Everyone knows traffic in Chicagoland is bad and getting
worse, but most people don't realize how much it costs them – and the region –
every year. The Metropolitan Planning Council's (MPC) latest report, Moving at the Speed of Congestion , breaks down the cost
of traffic jams in metropolitan Chicago to show the effect on people, businesses
and counties. The results are staggering:
- Traffic costs the region $7.3 billion a year – nearly
twice previous estimates – in lost time, fuel and environmental damages.
- The costs of congestion are threatening Chicagoland's
place in the global economy. The freight industry alone loses $1 billion each
year – enough to fund the local share of the CREATE program to modernize and improve the region's
- For every hour a driver sits in
rush-hour traffic in the Chicago area, he or she kisses goodbye $14.76. That's $1,579 a
year – enough to cover several months' worth of groceries, fill up the
average car's gas tank 25 times, or take a family of four to Disney World!
- As people struggle to afford rising gas prices, they may
be surprised to learn lost time costs them nearly 20 times more than wasted
Most importantly, the report shows traffic is not confined
to the city limits, but is a problem across the region. While traffic jams
happen most in Chicago, much of that traffic originates elsewhere. In most
cases, traffic is actually worse on local arterial roads throughout the region
than it is on expressways.
The report was released Tuesday, Aug. 5, at the Harold Washington Library
Center in Chicago. The Chicago Public Library co-hosted the event along with The
Chicago Reporter , which presented its own analysis showing the Chicago
region has more people who spend at least two hours a day in their daily commute
than it did in 1990. The Reporter also found that, while congestion is a problem
throughout the region, some groups bear a disproportionate share of the burden.
"If nothing is done to solve Chicagoland's traffic dilemma, by 2030 we'll be
squandering $11.3 billion a year due to traffic," said MarySue Barrett, MPC
president. "Excess congestion has infected the entire region's transportation
network, and everyone from Kane to Cook should support and invest in solutions."
To learn more about Chicagoland's traffic dilemma, read Moving at
the Speed of Congestion.
Read the media release for links to related content, core news facts,
and other information.