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Chicago sees decrease in commuters driving to work alone

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Fewer than 50% of all Chicagoans commute alone by car

Public transit and alternative modes of transportation in Chicago have been experiencing a new renaissance as more and more city residents ditch their cars in trade for the ‘L’ or their bicycles. And new U.S. Census data about commuting trends show that more Chicago workers are using public transit today than they were just a few years ago. To help make this data more digestible, city planner and former Metropolitan Planning Council project manager Yonah Freemark has been adding his commentary on the new information via Twitter.

This table shows the change in number of commuters taking public transit to work from their place of residence. Over the ten year period from 2005 to 2015, the percentage of commuters taking transit to work from their house increased by 3%, growing from 25.3% to 28.3%. A three percent change may not seem like much, but this growth is significantly higher than many other major cities. The only city listed in the chart that has a bigger growth is Seattle. And another thing to keep in mind is that Chicago is not just a major city, it’s the country’s third largest city, so even a small percentage change means thousands of people.

This chart illustrates the number of commuters who are getting to work by driving alone in their car. Again, Seattle takes the lead in this graph as well, but Chicago shows a very respectable result. Between 2005 and 2015, Chicago witnessed a major decrease in the number of commuters who are driving to work alone in their cars, going from 53.4% of Chicago commuters in 2005 to 49.5% in 2015. This data now shows that less than 50% of Chicago commuters are driving to work alone in their cars—certainly a step in the right direction to help fight congestion and to increase worker productivity.

Other cities that are seeing this major shift in commuting habits include Boston, DC, Portland, San Francisco, and San Diego. Meanwhile, cities that are heading in the wrong direction include Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Charlotte, and Denver. Freemark comments that the latter cities have all made major investments in transit, but are seeing more people commuting alone in their cars.