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2017 SOLAR ECLIPSE Transportation Fact Sheet for State and Local Departments of Transportation

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To see what events are planned in your state/region, please go to "A comprehensive list of events and festivals celebrating the NATIONAL ECLIPSE on August 21, 2017"

What: 2017 Solar Eclipse

Why a rare planned special event for which State and local Departments of Transportation (DOT) should prepare? Think of it as

  • A planned special event for which there has been no recent precedent in the United States.
  • A planned special event that is a feat of nature and not man-made.
  • A planned special event with many different events across the country.
  • An act of nature that is not a disaster.

When: Monday, August 21, 2017

Where: Refer to Figure 1 map.

Who: Approximately 200 million people (a little less than 2⁄3 the nation's population) live within a day's drive of the path of this total eclipse.

Why the Fact Sheet: To make you aware of the 2017 eclipse; to provide the link for events and festivals in your state to celebrate the event, and if appropriate, to provide information should your state need to develop transportation plans.

States in Chronological Order under the Solar Eclipse Path


Map shows the path of the 2017 total solar eclipse across the United States. The Greatest Duration (GD) and Greatest Eclipse (GE) markers show the points of greatest duration and greatest eclipse, respectively.

Map shows the path of the 2017 total solar eclipse across the United States. The path of the Moon's umbral shadow begins in northern Pacific and crosses the USA from west to east through parts of the following states: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina.
Figure 1. Map. Total solar eclipse path on August 21, 2017.
Source: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

State and Local Departments of Transportation Planning for the 2017 Solar Eclipse

Has your State or local DOT:

Undertaken advanced planning as it is likely to increased local travel demand from people jockeying to get to the line of maximum totality. (Refer to Figure 1 map.) For more information, go to FHWA's Planned Special Events documents –

Developed partnerships with WAZE (or other user-based app)? Real-time information is likely to be valuable as most of the path is through rural areas where any congestion and closures might be unexpected.

Considered this event in your construction and maintenance planning? The distraction that Solar Eclipse may mean it's not a good day to schedule work zones and detours.

Created an events schedule? The duration of the event will occur between about 16:00 Universal Time (UT) (on the west coast) and 20:00 UT (on the east coast). The duration at any given location will be about 3 hours from the start of the partial eclipse (the point at which the moon first begins to obscure the sun) to the end (where it leaves the sun completely).

  • Note: As it pertains to transportation planning, travelers should be at their observation location a minimum of a couple hours before totality. The role of State and local DOTs may include instituting roadblocks or other measures to keep people from making illegal turns as they drive around looking for "the perfect spot" as eclipse totality nears.

Incorporated traveler behavior into your plans? In addition to individual travelers, the eclipse is likely to draw numerous groups including schools, enthusiast communities, and other entities with varying capabilities for advance planning and organization.

  • Arrivals will be somewhat paced; departures will be more compressed as there is no reason to remain after the period of totality has passed.

Prepared for the future? We suggest the States who experience the 2017 Solar Eclipse to share their knowledge with those public agencies that will be under the path of continental United States solar eclipse that occurs on April 8, 2024. To learn more about the 2017 eclipse:

Map shows the path of the 2017 and 2024 eclipses intersect in Carbondale, Illinois.
Source: Southern Illinois University

The path of the 2017 and 2024 eclipses intersect in Carbondale, Illinois. Southern Illinois University held a June 2016 workshop on the 2017 eclipse and has a very complete web site devoted to the event –

U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration


August 2016

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