Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Professor Sybil Derrible talks to Chicago Tribune about I-55 expansion

Busy Traffic

The Chicago Tribune turned to Professor Sybil Derrible for story about the potential I-55 expansion, and whether adding more highway lanes increases congestion rather than reducing it.

With more space, more people feel like they can take to the road in their cars, said Sybil Derrible, an associate professor of civil, materials and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“It seems to be the commonsense solution, but for about 50 years we’ve tried it and it’s never solved traffic congestion,” he said. “Never.”

The way to ease congestion is to get people from one place to another in a way that takes up less space, Derrible said. That could mean carpooling — taking cars off the expressway while transporting the same number of people — or mass transit.

Fewer cars on the road would free up space for the delivery and industrial trucks that use I-55, he said. And investing in transit upgrades to remove drivers from the road would create jobs, just like a road project — while also helping to reduce congestion, he said.

The project also raises the issue of potentially bringing more cars through areas such as Little Village, a heavily Latino enclave that already suffers from poor air quality and high rates of respiratory illness.

“Everyone in the Chicago region would be worse off,” Derrible said. “It’s not only the people in the neighborhoods, who are absolutely unfairly treated right now. But it’s not just them. Everyone in the region would be worse off in the long run because we just have more congestion to deal with.”

The full article can be found at Chicago Tribune.