Chicago is the 6th-most congested city in the U.S.
Chicagoans spend over three-and-a-half days a year stuck in rush-hour traffic, which is somehow still an overall improvement.
Why it matters: Traffic may be returning, but the pandemic may have shifted when we drive.
By the numbers: According to data from the TomTom traffic index, Chicago drivers spent 86 hours in rush-hour traffic in 2021 compared to 115 hours in 2019.
- There was a 14% decrease in morning rush-hour congestion, and a 12% decrease in the evenings in 2021 compared to 2019.
Yes, but: Even though rush-hour traffic is declining, the overall time spent on the roadways is going up.
- Chicago had a 24% congestion level in 2021, which means that travel times on average were 24% longer than during non-congested conditions.
Zoom in: The worst time to travel? Fridays at 4pm.
- Traffic then dips 15% after the 4pm hour.
- The most surprising stat is that Mondays are the best day for rush hour.
- Worst traffic day of 2021? No joke, exactly one year ago today.
Zoom out: Chicago is the 6th-most congested city in the U.S. and the 149th-most congested city in the world.
- So even though losing three days a year is a lot, it's nowhere near the 123 hours per year that a New York City driver spends in rush-hour traffic.
- Even NYC doesn't compare globally, as living in Istanbul will cost 226 traffic hours per year (over 9 days).
Quick take: If you hate traffic but love big city life, maybe Minneapolis is more your speed.
- Residents there sit in rush hour for only 39 hours per year.
How it works: TomTom collected anonymized GPS signals from hundreds of millions of drivers to analyze traffic in 404 cities in 58 countries.
Go deeper: Chicago's page on the TomTom Traffic Index.
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