Arizona Sun Corridor

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Arizona Sun Corridor
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Counter Clock-wise from Top: Downtown Phoenix skyline, Downtown Tucson, Mesa City Hall
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Sierra Vista
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Casa Grande
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Coordinates: 33°N112°W / 33°N 112°W / 33; -112 Coordinates: 33°N112°W / 33°N 112°W / 33; -112
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The Arizona Sun Corridor, shortened Sun Corridor, is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of Arizona. The Sun Corridor is comparable to Indiana in both size and population. It is one of the fastest growing conurbations in the country and is speculated to double its population by 2040. [2] The largest metropolitan areas are the Phoenix metropolitan area - Valley of the Sun - and the Tucson metropolitan area. The regions' populace is nestled in the valley of a desert environment. [2] Similar to Southern California, the urban area extends into Mexico, reaching the communities of Nogales and Agua Prieta. [2]

Megaregions of the United States are clustered networks of American cities, which are currently estimated to contain a total population exceeding 237 million.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Arizona state of the United States of America

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.


Its population is composed of a total of five metropolitan areas: Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott, Sierra Vista-Douglas [3] and Nogales. Out of these, two are metropolitan areas with over 1,000,000 residents: the Phoenix metropolitan area with 4,192,887 residents and the Tucson metropolitan area with 1,020,200 residents. The Arizona Sun Corridor is made up of all of Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties, along with parts of Yavapai, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties. [4] It is home to over 86 percent of Arizona's population.

Phoenix metropolitan area Metropolitan area in Arizona, United States

The Phoenix Metropolitan Area – often referred to as the Valley of the Sun, the Salt River Valley, or Metro Phoenix – is a metropolitan area, centered on the city of Phoenix, that includes much of the central part of the U.S. State of Arizona. The United States Office of Management and Budget designates the area as the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), defining it as Maricopa and Pinal counties. As of the Census Bureau's 2017 population estimates, Metro Phoenix had 4,737,270 residents, making it the 11th largest Metropolitan Area in the nation by population. The gross domestic product of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area was $242 billion in 2017, 16th largest amongst metro areas in the United States.

Tucson, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Tucson is a city and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States, and home to the University of Arizona. The 2010 United States Census put the population at 520,116, while the 2015 estimated population of the entire Tucson metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was 980,263. The Tucson MSA forms part of the larger Tucson-Nogales combined statistical area (CSA), with a total population of 1,010,025 as of the 2010 Census. Tucson is the second-largest populated city in Arizona behind Phoenix, both of which anchor the Arizona Sun Corridor. The city is 108 miles (174 km) southeast of Phoenix and 60 mi (97 km) north of the U.S.–Mexico border. Tucson is the 33rd largest city and the 58th largest metroupolitan area in the United States (2014).

Prescott, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Prescott is a city in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the city is 39,843. The city is the county seat of Yavapai County. In 1864 Prescott was designated as the capital of the Arizona Territory, replacing the temporary capital at Fort Whipple. The Territorial Capital was moved to Tucson in 1867. Prescott again became the Territorial Capital in 1877, until Phoenix became the capital in 1889.

Most of the Arizona Sun Corridor is in the Sonoran Desert; to the south of the region is the border between the United States and Mexico, and to the east is the Arizona transition zone and the Mountains of Arizona. The Southern California Megaregion is to west and is the nearest other Megaregion to the Arizona Sun Corridor.

Sonoran Desert North American desert

The Sonoran Desert is a North American desert which covers large parts of the Southwestern United States in Arizona and California and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. It is the hottest desert in Mexico. It has an area of 260,000 square kilometers (100,000 sq mi). The western portion of the United States–Mexico border passes through the Sonoran Desert.

Arizona transition zone

The Arizona transition zone is a diagonal northwest-by-southeast region across central Arizona. The region is a transition from the higher elevation Colorado Plateau to the northeast in Northeast Arizona and the Basin and Range region of southwest and south regions of lower elevation deserts.


The Arizona Sun Corridor lies in the American Southwest. MapofEmergingUSMegaregions.png
The Arizona Sun Corridor lies in the American Southwest.
Map of the Arizona Sun Corridor, showing each county in the Sun Corridor, as well as their cities, towns, and CPDs. The largest community in each county is highlighted in red. Arizona Sun Corridor with largest communities in each county highlighted.png
Map of the Arizona Sun Corridor, showing each county in the Sun Corridor, as well as their cities, towns, and CPDs. The largest community in each county is highlighted in red.

The Arizona Sun Corridor lies in the American Southwest, about halfway between the Southern California and Front Range Megaregions. It is shown on the map in deep blue.

Southwestern United States Geographical region of the USA

The Southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest, is the informal name for a region of the western United States. Definitions of the region's boundaries vary a great deal and have never been standardized, though many boundaries have been proposed. For example, one definition includes the stretch from the Mojave Desert in California to Carlsbad, New Mexico, and from the Mexico–United States border to the southern areas of Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. The largest metropolitan areas are centered around Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson, Albuquerque, and El Paso. Those five metropolitan areas have an estimated total population of more than 9.6 million as of 2017, with nearly 60 percent of them living in the two Arizona cities—Phoenix and Tucson.

