Table 1. Number represents share of trip miles taken by that mode. So in Central Chicago (which seems to comprise neighborhoods as far north as Uptown and as far south as [...]
Table 1. Number represents share of trip miles taken by that mode. So in Central Chicago (which seems to comprise neighborhoods as far north as Uptown and as far south as Hyde Park), 1.4% of all trip miles are by bike. If 1,000 people take 100 trips of 2 miles each, then 2,800 miles will be by bike.
Private Shuttle Bus
|North Cook County||2.00%||0.80%||64.60%||22.00%||0.70%||1.40%||0.50%||5.90%||0.20%||0.00%||1.70%||0.10%||0.10%|
|West Cook County||1.80%||0.30%||60.70%||26.80%||0.70%||4.60%||0.70%||2.60%||0.20%||0.10%||1.30%||0.10%||0.10%|
|South Cook County||2.50%||0.10%||63.60%||21.80%||0.40%||1.40%||1.40%||6.90%||0.30%||0.10%||1.40%||0.00%||0.00%|
Table 2. Number represents share of trips taken by that mode, regardless of distance.
Private Shuttle Bus
|North Cook County||8.30%||1.40%||59.30%||25.30%||0.60%||1.00%||0.50%||1.40%||0.10%||0.00%||1.90%||0.10%||0.10%|
|West Cook County||11.00%||0.90%||53.00%||27.00%||1.30%||2.40%||1.30%||0.90%||0.10%||0.00%||1.70%||0.20%||0.10%|
|South Cook County||6.70%||0.50%||59.20%||26.60%||0.50%||0.80%||1.20%||1.80%||0.20%||0.10%||2.50%||0.00%||0.10%|
Simplified, the purpose of Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant is to fund projects that reduce congestion and improve air quality. This usually means bicycle, pedestrian, and transit facilities and vehicles. But it also means road projects. Like intersection widening, new signals, changes to signal programming, and “signal interconnect” (timing the signals to cooperate [...]
Simplified, the purpose of Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant is to fund projects that reduce congestion and improve air quality. This usually means bicycle, pedestrian, and transit facilities and vehicles. But it also means road projects. Like intersection widening, new signals, changes to signal programming, and “signal interconnect” (timing the signals to cooperate with each other to have some free flowing traffic). It can also mean making grade separations at railroad tracks to eliminate backups when trains cross. However, not everything is infrastructure: there’s also marketing, encouragement, analysis, bike sharing, and education.
In a conversation I was having last night with some transportation advocate friends, one joked that most of CMAQ funds road projects. I agreed (probably because the irony of reducing congestion by making higher capacity roads was funny to me), and we moved on to other topics. I set out verify the actual distribution share for the six-county region in Northeastern Illinois.
I spent almost an hour converting the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s CMAQ 2012-2016 projects list from PDF to Excel and then quickly identified every project as being “road” or “not road”. I tallied the amount of proposed CMAQ funding for the projects to get the answer: road projects take up 25.7% of CMAQ funding.
But I can’t stop there! Now that I have CMAP’s data in a spreadsheet, I can get the average of Daily VOC eliminated for road and non-road projects, as well as the estimated cost per VOC kilogram eliminated.
On average, non-road projects have a lower cost per VOC kilogram eliminated ($4,109.37 versus $9,472.90). And non-road projects on average eliminate 19.7 times more kilograms of VOC daily (5.918 kg versus 0.301 kg for road projects).
There are some disclaimers! These are all estimates and not every project has received funding. Also, projects are not selected solely on cost per kilogram of VOC eliminated, or daily VOC eliminated. I’d also like to see estimates on the number of people affected by each project.
You can check my math by downloading my modified projects list (XLS).
I have low expectations of fellow Chicagoans who are moving their vehicles on the same roads I cycle on. I expect that every door will fling open in my path, causing me to be doored. I also expect to be cut off at any moment, and especially in certain places like at intersections (where the [...]
I have low expectations of fellow Chicagoans who are moving their vehicles on the same roads I cycle on. I expect that every door will fling open in my path, causing me to be doored. I also expect to be cut off at any moment, and especially in certain places like at intersections (where the majority of crashes occur), bus stops, or in places with lots of parallel parking activity. Because of these expectations I feel that my journeys have been pretty safe. My low expectations cause me to ride slower, ride out of the door zone, and pay attention to everyone’s maneuvers.
This is another post inspired by Traffic: Why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us) by Tom Vanderbilt. From page 227 of “Traffic”, about expectations :
Max Hall, a physics teacher in Massachusetts who often rides his collection of classic Vespas and Lambrettas in Rome, says that he finds it safer to ride in Rome than in Boston. Not only are American drivers unfamiliar with scooters, he maintains, but they resent being passed by them: “In Rome car and truck divers ‘know’ they are expect not to make sudden moves in traffic for fear of surprising, and hurting, two-wheeler drivers. And two-wheeler drivers drive, by and large, expecting not to be cut off.”
