The road network is the region's most utilized transportation asset, moving people and goods to and from just about every destination in the region. Roads are operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and affect nearly every mode of transportation. Programming and planning for our region's road network should consider all transportation modes that directly use the road network including automobile, freight, transit, bicycle, and pedestrians. Users of the region's road network face many headaches on a daily basis including congestion and maintenance and operations issues, and safety concerns. The Chicago region needs to invest strategically to create and maintain a safe, efficient and seamless road network.
The Chicago region has one of the most congested road networks in the country. Congestion costs the Chicago region billions of dollars annually in wasted time and fuel, decreased productivity, inefficient freight movements, and pollution. Road users experience two types of congestion, recurring and non-recurring.
Recurring congestion is congestion that routinely occurs overtime and is usually caused by a lack of roadway capacity. Non-recurring congestion is congestion that does not routinely occur and is caused by a traffic incident, inclement weather, construction zone, or special events. Non-recurring congestion is especially frustrating to roadway users because of the unanticipated increase in travel time. In order for the region to reduce recurring and non-recurring congestion experienced on the road network, it will need to identify and invest in proven congestion solutions such as congestion pricing, Adaptive Signal Control (ASCT), or Active Corridor Management (ACM).
The region needs to maintain the road network at an acceptable quality in order to have a safe, well-functioning roadway system. Roads deteriorate over time due to vehicle use and the environment. Properly maintained roads provides a better user experience and reduces vehicle operating costs, as there is a direct link between road condition and vehicle operating costs. A well maintained system also improves the safety of the road network. With transportation funding dwindling, the maintenance and modernization of the road network is a concern and should be a priority for the region.
The road network in the region is used by multiple modes of transportation, some more exposed then others, and creating a safe environment for all is a major public concern. Road safety should be considered throughout the entire programming and planning process to reduce the number of fatalities, injuries, and crashes on the region's road network. Improving safety and reducing the number of crashes will improve the reliability, reduce non-recurring congestion, and provide a better user experience for people traveling on our region's roads.