Southern California Place in California, United States

Southern California is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises California's southernmost counties, and is the second most populous urban agglomeration in the United States. The region is traditionally described as eight counties, based on demographics and economic ties: Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. The more extensive 10-county definition, which includes Kern and San Luis Obispo counties, is also used and is based on historical political divisions.

Front Range Urban Corridor Megaregion of the US in United States ----

The Front Range Urban Corridor is an oblong region of urban population located along the eastern face of the Southern Rocky Mountains, encompassing 18 counties in the US states of Colorado and Wyoming. The corridor derives its name from the Front Range, the mountain range that defines the west central boundary of the corridor. The region comprises the northern portion of the Southern Rocky Mountain Front geographic area, which in turn comprises the southern portion of the Rocky Mountain Front geographic area of Canada and the United States. The Front Range Urban Corridor had an estimated population of 4,833,260 on July 1, 2016, an increase of +11.53% since the 2010 United States Census.

Below is a table listing all communities of the Arizona Sun Corridor with a population of at least 10,000 residents.

NameType [5] County Population
(2010) [6]
Area (2010) [7] Population density (2010) [7]
sq mikm2/sq mi/km2
Anthem CPDMaricopa21,700
Apache Junction CityPinal35,84035.0090.61,024.2395.4
Arizona City CPDPinal10,475
Avondale CityMaricopa76,23845.65118.21,672.0645.6
Buckeye CityMaricopa50,876375.39972.3135.652.4
Camp Verde TownYavapai10,87343.15111.8252.097.3
Casa Grande CityPinal48,571109.67284.0442.9171.0
Casas Adobes CPDPima66,795
Catalina Foothills CPDPima50,796
Chandler CityMaricopa236,12364.52167.13,665.81,415.4
Chino Valley TownYavapai10,81763.43164.3170.765.9
Coolidge CityPinal11,82556.58146.5209.380.8
Cottonwood CityYavapai11,26516.4142.5686.5265.1
Douglas CityCochise17,3789.9825.81,741.0672.2
Drexel Heights CPDPima27,749
El Mirage CityMaricopa31,79710.0926.13,170.71,224.2
Eloy CityPinal16,631111.57289.0149.157.6
Florence TownPinal25,53652.49135.9486.9188.0
Flowing Wells CPDPima16,419
Fountain Hills TownMaricopa22,48920.4252.91,106.2427.1
Gilbert TownMaricopa208,45368.15176.53,067.21,184.3
Glendale CityMaricopa226,72160.13155.73,780.21,459.5
Gold Canyon CPDPinal10,159
Goodyear CityMaricopa65,275191.52496.0340.9131.6
Green Valley CPDPima21,391
Marana TownPima34,961122.20316.5287.8111.1
Maricopa CityPinal43,48247.57123.2916.0353.7
Mesa CityMaricopa439,041137.06355.03,217.51,242.3
New River CPDMaricopa14,952
Nogales CitySanta Cruz20,83720.8454.01,001.0386.5
Oro Valley TownPima41,01135.6492.31,154.3445.7
Paradise Valley TownMaricopa12,82015.4640.0830.9320.8
Peoria CityMaricopa154,065177.97460.9883.4341.1
Phoenix CityMaricopa1,445,632517.951,341.52,797.81,080.2
Prescott CityYavapai39,84341.58107.7963.8372.1
Prescott Valley TownYavapai38,82238.65100.11,004.4387.8
Queen Creek TownMaricopa26,36128.0772.7940.1363.0
Rio Rico CPDSanta Cruz18,962
San Tan Valley CPDPinal81,321
Sahuarita TownPima25,25931.0480.4813.8314.2
Scottsdale CityMaricopa217,385184.40477.61,182.0456.4
Sedona CityYavapai10,03119.1849.7524.1202.4
Sierra Vista CityCochise43,888152.54395.1288.2111.3
Sierra Vista Southeast CPDCochise14,797
Sun City CPDMaricopa37,499
Sun City West CPDMaricopa24,535
Sun Lakes CPDMaricopa13,975
Surprise CityMaricopa117,517105.87274.21,111.3429.1
Tanque Verde CPDPima16,901
Tempe CityMaricopa161,71940.19104.14,050.11,563.8
Tucson CityPima520,116227.03588.02,294.2885.8
Tucson Estates CPDPima12,192
Vail CPDPima10,208
Verde Village CPDYavapai11,605



Intercity in the region is provided by the I-8, I-10, I-17, and I-19 freeways, as well as US 60, SR 87, SR 90, and SR 77, among other surface highways.

In the U.S. state of Arizona, Interstate 10 (I‑10), the major east–west Interstate Highway in the United States Sun Belt, runs east from California, enters Arizona near the town of Ehrenberg and continues through Phoenix and Tucson and exits at the border with New Mexico near San Simon. The highway also runs through the cities of Casa Grande, Eloy, and Marana. Segments of the highway are referred to as either the Papago Freeway, Inner Loop, or Maricopa Freeway within the Phoenix area, and the Pearl Harbor Memorial Highway outside metro Phoenix.

