A beautiful new way to assess Chicagoland’s transportation network - Metropolitan Planning Council

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A beautiful new way to assess Chicagoland’s transportation network

CMAP

Explore the region's transportation network with Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's new interactive maps.

Ever wanted to know just how reliant the Chicagoland economy is on its transportation network? The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, our region’s metropolitan planning organization, has developed a new interactive data and mapping website designed to answer your questions, pulling web surfers in to explore the area’s roads, public transportation and freight system. It’s a beautiful new interface that immerses people in the issues through exploration, well worth at least five minutes of your time.

The website is designed as a story, helping people to understand how the transportation system works, its foibles and its successes, by allowing users to learn about different topics and see how they interact.

For example, the maps show that average speeds on the Stevenson Expressway decline from 34 mph in the early morning to just 30 mph in the a.m. peak or 29 mph at evening rush hour. The number of structurally deficient bridges in the region has increased to 302 as of 2013. But the condition of our roadways is improving. The share of non-Interstate roads rated “Acceptable” or better on a civil engineering metric in DuPage and Cook Counties has expanded from 68 and 26 percent in 2008 to 72 and 47 percent in 2013.

Motorists and freight trains are frequently delayed by grade crossings, where roads and trains intersect at the surface level. One of the site’s maps shows that 1,468 rail-road crossings in the region delay almost 400,000 drivers daily. Fortunately, many of those intersections are planned to be improved through the CREATE program.

In terms of transit, the site offers a unique map for understanding where 1,000,000 people board the region’s rail network every weekday. But all those passengers are encountering increasingly frequent delays because a large share of the transit system’s infrastructure—from facilities to vehicles—have failed to reach a state of good repair.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s interactive maps are a call to action. Our region is dependent on our transportation system, which is aging and, in many places, beyond its planned capacity. The Metropolitan Planning Council is dedicated to developing support for increased funding for transportation investment in our region, and these new graphics clearly demonstrate why that funding is so vital.

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