Report of the Chicago Traction and Subway Commission


The first proposal for a unified transportation system across Chicago and its suburbs.

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In January of 1916, the Chicago City Council and Mayor appointed a group of three engineers, William Barclay Parsons, Bion Arnold, and Robert Ridgway, to “study and report upon transportation conditions in Chicago.” The resulting publication containing their recommendations was published locally that same year by Rand McNally & Company, one such example seen here.

The voluminous study goes into great detail about the research methodology, expected business conditions, expected transit volume, financial incentives, and much more. Laborious text is supplemented by countless charts, diagrams, tables of statistics, and more which recommend the public acquisition of the disparate network of transportation options which included elevated lines, omnibuses, and streetcars.

A collection of large folding maps near the end of the volume provide further visual clarity on the planned improvements, and include a fascinating variety of themes such as residential population distribution (including sheets show just the employees of Pullman and Sears), construction diagrams of proposed subways, and flow charts of passenger transfers. Traffic volumes are also covered by the gigantic chart that tabulates the total train and passenger volume for every station across a 24 hour period.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1916

Author: Rand McNally

Sheet Width (in): See Description

Sheet Height (in): See Description

Condition: A-

Condition Description: Large volume, 444 pp. + 113 pages of appendices, 31 fold-out plates which include maps and charts, and two separate printed tables of traffic along elevated railroads. Bound in original embossed gilt boards covered in green cloth. Old owners inscription and embossed stamp on the front endpapers. Contents are generally very good, with light wear, creasing, and a bit of faint discoloration on the folding plates.


1 in stock