Our region relies on its transit system, which benefits us all — not just the 2 million riders who commute each day by train or bus. Public transportation keeps cars off the roads, reduces congestion for everyone who drives, and improves air quality for all. And the mobility enabled by transit helps our economy and quality of life, giving people more choices for getting around.
Interactive Mobility Data Visualizations Highlight Value, Needs of Metropolitan Chicago's Transportation System
Policy and Planning
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). BRT is gaining momentum as a flexible, cost-effective solution that improves transit and reduces congestion. CMAP has published Land Use Policies and Strategies for Expressway-Based Bus Rapid Transit, a guide for municipalities, transit providers, and transportation agencies to utilize when planning for BRT networks.
Red Line South Extension. Among a handful of GO TO 2040 major capital projects, the Red Line South Extension will add 5.5 miles to this CTA facility. The CTA's most heavily used line, the Red Line is now 22 miles long, and access to it by bus is especially difficult south of 95th Street — the station whose ridership is higher than any outside of downtown Chicago. The Red Line South Extension will streamline those connections, significantly reducing the number of bus-to-rail transfers. Through its Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program, CMAP collaborates with the Developing Communities Project (DCP) and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) on a livability report in support of the proposed Red Line South Extension. The report supplements the CTA's pursuit of federal New Starts funding and serves as an educational resource for the Greater Roseland community, as well as local, state, and federal partners.
Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). During the development of GO TO 2040, CMAP published a strategy paper on TOD. CMAP also partners with the Regional Transit Authority to assist communities in developing TOD plans through the Local Technical Assistance program.
Visualizations Explore the Metropolitan Chicago Transportation Network. Interactive mobility visualizations allow users to explore data on metropolitan Chicago's transportation system, including road, transit, and freight networks, which drive our regional economy.
More About Transit
After decades of underinvestment, our transit infrastructure is aging and in need of improvement. Some people choose not to use transit service due to concerns about delays or infrequent service. Many residents don't even have that choice, because parts of the region lack transit service altogether. Improving public transportation will increase ridership while making transit accessible to more people.
Investing in maintenance will put more of our infrastructure in good condition, reducing delays and increasing reliability. In making improvements, we need to consider how residents perceive transit, because comfort and aesthetics can prompt more people to travel by train or bus instead of driving. So can the use of advanced technology that makes transit more efficient— for example, by providing riders with real-time service status information. To increase coverage of the region, investments should be prioritized to expand bus service in communities that are actively planning for transit-supportive development.
To pay for these improvements, our transit agencies need to address the cost of their services, which have been rising rapidly. New revenue—such as a portion of a potential gas tax increase and congestion pricing revenue—should support transit. The region needs to investigate other innovative revenue sources (such as "value capture) and financing methods (such as public-private partnerships).
Finally, GO TO 2040 recommends taking a limited and conservative approach to major expansion. Rather than pursue expensive transit "mega-projects," our resources must be targeted to improve what we already have. Making the system more efficient and predictable and increasing transit-supportive development will improve access to and utilization of the region's existing transit assets.