Location matters: Chicago commutes rank high

by Meg White

A recent story in Business Insider ranked Chicago as No. 7 on a list of the top 50 worst commutes in the country. The average trip to work for Chicagoans clocked in at 31.8 minutes, some 20 percent more than the lowest in the top 50 group (25.3 minutes for commuters in Deltona, Florida) and about 15 percent less than No. 1 on the list (37 minutes for commuters in greater New York).

Just over 30 minutes might not sound too bad, but it’s important to remember that’s just an average. In its ranking, Business Insider noted that a report from location and data analytics company INRIX ranked Chicago the third-most congested city in the country and the 23rd-most congested city in the world. According to their data, the average driver spent 138 hours stuck in traffic in 2018.

Meanwhile, Chicago has a Walkscore of 78, and is considered by the transportation ranking service as the sixth-most walkable large city in the U.S. Walkscore also notes that the city has good public transportation (with a score of 65) and is very bikeable (72).

While no one likes sitting in traffic, what to do about it is another question. Just last week, a group of activists in the transportation realm sent a letter to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot asking her to consider and eventually implement congestion pricing as a way to cut down on traffic. In her response, the mayor’s office released a statement that underlined Lightfoot’s commitment to an equitable, fiscally responsible, environmentally sustainable transportation system without expressing direct support for congestion pricing.

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