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The Chicago region’s current hub-and-spoke transit system leaves nearly half a million Cook County residents stranded in transit deserts.

Chicagoland ranks second-worst for congestion, second best for transit

The Chicago area and northwest Indiana is the second-worst area in the U.S. for congestion, according to a Texas Transportation Institute study and reported in the Chicago Tribune article, “Chicago traffic delays: A tiny break in the traffic logjam.”

Chicagoland’s ranking hurts more than our pride – congestion costs us $4.2 billion a year and wastes more than 129 million gallons of excess fuel a year.

Transit, on the other hand, saves us time and money:

“The expansive mass-transit network in the Chicago region contributes to about $1.1 billion worth of delay savings annually, ranking No. 2 in savings behind the New York City region, the study found. Put another way, it means public transit reduces delays by almost 49 million hours annually in the Chicago region.”

But we can’t just sit back in our bus seats. The study recommends investing in transit now to prepare for when the economy improves and congestion will likely increase:

“With congestion expected to come roaring back as the economy improves, the fallout will be the worst in regions of the country that have failed to invest in mass transit and roadway improvements, the study concluded.”

Among the study’s recommendations are transit improvements and transit-oriented development, where town centers and biking and walking facilities connect to transit.