Newsroom > News > Press Releases > Study: More Chicago Metra riders glued to electronics
July 14, 2015 /
Posted in: College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences /
Commuters along Metra's Union Pacific northwest train line spend the majority of their journey glued to their smartphones and tablets. A new study from the Chaddick Institute of Metropolitan Development at DePaul finds technology use is on the rise on Metra. (Photo by Jeff Carrion)CHICAGO — Metra commuters in Chicago are increasingly doing things that would be illegal if they were driving — texting, reading email, shopping online or watching a movie — according to research from DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development. More commuters in the Chicago area are opting to ride the train, in part because of this dependence on electronic devices, researchers found.
“Sophisticated personal electronic devices are changing the way Americans use public transportation,” said Joseph Schwieterman, director of the Chaddick Institute. “Heavy users of mobile technology are finding train travel to be particularly amenable to their digitally oriented lives. Many relish the idea of using their devices from origin to destination, giving this historic mode of travel a new competitive edge.”
The report is based on observation of 4,700 passengers on 53 commuter trains in the Chicago area in early 2015. Findings include:
These findings are part of the Chaddick Institute’s Technology in Travel study, which includes more than 35,000 unique passenger observations since 2009. Passengers are counted once on a given trip. Each year, passengers are observed by trained data collectors to determine how they spend their time while traveling. Among the passengers observed, more than 14,000 were commuter rail passengers in the metropolitan Chicago region. Researchers have also observed 564 air, bus and rail trips throughout the United States. Complete results for intercity air, bus and train travelers and commuter rail passengers are available at http://bit.ly/chaddickresearch.
Kristin Claes Mathews