A study done in December of 2012 by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute listed Chicago as having the worst traffic congestion. Annually, a driver spends an average of 38 hours in non-moving traffic, while the average is closer to 70 hours in Chicago. Each year this transportation insitute realases an Urban Mobility Report. 2012 Report
From the above articles, one can see that congestion in Chicago does not only apply to car transportation. Issues are raised about Chicago’s trains, from the freight trains to the ‘El’. A new York Times article claims that freight trains generally can reach Chicago from LA in 48 hours, but can take up to 30 hours to make it through the Chicago. Chicago is widely known throughout the freight industry as America’s speedbump, which would be completely inaccurate if it was the mid-1800’s. New York Times Article
All this being said, Chicago is making strides to decrease congestion, particularly in the public transit systems, replacing much of the red line and the Wells St. Bridge along the North Loop. These changes are yet to show if they make much change, but has caused temporary closings of 3 of the 8 train lines. Some sources even suggest that the addition employees for these projects are not only holding up the transit system, but also the creating more commuters, which creates even more traffic.
Illinois statewide GIS information on traffic can be found on the Illinois Dept. of Tansportation. 2011 traffic data can be found below (on the left).
Some research was also done on the new Chicago Smart Grid system, which is an interesting new technology system that tracks and reroutes energy to prevent power outages and reduce the length of power outages when there is one. See below links for further news articles and the Illinois Dept. of Transportation.
CTA Closed for Bridge Construction
Worst Traffic Congestion In The U.S.: Chicago Ranked Most Congested
CTA Riders Feel Effects of Red Line Construction
More jobs means worse traffic congestion
Chicago No. 1 in road congestion
‘Smart grid’ holds promise, but problems await
GE, ComEd sign $200MM Chicago Smart Grid deal
Smart Grid Innovation