Chicago Named The 6th Best Public Transit System In The U.S.

By Kate Shepherd in News on Dec 4, 2015 6:15PM

If you ride the CTA on a regular basis, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Chicago's public transit system trails New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., in a new national ranking.

The CTA comes in at sixth in the "2016 Transit Score" rankings from Redfin. The score was calculated with an algorithm weighing the usefulness of public transit (bus, subway, light rail, ferry, etc.) routes near a given location. Usefulness was determined by the distance to the nearest stop on the route, the frequency of the route, and type of route. Twice as much weight was given to heavy/light rail than to bus services.

Redfin's Walk Score service describes a location with a Transit Score of between 70 and 89 as having excellent transportation options and a spot scoring between 90 and 100 as a "rider's paradise." Anything between 50 and 69 just has "good" transit options. New York City came in first with a score of 84.1. We can see that, but we were surprised to see Boston, D.C. and Philly ahead of us, too.

1. New York, NY (84.1)
2. San Francisco, CA (80.4)
3. Boston, MA (74.4)
4. Washington, D.C. (70.6)
5. Philadelphia, PA (66.8)
6. Chicago, IL (64.7)
7. Miami, FL (59.4)
8. Baltimore, MD (57.8)
9. Minneapolis, MN (57.5)
10. Seattle, WA (57.0)

While Chicago's rating isn't great, the Loop is officially a "rider's paradise" with a score of 99.1. The only neighborhoods ranked higher are Boston's Bay Village (100) and Philadelphia's Logan Square (100).

But many other Chicago neighborhoods on the South and West Sides aren't paradises for CTA riders. A quick search through Redfin shows a Hyde Park condo on South Shore Drive with a Transit Score of 62, an Austin house with a score of 60, an Auburn Gresham home on South Wood Street with a score of 61 and a Beverly house on South Hamilton Avenue with a lowly score of 51.

Chicago has always had a serious problem with transportation accessibility in neighborhoods just a few miles outside of downtown.

"When we get beyond 3 to 4 miles out of downtown in some neighborhoods, we only have a few public transit options, like a bus running every 10-15 minutes, which really isn't very good," Joe Schwieterman, director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University, told RedEye.

Despite Chicago's transit issues, access to public transit is becoming increasingly important for Chicagoans and people who live in other cities-large or small.

"Urban dwellers today want convenience," Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson said in a statement. "Particularly in congested urban areas, a car may be the slowest way to get around the city. Homes near bus and subway lines tend to have higher values that hold up even during housing downturns."