More than 400 thousand Cook County residents live in “transit deserts” and face more difficulty and potential cost in getting around.
A study, funded by grants and private philanthropy, from the Center for Neighborhood Technology defined a transit desert to be more than a half mile from a rail stop or at least one quarter of a mile from express bus service or a bus route offering service every 15 minutes or less.
Researchers say four of the region's five big job areas are in suburbs and not well connected to quality transit. Schaumburg for example should be more accessible along with Lombard, Naperville and Oakbrook. Transportation ranks as an average Cook County household's biggest expense and spending money to get to entry level jobs makes it almost impossible for low wage workers to get by.
Researchers say they don't intend to shame any transit agency in highlighting these deserts. They say they hope to increase funding. They're presenting data to the Cook County board of commissioners. It’s a plan they acknowledge would take more than $20 billion dollars to finance.