UMR Index


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Score: 63.7%

Sustainable Mobility



Score: 45.9%

Public Transit


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Score: 61.8%

Population 9.0 million
Surface area (km2) 5,498
Population-density (people/km2) 1,636
GDP per capita ($) 92,970
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What Chicago Does Well in Urban Mobility

Chicago has a strong multimodal public transit system that includes long operating hours, quick commute times, and an advanced app that seamlessly integrates trip planning and payment. The Chicago Transit Authority is proposing a rail extension that would add four new stations, each with multimodal hubs that include bike, bus, and park and ride facilities.

Chicago has a well-connected, maintained road network with a robust traffic management system; and similar to other cities in the region, residents often prefer to use it. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency For Planning’s 2040 plan calls for congestion pricing and increasing parking fees to help better manage traffic.

Urban Mobility Readiness Index, Sustainable Mobility and Public Transit scores

Challenges and Opportunities for Chicago’s Transportation System

Chicago's large surface area and lack of car-free zones and bike lanes have led to a city-wide dependence on cars. However, in 2023 the city announced plans to build 150 miles of new cycling infrastructure in the next few years. The additional lanes will bring 70% of Chicagoans living within half a mile of a bikeway, compared to just half of residents who currently do.

Despite government investment in electric vehicle (EV) charging, Chicago is well behind its American peers in EV usage and lacks automated vehicles in its public transit system. To address this, Illinois in 2022 launched a $4,000 cash back rebate for EV purchases as part of a plan to have one million EVs deployed across the state by 2030.

Dimensions of the Urban Mobility Readiness Index score

How Chicago Can Improve Its Public Transportation and Sustainable Mobility

EV market share in Chicago still lags behind many peers, with approximately a quarter of market share compared to that of San Francisco. Illinois can join the other nine states that have committed to following California's lead in banning all combustion engine car sales by 2035. In the interim, Chicago can expand its existing monetary incentives by increasing subsidies for purchase, charger installation, and toll discounts or introduce non-monetary incentives such as special access lanes to encourage more EV uptake. In addition, introducing low-emission zones will further discourage non-Zero-Emission Vehicle usage and purchases.

Chicago's cycling infrastructure could be improved to make the city more hospitable to cyclists. Installing dedicated bike lanes with safety dividers on main roadways and maintaining them during the winter months would increase cycling's modal share. Previously mentioned plans to expand cycling infrastructure show intention to improve. Bikes are permitted on public transit; however, they are not welcomed during peak travel hours. Relaxing the time restriction would permit more cyclists to utilize public transit and cycling (for first- and last-mile transit) for commuting during business hours. Expanding the offerings of Divvy, the city's bike sharing service, would further support cycling throughout the city. Divvy plans on adding more than 250 stations by 2025, which will help increase cycling’s modal share.

Comparative Urban Mobility Readiness Index scores