▶ How Bad Is Chicagoland’s Transportation System?

Chicago is an old city, and when you look at the region’s transportation infrastructure, it looks the part.  Decades of neglect and underfunding have left the region’s and the city’s rails, roads, bridges, and transit in deplorable condition.

Tell someone in Finland that the commuter trains sometimes don’t run when it gets to 20 degrees because the switches are heated with open flames, and they’ll think you’re joking.  Tell someone from Germany that it’s normal for winter weather to cause potholes big enough to disable a car, and they’ll think you’re from the third world.  Tell someone in Singapore that it takes 45 minutes for the subway to travel 15 miles from O’Hare airport to The Loop, and they’ll arrest you for smoking crack.

Recently the program In the Loop on WYCC television did a segment on our woeful situation.  You can view the video above.


Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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  1. “Tell someone in Singapore that it takes 45 minutes for the subway to travel 15 miles from O’Hare airport to The Loop, and they’ll arrest you for smoking crack.”

    In Singapore, the train from the airport to city hall (chosen for the parallel w/ Chicago) takes 38 minutes, not including the time for the transfer from one train to the other–there isn’t a single train connection. The driving distance for the same trip is about 12 miles. So, I don’t think anyone in Singapore would find a single train 45 minute train trip, in lieu of a 15 mile drive (it’s actually 17+ from the terminal to city/county building) unduly long.

    Perhaps you intended Shanghai, and mixed em up?

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    • Editor

      No, no mix-up. The distance from O’Hare to the Loop is about 16 miles. I picked an MRT stop on the airport line that was about the same distance away and the time to complete the trip would be right around 20 minutes.

      It’s been a little while since I’ve been to Singapore, but as I recall its “downtown” is much closer to its airport than the Loop is to O’Hare, which is why I chose to measure it against a farther stop.

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  2. Website ate a *looooong* comment. Short comment: You’re wrong, dude.

    And, even tho I agree with the point of the post, you simply are NOT entitled to your own facts. There is not a station pair in Singapore that are 16 miles apart, and can be reached in 20 minutes. And the trip from the Airport requires a train switch.

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  3. The Joe guy in WYCC’s piece was more wrong about facts than this editor is. Joe blamed the CTA Yellow Line track collapse on the CTA’s aging infrastructure?!?! That’s ludicrous! The track collapsed because a MWRD contractor poorly shored up an open excavation pit. How is that the CTA’s fault? Next he’ll be blaming the CTA when there’s a building fire adjacent to Red Line tracks and the smoke disrupts service. A complete sensationalist.

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