The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Chicago Commutes Are Worse Than National Average Thanks To CTA, Metra

By Jim Bochnowski in News on Jun 29, 2015 9:05PM

Photo Credit: Mark Sliozis

The average resident of the Chicago metropolitan area spends about 31 minutes per day commuting, according to a study by the Associated Press.

The study found that an average American commuter spends about 26 minutes getting to work every morning. The report says 71 percent of the population of the "Chicago-Naperville-Elgin" metro area ride to work alone, 8 percent use a carpool and 11.8 percent use public transportation. The remaining 9 percent listed under "other." Nationally, those numbers come out to 76 percent riding alone, 9.4 percent carpooling and 5.2 percent using public transportation.

The factor that's weighing down our numbers? The average Chicagoan using public transportation takes 49 minutes to get to work, whereas drivers spend 29 minutes in a car and carpoolers 31 minutes.

Even though a larger portion of the Chicagoland population uses public transportation than most, experts still see these numbers as unsustainable in the long run. A study published earlier this year by the Department of Transportation warned that, "If we don't change, in 2045, the transportation system that powered our rise as a nation will instead slow us down," according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Joe Schwieterman, the director of DePaul's Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development, told the Sun-Times that there were additional things that the city could do to encourage the use of public transportation, including raising tolls during rush hour and "getting in the game for express bus service in a big way."

A study that came out last September found that for a major city, Chicago's public transportation was lacking, especially in funding additional projects. Even though we've seen greater investment in the transportation system's future in recent months, from modernizing the red and purple lines to investing in express transit from downtown Chicago to the airport, there's still plenty of work to be done.