Bad Roads, Bridges Cost Chicago-Area Drivers More Than $2K a Year: Report

A report released Wednesday crunched data from seven agencies including the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. It found that deteriorating roads and bridges as well as increased congestion cost the average driver in Chicago thousands each year.

This all comes in a new report from the D.C.-based nonprofit national transportation research group Trip. Rough roads, automobile crashes and bumper to bumper traffic are eating into the wallets of Chicago drivers, Rocky Morretti, the director of police and research at Trip said.

“Here in the Chicago area ... the average motorist is spending an additional $2,485 a year,” Moretti said.

Potholes and other hazards from deteriorating roads according to the report cost Chicago drivers an average of $627 a year.

A lack of state and local funding, they say, compounds the problem, with every three miles of major urban roads and highways in Illinois in poor or mediocre condition. Something they anticipate will only worsen through 2023 based on current funding.

“The challenge is trying to get those repairs done before roads slip into even worse condition when those costs are even higher," Moretti said.

The report also finds that major urban roads across Illinois are becoming increasingly congested, causing 63 hours in annual delays and costing each driver nearly $1,500 in lost time and wasted fuel.

“The average annual commute time that we’ve seen since 1990 as reported by the census bureau has increased by about a half hour a day," said Ben Taylor of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Add it all up and the annual increased cost of operating a car due to bad roads and traffic in Chicago comes to nearly $2,500 per driver.

One solution, according to Trip, are more investment in transportation improvement at both the state and federal level. That in turn, they say, would make roads safer, relieve traffic congestion and save drivers money.

Contact Us