Start Going Places

Can you imagine a Chicago region without transit?

I certainly can’t.

It’s what holds the region together. It gives us wheels without owning a car. It connects us to the wonderful diverse world we call Chicago.

But we need to do better. Not everyone in the region has equal access to transit, and not everyone pays the same.

Compare my two interns at the Center for Neighborhood Technology.

Joanne lives in Lansing, IL near the Indiana border. To get to CNT (in Wicker Park), she has to take a car and three trains. Her 30-mile trip takes 90 minutes, not including waiting times for trains, and costs $14 round trip each day (not including gas and parking).

Joanne's 30-mile commute takes 90 minutes, not including waiting times for trains, and costs $14 round trip each day (not including gas and parking).

Joanne's commute

Bill, in contrast, lives in west suburban Naperville, about as far away. His transit trip takes one commuter train and a transfer to a CTA train or bus. The two train rides take about 50 minutes and cost $16. The bus option adds one minute to the trip and saves 50 cents. Walking and waiting times are not included.

Bill lives in west suburban Naperville, also about 30 miles from CNT. His transit trip takes one commuter train and a transfer to a CTA train or bus. The two train rides take about 50 minutes and cost $16. The bus option adds one minute to the trip and saves 50 cents. Walking and waiting times are not included.

Bill's commute

Why should Joanne and Bill have such different opportunities to use transit?

Public transportation needs to work for everyone, not just those who happen to live in the right place. And that’s the commitment of this blog.

Every week, I will share with you a story about how transit and the transportation system can work better. You’ll hear about innovations in Denver and Los Angeles and track legislation in Springfield and in Washington. As a board member of the CTA, I’ll keep you current on happenings there. We’ll see the economic development potential of transit. And we’ll explore the possibility for a much better transportation system.

And, be assured, I will be calling on you to act.

For public transportation to reach its potential, the whole region needs to be engaged, both those who use it and those who don’t… yet.

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