Chicago dropped to number 2 for traffic congestion nationwide in a new survey from Texas A&M. An interesting note in the survey was this bit:
The large public transportation network in the Chicago region prevented
the problem from being even worse, the report noted. The region ranked
No. 2, behind New York-Newark, for delay savings attributed to bus and
rail service. Mass transit saved Chicago-area commuters 91 million hours
and more than $2 billion, the study said.
I should couple this with a report on fare hikes for the Metra, some 30%!
Even if the agency ends up raising monthly fees by about 30 percent, the
agency would still be below the average fares of other commuter
railroads in the country, Clifford said.
And I should point out that Metra ridership continues to increase.
After adjusting for calendar differences, system ridership increased
1.3% when compared to July 2010. Year-to-date ridership was 0.6% higher
than the same time period in 2010.
While there was a dip in 2010, it is still running near 40 year highs. We will see what fare hikes, service cuts, and other measures do to Metra ridership and Chicago area congestion.