Chicago, Illinois, is one of the busiest cities in the United States. The roads can get quite populated with over 2.6 million residents and an estimated 49 million annual tourists. In fact, many people in Chicago, residents and tourists alike rely on public transportation to get around the city to avoid driving. Here are a few things that you might not know about Chicago’s transportation systems.

They’re One of the Few Cities With Rail Service and Two Airports

Chicago has such a high demand for public transportation that they are one of the few cities in the world to have two airports and a rail service. The city is also the country’s second-largest public transportation system. The system serves Chicago proper, as well as 35 surrounding suburbs. You can easily find a bus or train station every few blocks in Chicago. Most of the stations will also take you to Chicago’s busiest commercial districts and main attractions.

Buses Are One of the Most Common Modes of Transportation

Many Chicago residents rely on public buses to get around the city. In fact, according to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), the Chicago bus system makes over 2,300 daily trips and serves 145 bus stops. The CTA service comprises bus and rail lines, running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s estimated that almost 30% of Chicago residents don’t own a car, and among those that do, most households only own one vehicle.

The Chicago Transit Authority Regulates Public Transportation

The CTA regulates public transportation in Chicago, Illinois. As an independent governmental agency, the CTA comprises a board of members who make safety and upgrade decisions. They make necessary repairs and upgrades using farebox collections and revenue from daily and weekly sold tickets. While the earnings from the public transportation system vary based on the year, they collected approximately 280.15 million U.S. dollars in 2021 alone. Labor shortages are one of the biggest problems affecting the efficiency of the CTA system today.

Public Transportation Does Have a Few Risks

The public transportation system in Chicago is considered relatively safe, but that doesn’t mean accidents and injuries aren’t impossible. NBC Chicago has historically reported that the CTA consistently ranks low on the list of the safest public transportation in the United States. In addition to the risk of being in an accident on a Chicago bus or metro system, violent crime is also possible.

Some of the most common public transportation accidents are caused by buses crashing into vehicles, structures, or pedestrians. Problems with electrical components can also further affect the safety of the public transportation system. Seeking compensation for a public transportation accident is sometimes difficult. The city may try to negate fault, and with big legal teams on their side, it’s not always easy to get them to cover your medical costs. Additionally, many cities, including Chicago, have laws in place that shorten the statute of limitations (how long you have to file a lawsuit) when a government entity is responsible. is a great resource for navigating Chicago bus accidents. Whether you’re traveling to the city of Chicago or a permanent resident in the windy city, a bus accident is never convenient. Working with a bus accident lawyer is one of the best ways to protect your right while ensuring you receive the funds you need to recover from your injury.

Public Transportation Has Always Been a Part of Chicago’s History

Unlike other big cities that eventually incorporated public transportation after the city got so big, public transportation has actually always been a part of Chicago’s history. The first form of public transit was in 1859 when the city began horse car service. By 1882, the city transitioned to cable car service. Throughout history, Chicago has also used electric streetcars, rail lines, and the Loop, which opened in 1897. The first motor bus came in 1917. The city of Chicago features many interesting and historical facts that are worth checking out.

As the city has gotten bigger and more populated over the years, they have added new lines that make public transportation even more convenient. Today, the public transportation system makes it easy and fast for full-time residents and visiting tourists to travel to restaurants, retail, and work without navigating the busy roads. In fact, Chicago frequently ranks somewhere on the list of the top 10 walkable cities in the United States.

Public transportation is one of the most convenient ways to get around a busy city. While the CTA is part of what makes Chicago so walkable, it’s important to be aware of the potential security and danger risks. Public transportation in any city is subject to risks, and exploring your options following an accident is important.

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Last Update: August 2, 2023