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CHICAGO TRANSPORTATION & TRAVEL CONSIDERATIONS

Chicago is served by two major airports: O’Hare International, which is the second busiest airport in the country, handles over 76 million passengers annually; and Midway sees over 18 million travelers every year. Both airports are full service air centers and are connected to downtown Chicago by the CTA “L” train system (nicknamed for its sections of elevated track). The Blue Line L takes riders directly to an underground station at O’Hare, located about 17 miles northwest of the Loop, and the Orange Line train provides a quick route to Midway, which is situated on the southwest side, about eight miles from the Loop.

O’Hare has four terminals used for passenger traffic – 1,2 & 3 are for domestic flights and 5 handles the international arrivals and departures (Terminal 4 is currently used as the airport’s ground transportation center). Midway is a much smaller airport than O’Hare. It only has three concourses and 43 gates, whereas its bigger sister to the north has nine concourses and 186 aircraft gates. In addition to acting as major transportation hubs for worldwide travel, Chicago’s airports make business and vacation travel in and out of Chicago easy and convenient.

Dual airports makes for great travel when you are in the air, but what about when you are on the ground? Chicago boasts one of the most innovative and well-built public transportation systems in the country. On an average day, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) busses and trains give 1.6 million rides. With roughly 2,000 busses covering more than 2,270 route miles and 1,190 train cars traveling 222 miles of track, getting around the city and suburbs is a breeze.

Chicago has a high level of motorist traffic, especially when you factor in the commuters. A number of major highways have been built and improved over the years to meet the demands of roadway travelers. There are four main expressways crisscrossing Chicago that culminate at the city’s center. The Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90/94) approaches the Loop from the south and circles around the western edge of downtown, turning into the Kennedy Expressway as it heads north. Further up, I-94 breaks off into the Edens Expressway, which continues north to Wisconsin. The Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) runs east-west through the center of Chicago, terminating at the Loop, and the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) originates in the South Loop and extends southwest, following the Chicago River. Although it is not technically a highway, Lake Shore Drive is also a very highly-used roadway that Chicagoans depend on. The scenic route runs right along the lakefront, providing drivers with spectacular views of both the city skyline and Lake Michigan.

Airports certified for carrier operations nearest to Chicago:
O’HARE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (approximately 17 miles from downtown; ID: ORD)
CHICAGO MIDWAY AIRPORT (approximately 8 miles from downtown; ID: MDW)

Time Zone: Central Standard Time

Mean Travel Time to Work: 30.5 Minutes

Nearest Cities and (distances): Milwaukee, WI (91 Miles), Indianapolis, IN (185 Miles), Detroit, MI (283 Miles), St. Louis, MO (297 Miles)