfreesboro
Tennessee has some specific rules to know about driving. For example, texting while driving is prohibited, including reading text messages. It is allowable to use handheld phones to make calls in most areas, but this is not allowed in active school zones. Seat belts are required for all drivers and front-seat passengers. Drivers must also yield the right of way to all emergency vehicles by pulling off or stopping.
Take the Time to Learn Murfreesboro's Roads
As a big city, learning how to get around the Murfreesboro area may require a bit of time. Yet, the city's streets are typically in good condition, and traffic can be pretty predictable, making it possible to plan a trip and get there on time. For those thinking about purchasing a trendy Murfreesboro condo or new construction retreat, getting to know the traffic and the best routes available is an essential step in the process.
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