Chicago Ranked 3rd Most Congested City In U.S.

According to a new traffic study by INRIX, a private company that that analyzes traffic data and trends, has ranked Chicago the 3rd most congested U.S. city behind New York and Philadelphia. This is somewhat surprising news to those of us that have witness such light traffic around the city since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.

There’s more bad news.. The study found that the inbound Interstate 290/294 to Interstate 90/94 interchange in downtown Chicago is the number 1 ranked most congested corridor in the country. That should come as no surprise due to the history of this interchange and the construction in that are over the last few years.

Finally, Chicago was ranked the 7th most congested city in world.

This is troubling news, and locals have to wonder is whether there will be any improvement. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot previously made changes to the city budget to improve and increase bike lanes and improve the bus lanes travelling in and out of downtown. The purpose was to hopefully decrease the number of rideshare vehicles. Unfortunately, those changes have improved Chicago’s ranking as a traffic congested city. We can only hope those changes slowly improve.

The other change that I hope will improve congestion will the completion of construction at the I-90/94 and I-290 interchange. Construction has closed exit lanes and made the traffic much worse. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. I guess we will have to wait to see if that will bring improvements to the traffic congestion.

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INRIX, a global transportation analytics company released a new study this week regarding traffic congestion in the U.S. and globally. The study revealed, to no ones surprise, that Chicago ranked as the 3rd most congested city in the U.S. The study stated that Chicago drivers wasted 138 hours sitting in traffic last year, and the traffic back-ups cost $1,920 per driver in 2018.

One reason experts have noted for the surge in traffic congestion in Chicago is due to the robust downtown economy. Several companies have opened new offices downtown and in the West Loop, including McDonalds and Google.

The thing that puzzles me about this ranking and about the traffic in general in Chicago is that there are so many alternate options for a work commute. Chicago has some of the most efficient train and bus lines with the CTA, and the number of bicycle commuters continues to grow, especially the number of dedicated bike lanes throughout the city. Also, Metra provides train rides for tens of thousands of commuters into the city every day. One factor that I didn’t see mentioned in any of the articles written about this study is the amount of road construction that has been going on. I-290 has been under construction the last several years. Hopefully when that is completed, it will free up a lot of the congestion from all directions coming into downtown.

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Chicago Again Ranked In Top 10 In U.S. Traffic Congestion

I’ve written about traffic congestion in Chicago in the past and our city is perennially in the top 10 of most congested U.S. cities. This year’s ranking is no different as analytic company INRIX ranked Chicago the eighth most congested U.S. city. The study states that Chicago commuters waste about 60 hours a year sitting in traffic. On the bright side, Chicago has been ranked as high as third in recent years, so this is somewhat of an improvement. Los Angeles was ranked first in the U.S. and London was ranked at the top worldwide.

I mentioned a few weeks ago about increased traffic fatalities (specifically pedestrian) in 2015. Experts concluded that one of the causes could be attributed in the improved economy and lower gas prices. There are more people on the road driving to more jobs, which leads to more auto accidents. It is kind of a catch 22 for Chicagoans. We want a booming economy with low unemployment, but as a result we face more traffic congestion and potentially more traffic accidents and traffic fatalities. As I have said many times before, with this much traffic on the road, put your phones down and focus on what is in front of you while driving.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.