CHICAGO – In an era where strategic plans and agency reports are often the standard result of government and agency work, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) of Northeastern Illinois and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace Suburban Bus and ADA Paratransit are working to “think outside the booklet.”

“We worked for two years with our regional transit agencies and stakeholders to produce an important Regional Transit Strategic Plan,” says Leanne Redden, RTA Executive Director. “We take the document to speaking engagements and distribute it to those interested, but we wanted to go a step further. So, we produced Invest in Transit the video, to share our passion about the second largest transit system in the country and the projects that are critical to its continued success.”

The agency began using videos to reach, and highlight, riders and the system’s funding needs last year. The agency produced three “seasonal” videos, playing off of opportunities offered by Halloween, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve to playfully grab viewers’ attention. RTA staff wrote, appeared in and produced the three videos. When it came time to distribute the 5-year Regional Transit Strategic Plan, the agency felt it had to get a bit more serious.

“For the second year in a row, our transit agencies are facing operating cuts in our state funding in 2019 and we’re closing in on nearly a decade of no new capital funding from the state,” says Redden. “We’re much too reliant on the federal capital funding we receive and this year, for the first time in years, all three agencies raised their fares. Transit is central to our city, region and state. We have to find a way to make it a priority. In a place where transit has existed in some form for 100 years, it’s easy to take it for granted; we have to tell riders and legislators that we literally can’t afford to do that.”

The agency released a “trailer” for Invest in Transit over its social media networks and website to build anticipation for the August 1 release of the video.   The video will be available on the RTA Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sites, as well as on its website.