The scooter drivers have high expectations, and it seems that they’re being met.
This all plays nicely with the “safety in numbers” theory about cycling: the more people who are riding bicycles, the more visible bicycling is, and the more aware a driver will be around people who are bicycling, and the more they will expect someone on a bicycle. Awareness means caution.
It’s difficult to gauge the safety of cycling in Chicago as we’ve no exposure rate: we don’t know how many people are cycling how many miles (nor where).
A cyclist waits for the light to change at Milwaukee Avenue and Ashland Avenue.
Exposure rate in the sense I’m using it here means the number of times someone is in a crash or injury for each mile they ride. We know how many crashes and injuries are reported each year (in the Illinois Motorist Crash reports), but we don’t know how many miles people ride (neither individually nor an estimated average).
There was a limited household survey of Cook County residents in 2008 from CMAP, called Travel Tracker, that collected trip distance information for all trips members of a household made on all trip modes – I haven’t looked into this yet.
It would be highly useful if the Chicago Department of Transportation conducted ridership counts at the 10 intersections with the highest crash rates. And if the 10 intersections changed the following year, the new intersections would just be added to the initial 10 to track the changes of the initial 10. This would be one step closer to being able to determine a “crash rate” for each intersection.
“Over the last 12 months, Amtrak operations and equipment contributed between 11 andÂ 18 percent of the total delay. Â Likewise, â€œthird partyâ€ causes of delay, such as inclementÂ weather and police activity, contributed only between 6 and 8 percent of the total. Â The delay that Amtrak ascribes to the â€œhostâ€ railroad, on the other hand, averaged 79 [...]
“Over the last 12 months, Amtrak operations and equipment contributed between 11 andÂ 18 percent of the total delay. Â Likewise, â€œthird partyâ€ causes of delay, such as inclementÂ weather and police activity, contributed only between 6 and 8 percent of the total. Â The delay that Amtrak ascribes to the â€œhostâ€ railroad, on the other hand, averaged 79 percentÂ of total monthly delay.”*
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Amtrak operates some commuter trains in California.
Breaking down delays attributable to the host railroads (across the national system):*
- Freight train interference (25 percent)
- Passenger train interference (this really means other Amtrak trains)
- Commuter train interference
- Slow orders not related to weather (“likely in response to track conditions”)
- Signal delays
And the reason Amtrak can’t report: Continued underfunding at a time when ridership is increasing. Congress makes yearly allocations to Amtrak and without an expectation for stable long-term funding, the National Passenger Railroad Corporation can’t make long-term investment plans or seek alternate, additional funding (like bonds). Recently received American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding gives Amtrak a necessary booster shot to clear out a backlog of maintenance. But this doesn’t solve the year-to-year fight for dollars.
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An Amtrak train emerging from Chicago Union Station (CUS).
State of Illinois-supported routes (from Chicago to St. Louis, Missouri, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin) show a 20% increase since 2007. The Illinois Department of Transportation has spent millions of dollars in the past few years to upgrade track, crossings, and signals to improve travel times. You can see the effect on ridership when you improve service. I think this makes Illinois a strong contender for high-speed rail stimulus money not yet awarded.
*Delay information comes from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s 2009 Freight Snapshot draft report.
About Steven Can Plan
I started this blog in 2007 as the writing assignment for an introductory urban planning class at UIC. It's about cities (mainly Chicago), GIS oftentimes, and transportation (mainly bicycling). Learn more about me, Steven Vance. I also write for Streetsblog Chicago.
Steven Can Plan is hosted on Dreamhost.
Chicago Bike Map App
The Chicago Bike Map app is a bike and street map stored entirely in your iOS device – no data connection required. The map is designed to look much like the City of Chicago's official printed and online bike map. The app works on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
Highly Recommended Bike Products
I've used this pannier to carry groceries, books, my laptop, clothing, anything. I like it because it's stylish (but also "normal" looking at the same time), stands up on its own, is extremely durable, and has the most universal attachment system: two hooks.
The best value taillight. It has three red LEDs that alternate and provide extreme brightness. I have two of these.
So far my longest trip was 40 miles on this saddle. It molds to your butt like Birkenstock sandals mold to your feet. The springs make the bike ride a little more comfortable and more fun (weird, because you bounce up and down on them). It also looks gorgeous. Comes in 3 colors - I got black.
Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi by Steve Inskeep
I reviewed this book that the publisher sent to me.
The Death and Life of Great American Cities (50th Anniversary Edition) (Modern Library) by Jane Jacobs
Joyride: Pedaling Toward A Healthier Planet by Mia Birk, With Joe (Metal Cowboy) Kurmaskie, Joe Kurmaskie, Jim Moore
I met Mia Birk in October 2011.
Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS by John Krygier PhD, Denis Wood PhD
If you are going to make a map, whether it be hand drawn or digital, you should really give this book a read. Then read it every time you make a map. It will help make sure your maps are laid out sensibly, in a way that others can easily read, and that it doesn't include fluff or unnecessary data.