Interstate 17 (I-17) is an Interstate Highway located entirely within the U.S. state of Arizona. I-17's southern terminus lies within Phoenix, at Interstate 10, and its northern terminus is in Flagstaff, at Interstate 40. The majority of I-17 is known as the Arizona Veterans Highway. In the Phoenix metropolitan area, it is mostly known as the Black Canyon Freeway, however the southern 4.16 miles (6.69 km) is part of the Maricopa Freeway. The portion of the highway south of Cordes Lakes was built along the alignment of SR 69, while the northern part was built along old SR 79's alignment. I-17 is one of the most scenic Interstate Highways as it gains more than a mile in altitude between Phoenix at 1,117 feet (340 m) and Flagstaff at 7,000 feet (2,100 m). The highway features several scenic view exits along its route that overlook the many mountains and valleys found in northern Arizona.

Interstate 19 (I-19) is a north–south Interstate Highway located entirely within the U.S. state of Arizona. I-19 travels from Nogales, roughly 300 feet (91 m) from the Mexican border, to Tucson, at I-10. The highway also travels through the cities of Rio Rico, Green Valley, and Sahuarita.

Phoenix area arterials are set up in a grid pattern, which helps simplify transportation within the region. Tucson's streets have a similar system.


Amtrak's Sunset Limited operates three times a week, connecting Maricopa, Arizona and Tucson. There is no other intercity rail in the region; however a high-speed rail corridor is also being studied between Phoenix and Tucson. [8]

Amtrak Intercity rail operator in the United States

The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak, is a passenger railroad service that provides medium- and long-distance intercity service in the contiguous United States and to nine Canadian cities.

<i>Sunset Limited</i> Los Angeles – New Orleans passenger train

The Sunset Limited is an Amtrak passenger train that for most of its history has run between New Orleans and Los Angeles, over the nation's second transcontinental route. However, up until Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it ran between Orlando and Los Angeles. It is the oldest named train in the United States; it was first introduced in 1894 by the Southern Pacific Railroad, and was handed to Amtrak upon its formation in 1971.

Maricopa, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Maricopa is a city in the Gila River Valley in Arizona. With an estimated 51,977 residents as of 2018, Maricopa is the second most populous incorporated city in Pinal County and eighteenth most populous in Arizona. Maricopa forms part of the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Intracity rail systems include the Valley Metro Rail, which operates within the Phoenix metropolitan area, connecting Uptown and Downtown Phoenix with Tempe and Mesa, and Tucson's Sun Link streetcar system, which links Downtown Tucson and the Mercado district to the University of Arizona.


Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Tucson International Airport provide air transportation to the region, from both within the country and from a few foreign countries, among other smaller airports, which focus on regional air traffic from nearby. Recently, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, previously being a military base, has also become an option for low-cost carriers to fly into the Phoenix area as well.

US Airways, now owned by Fort Worth company American Airlines, was once headquartered and based in Tempe, which is in the Phoenix Valley. However, American Airlines maintains a strong presence in the state due to the history with US Airways.

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Maricopa County, Arizona County in the United States

Maricopa County is a county in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Arizona. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated its population was 4,307,033 as of 2017, making it the state's most populous county, and the fourth-most populous in the United States. It is more populous than 23 states. The county seat is Phoenix, the state capital and fifth-most populous city in the United States.

Scottsdale, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

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Southern Rocky Mountain Front Megaregion of the U.S. in the United States

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State Route 24, formerly State Route 802, also known as Gateway Freeway and Williams Gateway Freeway, is a freeway in the extreme southeastern region of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. The roadway is planned as a controlled-access highway to move traffic from the southeastern suburbs of Phoenix to planned ones in northwestern Pinal County. It is the lowest-numbered state route in Arizona. The first mile from Loop 202 to Ellsworth Road opened on May 4, 2014. Planning for future sections has been halted until studies for the Pinal North-South Freeway are completed to confirm how the two freeways will intersect.

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The East Valley is a multi-city region within the Phoenix metropolitan area of Arizona.

Timeline of Arizona

The following is a timeline of the history of the area which today comprises the U.S. state of Arizona. Situated in the desert southwest, for millennia the area was home to a series of Pre-Columbian peoples. By 1 AD, the dominant groups in the area were the Hohokam, the Mogollon, and the Ancestral Puebloans. The Hohokam dominated the center of the area which is now Arizona, the Mogollon the southeast, and the Puebloans the north and northeast. As these cultures disappeared between 1000–1400 AD, other Indian groups settled in Arizona. These tribes included the Navajo, Apache, Southern Paiute, Hopi, Yavapai, Akimel O'odham, and the Tohono O'odham.

Over the years, there have been multiple proposals to bring commuter rail service to the Phoenix, Arizona, area.

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