Invest in Transit: the 2018-2023 Regional Transit Strategic Plan Adopted by RTA Board

After two years of research, close collaboration with the CTA, Metra, and Pace, outreach to stakeholders, and public comment, the final Invest in Transit: the 2018-2023 Regional Transit Strategic Plan was adopted by the RTA Board of Directors on January 18, 2018. In addition to the main plan, an accompanying document, Invest in Transit Priority Projects, which outlines and describes the unfunded capital priorities for CTA, Metra, and Pace, was also adopted by the Board.

What is it?

The 2018-2023 Regional Transit Strategic Plan (the Strategic Plan) provides a visionary roadmap for near-term transit investment in the RTA six-county area. Through the Strategic Plan, the Chicago region’s transit agencies – RTA, CTA, Metra and Pace – joined forces to talk about the capital investments that are needed over the next five years to deliver great public transportation in light of changing demographics, transportation, and technology. The resulting Strategic Plan will serve as a guide to each of the transit agencies in planning and funding future projects as well as carrying out the unique day-to-day activities needed to meet passenger needs that vary widely across the large and diverse region.

Why do we need it?

The transit agencies are challenged by an old and aging transit system, limited funding, and a changing mobility landscape. The process to develop the Strategic Plan provided an opportunity to talk about pressing issues and invite the transit agency Boards, stakeholders, staff, and the public to collaborate in developing shared priorities and solutions for the transit system. Further, the RTA is required to prepare and adopt a Strategic Plan every five years, as mandated by the 2008 RTA Act. This new plan will replace the existing plan, the 2013-2018 Regional Transit Strategic Plan, in early 2018.

How did we do it?

The Strategic Plan development process started in 2016 with staff-led research and analysis. Throughout 2017, the RTA shared the results of that work with stakeholders and asked for input on priorities and strategies. The draft Regional Transit Strategic Plan was then made available for public comment during December 2017. The RTA Board will consider adoption of the plan in January 2018. 


Conduct RESEARCH to develop a foundation for plan development


ENGAGE stakeholders and the public


ADOPT the 2018-2023 Regional Transit Strategic Plan


Throughout 2017, transit agency staff collaborated with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) as CMAP develops ON TO 2050, the next regional comprehensive plan that will cast a long-term vision for the region. The ON TO 2050 development process includes extensive public outreach and several workshops that will be used as a forum for collecting public input related to the transit system. See the CMAP website for a list of public events and opportunities to participate.

Previous Activities

In May 2017, the RTA released Beginning the Discussion, a summary of challenges and opportunities facing the region’s transit system today. The work was based on staff-led research conducted in 2016 and identified several important priority for the Strategic Plan to address.