The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), along with the CTA, Metra and Pace and municipal partners, have collaborated to create a new system of wayfinding signage in stations and bus stops to make transferring between transit services easy, even for the novice transit customer.

The RTA’s new interagency signage and wayfinding program is designed to accommodate customers making rail-to-rail connections, as well as bus-to-rail connections. Destination options are clearly identified on complementary information panels conveniently located at decision points along the walking transfer path. The information panels provide several navigational tools including maps, route diagrams and/or schedules to help customers get around the region’s transit system.

The signage project has been installed at four pilot sites in the region:

  • Van Buren Station - a hub for Metra, CTA trains and buses
  • Davis Station (Evanston) - a hub for Metra, CTA trains and buses, and Pace buses
  • Joliet Union Station - a hub for Metra and Pace buses
  • 95th and Western - a hub for CTA and Pace buses

The Downtown Connections Initiative at Union Station is a collaborative effort led by the RTA and builds upon the interagency signage design. In conjunction with Metra, Amtrak and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, signage was designed and installed by agency staffs to improve the quality and quantity of wayfinding information provided to passengers arriving at Chicago Union Station. The enhanced wayfinding signage complements the existing signage within the station and is intended to make it easier for Metra and Amtrak customers to reach their final downtown destinations by transit or walking.

Here’s how it works:

  • For customers making train to train connections, signage directs customers between rail platforms.
  • Bus-to-bus customers are provided wayfinding signs that direct them to the connecting bus boarding areas.

Customers will find wayfinding signage along the walking transfer path to help direct them to their boarding area. Customers leaving from Union Station can choose their destinations from a list of major downtown Chicago attractions. The information panel lists the bus boarding areas and route numbers. Signage within Union Station directs the customer to the appropriate bus stop, as well. Bus boarding areas at all locations will be identified with a letter (A-D) above the current bus stop sign.  

The RTA designed these products to be as intuitive as possible using extensive user research and feedback.  “We want to make transfers as seamless as possible, so that getting around the region is as easy as possible whether a customer chooses to take just one service or needs to make multiple connections to reach their destinations," said RTA’s Joe Moriarty, Principal Analyst and project manager.

“The launch of this new customer oriented initiative complements the RTA's overall strategic priorities of enhancing the customer experience, as well as delivering a cost-effective way of maximizing the use of CTA, Metra and Pace services,” said RTA’s Executive Director Joe Costello.

City of Chicago, City of Evanston, City of Joliet, Village of Evergreen Park, all helped with the efforts at the four pilot locations. Design of the Interagency Signs was led by TY Lin, Inc., Carol Naughton & Associates and CHK America.  Manufacturing and installation at the four pilot sites was done by Bunting Graphics, Inc.  H.M. Witt & Co. manufactured and installed repositionable signage at Union Station.

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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.