The Chainlink

Another reason to bike: Chicago commute one of nation's most unpredictable

"If you plan only for average traffic conditions on your trip in the Chicago area, you are going to be late at least half the time," said Bill Eisele, a senior research engineer at the Transportation Institute who co-authored the study.

The Chicago region ranked No. 7 among very large urban areas and 13th among 498 U.S. cities on a scale of the most unreliable highway travel times.

For the fullstory: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-unreliable-traffic-...

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The CTA is also unpredictable.   I know that if I ride door to door (with all of the time involved with locking and unlocking the Bicycle) its something under an hour (unless the weather is truly extreme...) .  If I drive it ranges from 20 minutes to an hour and a half (with the normal time being a little over an hour).    If I take the CTA it ranges from 40 minutes to two hours, with the norm being right about an hour.   If I walked, about 2.5 hours and that doesn't vary with the weather.  In very bad weather I normally walk and have for years.  (I used to walk from downtown to the North Side (Wrigleyville) on almost every day that I did not ride  a bicycle... thus always in the snow...)    The Car variance depends in part on the weather, but that's not the only factor.  Other factors such as Cub Game Traffic and Road Construction and Street closings enter into the equation.  The CTA?  Who knows.  

The Bicycle is the only "reliable" source of transportation in that the time is predictable.   The Car has the potential to be the fastest, but is often the slowest, and the CTA is simply unpredictable.  

"Yet many drivers are not about to give up their cars, despite the costs and impositions on their lifestyles."

Trapped in their cages. 

I've found that CTA predictability varies a lot by neighborhood. I work in the Loop. From my old place in Noble Square my CTA trip could be anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes door to door. Now I'm in Ravenswood and my CTA commute time is between 45 and 50 minutes door to door, with only a handful of days that have had significant delays. When I lived in Noble Square, my girlfriend lived in Humboldt Park. Going between our places could be anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes.

David crZven 10.6 said:

The CTA is also unpredictable.   I know that if I ride door to door (with all of the time involved with locking and unlocking the Bicycle) its something under an hour (unless the weather is truly extreme...) .  If I drive it ranges from 20 minutes to an hour and a half (with the normal time being a little over an hour).    If I take the CTA it ranges from 40 minutes to two hours, with the norm being right about an hour.   If I walked, about 2.5 hours and that doesn't vary with the weather.  In very bad weather I normally walk and have for years.  (I used to walk from downtown to the North Side (Wrigleyville) on almost every day that I did not ride  a bicycle... thus always in the snow...)    The Car variance depends in part on the weather, but that's not the only factor.  Other factors such as Cub Game Traffic and Road Construction and Street closings enter into the equation.  The CTA?  Who knows.  

The Bicycle is the only "reliable" source of transportation in that the time is predictable.   The Car has the potential to be the fastest, but is often the slowest, and the CTA is simply unpredictable.  

They don't think outside the car. Nor inside ;)

Rich S said:

"Yet many drivers are not about to give up their cars, despite the costs and impositions on their lifestyles."

Trapped in their cages. 

That's certainly been my experience.  The orange line is generally in decent condition and has been fairly reliable and fast for me when I've used it.  The blue line has gotten much better on the northwest side since repairs of recent years (although I don't ride it regularly to many trips to gauge the reliability of travel times). Across the west side, the blue line is terrible and very unreliable.  The red line on the south side is very slow and travel times are extremely unreliable if you're going more than a mile or two.  North side is a bit better, but it depends on timing (rush hour vs. off-peak construction).

Until CTA has done a LOT more switch/signal replacement at key junctions (such as corners of the Loop, where we've had some MAJOR delays lately), the El is still likely to have reliability issues at junctions. Don't even get me started about the buses.

Cameron 7.5 mi said:

I've found that CTA predictability varies a lot by neighborhood.

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