The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) released its 2010 Regional Peer Report Card this week in an effort to improve the transparency, accountability and overall service of the region’s public transit system. The Chicago transit agencies’ overall performance fared well in comparison to their peers.

“We’re very excited about our region's ranking; the report shows we are positively impacting the mobility needs of the residents and businesses of the Chicagoland area,” said Grace Gallucci, RTA Senior Deputy Executive Director, Finance and Performance Management and Chief Financial Officer.

The report serves as an oversight function to help manage the region’s public transit system, evaluating service coverage, service efficiency and effectiveness, service maintenance and capital investment, and service level solvency. Data reported to the National Transit Database (NTD) by all transit agencies that receive federal funding is used for comparison purposes. The peer regions include aggregated data for multiple transit agencies serving those communities and focus on the top ten U.S. metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Chicago ranks third as the largest metropolitan area after New York and Los Angeles.

Within the four categories measured, the Chicago region’s transit system ranked as well or better than its peers in 14 of 15 measures. Those measures include:

Service Coverage – transit capacity per area resident, vehicle revenue miles per service area square mile, passenger trips, passenger trips per area resident and passenger miles;

Service Efficiency and Effectiveness – operating cost per unit of transit capacity, operating cost per passenger trip and operating cost per passenger mile;

Service Maintenance and Capital Investment – percent of vehicles beyond useful life and miles between major mechanical failures; and

Service Level Solvency – fare revenue per passenger trip, non-fare revenue per passenger trip, fare recovery ratio, capital program expenditures and capital program expenditures per area resident.
The one area the region did not score well in is the area of Service Maintenance and Capital Investment where the measures help highlight the challenges associated with the region's aging infrastructure and the need for increased capital funding.

The Performance Measures Report Card was developed back in 2008 as part of the RTA’s oversight function to help manage the region’s public transit system. And while the RTA applauds the transit agencies for their overall performance, serious challenges still exist, primarily due to a lack of transit funding.

“The Service Boards are doing well managing the current physical condition of our transit system despite gross underfunding,” said RTA Executive Director Joe Costello. “They are making the repairs and replacing equipment as much as possible with available resources, but the report further confirms the need for funding to address some of these key issues.” Federal legislation is pending to decide the fate of transportation funding, and the RTA is advocating for reliable funding that will address state of good repair needs.

The RTA’s Regional Performance Measures Report Card follows requirements in the 2008 transit reform legislation and recommendations made by the Illinois Auditor General in a 2007 performance and funding audit.

Review the 2010 Regional Peer Report Card.

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Press Contact

With three transit systems and more than two million riders a day, there is always something interesting going on at the RTA. Get the latest scoop on everything all in one place. For all media inquiries, please contact Susan Massel, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, at 312-913-3256 or at communications@rtachicago.org.