Chicagoland's Extreme Commute
In Illinois, McHenry County and Will County had average commutes long enough to rank them among the top 25 in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The national average for a one-way commute is 25.1 minutes. In McHenry, it is 34.4 minutes; and in Will it is 34.3 minutes. Demographers believe that the longer commuting times reflect that suburban job growth has not kept pace with population growth. Because of limited mass transit, most people drive as part of their "extreme commute," defined by the Census Bureau as 90 minutes or more one way. The number of extreme commuters in McHenry County grew from about 8,600 in 2002 to 10,700 in 2005. In Will County, the number of extreme commuters doubled to about 15,000.
Jason Osborn, the McHenry County's transportation planning and program coordinator, says that increased road congestion comes at a time when state funding for road projects is dwindling. He explains: "The [inner ring] suburbs grew at a time when the highway system was heavily funded, so they could expand."