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Tuesday, March 21, 2023
HomeIllinois NewsIt's Official: Chicago Has The Worst Commute In The Country

It’s Official: Chicago Has The Worst Commute In The Country




If you've ever been inching interminably along the Kennedy Expressway, spending another umpteenth hour stuck in travel purgatory on the way to the office, overcome with a Godot-esque sense of existential dislocation and thought, "This is the worst," well, it turns out you're right. It is the worst! Chicago tops the list for worst commute in the entire country, according to a new study.

Chicago averaged higher than New York City, Los Angeles, Houston and all the other usual terrible-commute suspects in a recent analysis of US Census data by Auto Accessories Garage. Chicagoans endure an average commute length of 32.4 minutes, compared to the national average of 25.5 minutes, good (read: bad) enough for the longest commute among the nation's most populous cities. (By the way, the best commute among heavily populate metros: Omaha.) Here's the Top Five breakdown, city by city. 

Most populous cities with the longest commute times:
1) Chicago: 32.4 minutes
2) Philadelphia: 31.2 minutes
3) New York: 29.5 minutes
4) Miami: 29.5 minutes
5) Los Angeles: 28.9 minutes



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  1. Watch your wording here–it’s misleading! I have grown up in the Chicagoland area and have seen how bad Interstate traffic has gotten in the past generation. When I was a child, the Ike was only heavy inbound in the morning and outbound in the afternoon. Now it’s just always clogged and it sucks to drive into/out of Chicago except in the middle of the night.
    That said, I do not agree that Chicago has the worst commuter traffic despite having the highest commute times. Why? Because the time in minutes is a bigger reflection of the distribution of where commuters choose to live than how bad traffic is.
    I’ve been in NY and LA commuter traffic, and it is much worse than Chicago’s. But their numbers are lower because people choose to live closer [on average] to where they work and take better advantage of public transportation. It’s precisely because our traffic is not as bad as those other places that we’re able to sprawl a bit more and commute from farther out in the suburbs.
    All that to say that you simply need to be careful in how you present statistics, and more importantly, how you narrate the story around statistics. Averages are usually comprised of more than one cause.