TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM OF CHICAGO

Write a Report on the Transportation System of A U.S. City Other Than Buffalo That Is Comparable With Buffalo: Transportation System of Chicago
Introduction
This report discusses the transportation system of Chicago City and compares it with that of Buffalo City. Chicago is one of the biggest cities in America and with extensive transport to cater for nearly 10 million people living in this populous city. The transportation system of Chicago will be benchmarked against that of Buffalo in regards to population size. The report will also seek to identify problems in the transport system and possible solutions.
An overview of Chicago City.
Chicago City is situated in the Midwest along the Great Lakes shoreline. The city ranked as the third biggest with a population of nearly 10 million people, and its metropolitan area has about 3 million people (Diner, 2017).The greater Chicago area comprises of Illinois and spreads to the Southern Wisconsin and northwestern Indiana. The city is famous for its music, sports, cultural attraction, and learning institutions. Chicago metropolitan area also known as Chicagoland is made up of Illinois, Chicago, and the suburbs, and commands significant social and economic influence.
According to 2010 census data reported by the US Census of Bureau, Chicago metropolitan population stood at 2,695,598 people. This was a decline of about 7% compared to the previous census carried in 2000. However, following population estimates are done in July 2011 showed that the Chicago metropolitan had a 2,707, 120, which was a slight increase from the numbers reported in 2010. In 2016, the population has been estimated to be about 2,720,546 (US Bureau of statistics (2018). The decline and slow growth of the Chicago metropolitan are attributed to cases of violence, issues with schools and an increase in tax. The Chicago metropolitan area is a highly diversified area that has nearly 4 million people and generates more than $561 billion regarding the gross regional product (GRP).
Comparison between Buffalo and Chicago
Comparisons between Chicago city and Buffalo city can be made concerning population, area and transport system.According to the 2010 US census, Chicago city had a population of 9,729,825 people, with a population density of 1,318 people per square mile.The poll as well indicated that the racial proportion comprised of 52.8% Non-Latino white, 22.1% Latino, and 16.7% Non-Latino African Americans, while Asian consist of 6.4% other races comprised on 2.0% (US Bureau of statistics, 2018).
The population of Buffalo is far less than that of Chicago city. Estimates provided by U.S Census Bureau shows that Buffalo city as at July 2015 had a population of 1, 135,230, this is much below to 9, 729, 825 people in Chicago city.Buffalo’s community tends to be declining because in 2010 it was ranked at 47th nationally concerning society,but it dropped to 50th in 2015 (Open Data Network, 2018). Indeed, the community has declined by 321 people between 2010 and 2015. However, Chicago is ranked as the third most populous city with a population of 9,551,031 as at July 2015 (US Bureau of statistics, 2018).Regarding race, the proportion of white people in Buffalo is higher than that of Chicago at 45.6%, and the percentage of black people is 36.8%.
Transport: Historically, the main component of infrastructure in the state of Chicago was water canal that connected the Mississippi River drainage and the great lakes. Even before Chicago was made a city, the Chicago River had already been made a federal harbor (The Chicago Crusader, 2017). However, today the road and rail is widely networked across the city and has dramatically increased the efficiency of the transport system. This is unlike buffalo that has focused on the development of new roads, developing 525 miles of new roads since 1990. This is nevertheless still low. Like Chicago, Buffalo has invested heavily in road network (The Streets, 2013).
Economy: The nominal per capita GDP for buffalo is $44,422 $ as of 2016; Chicago per capita GDP as of $59810 as of 2016. This indicates that the individuals in Chicago have a higher purchasing power than those in Buffalo. This implies that the people residing within Chicago have a higher standard of living than those in Buffalo. Nevertheless, it is always worth noting that the assumption of inequality in the sharing of the GDP among the population does not hold in areas where income inequalities and access to opportunities differs among the people.
Benchmarking: While various indicators of performance are used in the assessment of the economic wellbeing of a state, the gross domestic product and standard of living are viewed as the most critical indicators. In the above analyses, Chicago has a higher per capita purchasing power than Buffalo indicating that residents have better access to goods and services. While the transport network in both cities needs to be improved, Chicago has been able to control growth in population, further reducing strain on economic resources. In overall Chicago is a better place to live in than Buffalo.
Chicago transportation system and social and economic needs of the populace
Chicago has an excellent transport system that comprises of rail transport, airports, and bus system.The airports of Chicago city are O’Hare International Airport and Midway Airport. The O’Hare International Airport is the second busiest in the world and serves several international and domestic destinations. As mentioned by Coale (2015), it’s a hub for both American Airlines and United Airlines. Construction works are underway to expand the airport to cater to the increasing air travel needs. Midway Airport mainly serves domestic destination. Other airports include Chicago International Airport and Chicago Rockford International Airport, Aurora Municipal Airport, Lewis University Airport, and Clow International Airport.
