Chicago Region Loses Billions Each Year Thanks to Traffic Congestion

A new report from the Metropolitan Planning Council pegs the annual cost of congestion to the Chicago region at $7.3 billion.
August 14, 2008, 7am PDT | Tim Halbur
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Streetsblog reports on a new analysis of traffic impacts on Chicago and its surrounding counties. The data may boost a region-wide effort to curb congestion and provide more transportation choices.

"You know a city is getting serious about congestion mitigation when a new report comes out measuring how much gridlock costs the region."

"In New York, it was the 2006 release of Growth or Gridlock, which pegged the annual price of traffic at $13 billion, that set off a public debate about congestion pricing that continues to this day. In London, the business group London First issued a similar report spurring Mayor Ken Livingstone to adopt a congestion charge. Now Chicago's Metropolitan Planning Council has released 'Moving at the Speed of Congestion' [PDF], which estimates that excess traffic costs the region $7.3 billion per year.

"Chicago is already in the process of implementing performance parking and launching its first BRT routes (using federal funds that New York would have received if Albany had approved congestion pricing). The new report indicates that local policy makers will be urged to go further, perhaps in the direction of congestion pricing, though not necessarily a London-style cordon.

"'The report shows that if we do look at pricing it has to be with a regional focus, not just in the city,' says Mandy Burrell of the MPC. 'There needs to be a menu of solutions that work collectively across the region.'"

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Published on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 in Streetsblog
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