Transit Modernization strategy paper

Transit Modernization

Update: The Transit Modernization and Innovation ON TO 2050 strategy paper is now available and your feedback is welcome. Send your thoughts, ideas, or questions to

Transit modernization charts the path to a world-class system.

From visionary infrastructure projects like elevating trolley cars to form the Loop to technology that can track buses on a phone, innovation has always been part of transit in the Chicago region. Transit infrastructure and operations must continue to adapt as riders demand a qualitatively better travel experience in terms of comfort, speed, safety, reliability, and usability. At the same time, the transit system has a large backlog of unfunded capital needs. Because of the high demand for limited resources, the region must be strategic about where and how to implement enhancements of the transit system, such as by replacing outdated equipment as part of larger maintenance and repair projects.

ON TO 2050 will consider transit improvements that are both practical and aspirational.

With the second largest transit system in the nation, our region can serve as the launching ground for transit innovation. To help accomplish this, ON TO 2050 will build on the work of CMAP's partner transit agencies. Several significant modernization efforts are currently in advanced planning stages, including Bus/Arterial Rapid Transit (BRT/ART), Positive Train Control (PTC), and the CTA Red-Purple Line Modernization (RPM). As these projects approach implementation, now it is the time to start planning for the next generation of initiatives to modernize transit service. During development of the next plan, our research will consider various questions, such as: "Could many small intersection improvements add up to a large impact on bus service?" and "What are some emerging transit technologies and how will we integrate them into our network?"

Despite financially challenging times, the region has a wealth of transit infrastructure to build upon. ON TO 2050 is anticipated to contain ambitious targets for transit ridership. Transit modernization will be key to leveraging past investment to achieve today's goals.

This is your plan.

Continual input by stakeholder organizations and individuals was vital to the development and implementation of GO TO 2040. From now through the next plan's adoption in October 2018 and beyond, CMAP will be engaging a broad cross-section of partners from across the region.

Take a moment to fill out the questions below, and for more information on CMAP's public engagement efforts, please visit

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Transit Modernization