The public transport system is managed by The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), which oversees a network of buses and trains that service almost the entire city. The trains are operated under two groups, subway, and elevated trains.It’s estimated that there are nearly 2000, buses operating in more than 150 routes around Chicago. The busses offer almost 1 million passenger trips each day and serve over 12,000 bus tops. The city also has a rapid transit system referred to as Chicago L that operates approximately 1,190 fast transit cars plying eight routes or 357 kilometers of track (Chicago Transit Authority, 2018)
The rail services are provided as commuter and intercity. The Metra Electric District is among the oldest commuter train established in 1856. Coale (2015) explains that Metra is the commuter railroad operating eleven lines and serving over 200 stations across the city. Since they are commuter rail services, they only provide frequent service during the rush hours. However, they are reliable and fast and therefore preferred by many people. The intercity is operated by Amtrak, which owns the Union Station, ranked as the fourth-biggest intercity passenger hub across the U.S. All trains that use the Union Station either start or end their journey here, and passengers who come through Chicago have to transfer to other trains to get to their destinations.
Other transport means include taxis (Chicago taxicabs) that are privately operated by medallion license. Passengers can as well use waterway that is extensively used for commercial shipping and recreational activities. Navigable waters in Chicago city include Chicago River, Lake Michigan, and Calumet River.
Though the transport system of the city has tried to effectively serve the social and economic needs of the populace who reside in its metropolitan area, it faces some transport issues. As pointed out by Wronski (2018), at times it frustrating to travel in the city by private car because of the lack of parking spaces and the increasing parking fee. This implies that getting around the city could be more effective when public transportation is used compared to private means. However, while public means can be useful in the metropolitan area, it is not efficient in the downtown area since some neighborhood only have limited transport system such a bus that take 10 to 15 minutes, and this is not very good for passengers. According to Wronski (2018), Chicago city has failed to invest in a streetcar or light rail has done in other cities. Therefore, some places cannot be reached by rail or bus, and this hinders social and economic activities.
Problems identified in the transportation system.
Several issues have been established that affect Chicago transport system, among them, is the transit problem, parking and lack of light rail. The following suggestions have been forwarded to address these problems:
Transit priority: There are different ways to assist transit motor vehicles in avoiding traffic jams and congestion and traveling faster. One approach of doing this is by including managed lanes, use of traffic signal, providing a particular intersection and having a preferred loading and parking areas. As pointed out by Barnett (2018) such strategies enhance operation efficiency and make transit more efficient.This approach will directly impact transit uses by improving their social and economic activities since they will spend less time on the road.
Parking management: Another problem that has been identified in the Chicago city transport system is the lack of enough parking spaces. This can be addressed by increasing transit use so that fewer cars are packed (Barnett, 2018). For example, the city can offer “parking cash out” where people can be offered cash instead of parking. Similarly, the city should provide a more flexible billing system for example based on rash hours to reduce the parking fee.Parking pricing is an effective way of lowering automobile trips, which will have a direct impact on social and economic aspects of the residents.
A Comparison with Buffalo City.
Chicago City has an extensive transport system that is comparatively effective. Buffalo city also has an excellent transport that comprises of roads. Compared to Buffalo City, Chicago has a broader and more efficient transportation system particularly the Airways system and the public transport system that is managed by Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). Buffalo city has a similar system where the public transportation system is regulated by Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and operates under Metro Bus and Metro Rail. However, the waiting time for after a bus in Buffalo city is 15-60 minutes on weekdays, which is far slow compared to Chicago where bus wait is 10-15 minutes.
Problems faced by both cities.
Some of the transportation problems faced by Chicago city as well is found in Buffalo city. The common problem faced by the two cities includes lack of parking space. The number of vehicles that seek parking space is high, yet the city does not have enough space. Another problem that is more pronounced in Buffalo city is the long duration that takes before a public bus takes which is between 15 and 60 minutes.
 
Recommendations for Buffalo
The transportation system of Chicago city is comparatively effective, and Buffalo city can learn a few things about how best to improve their current transportation system. Accordingly, the following recommendations are offered:

  • The city should reduce the bus waiting time to be between 10 and 15 minutes to increase the efficiency of the transport system.
  • Buffalo city should try to decongest the city by offering incentives to people to use transport by lowering commuter fare. But at the same time include punitive measures such as increased parking fee.
  • The city should as well consider expanding the current road network and increasing commuter buses to improve transportation efficiency
  • Buffalo city should as well consider using modern information technologies such as creating an App that will be used by residents to know which roads are congested or which are not.

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