Why a Strategic Plan?
The Regional Transit Strategic Plan is intended to be used as a roadmap to shape the future of the region's transit system. Having such a plan forges a thoughtful and coherent basis by which decisions can be made. To avoid being driven by time sensitive, near-term issues, the Strategic Plan attempts to highlight the most important issues that face transit in the region over the next five years, allowing transit to make near-term decisions in light of future consequences and to respond effectively to developing issues.
What is the latest news on the Strategic Plan Update?
Throughout the planning process the RTA periodically releases materials and updates. Below are latest in a series of handouts and materials being distributed to the public and partner agencies.
From December to February 2013, an online survey was conducted seeking opinions about the existing Regional Transit Strategic Plan's Vision and Goals. In response to the survey input and comments, RTA staff working with its partners prepared a draft revised Vision, Goals and Objectives.
Revised Vision and Goals
Revised Vision Statement:
A world-class regional public transportation system providing a foundation to the region's prosperity, livability, and vitality.
• Goal A: Provide valuable, reliable, accessible and attractive transportation options
• Goal B: Ensure financial viability
• Goal C: Promote a green, livable and prosperous region
• Goal D: Advocate for and be a trusted steward of public transportation
State of Transit
The past five years have presented significant challenges to transit in this region. The illustrative timeline presents some of the more notable things that have happened in the past recent years.
Benefits of Transit
The broad reaching benefits of investing in transit are well acknowledged. Not only does public transportation benefit those who use it, but it also benefits society -- individuals, families, communities, and businesses -- as a whole. Among other things, transit reduces congestion, gives people mobility options, provides access to jobs, helps the environment and supports economic development. The Northeastern Illinois region has a long history of committing to transit. The document includes some facts and statistics to tell you why.
The RTA values input of how to better the regional transit system. As a first step to updating the region’s Transit Strategic Plan (Moving Beyond Congestion), the RTA conducted an online survey to gather input on the current plan’s Vision and Goals. The survey was launched on December 19, 2012 and closed on January 31, 2013. The RTA received over 1,500 responses from members of the general public, stakeholders and elected officials. We were pleased with the breadth of representation in these responses. Summary of Survey Results. Text version of survey results. If you have any comments or questions regarding the strategic plan please email them to
How does this update relate to other RTA Plans?
Recognizing the value and need for a unified regional vision for transit, in 2007, the RTA in partnership with CTA, Metra and Pace developed the Moving Beyond Congestion (MBC) Strategic Plan. The vision, goals and objectives as laid out in this Strategic Plan coupled with the RTA's 2008 reform legislation, has shaped and directed much of transit's strategic activities in the Northeastern Illinois region in the past few years. This initiative will be an update of the MBC Strategic Plan.
More recently, in 2012, Executive Director Joe Costello released a corporate strategic plan (The Way Forward) for the RTA that set out agency strategic priority initiatives. This document simply re-asserted the RTA's commitment to the goals of the current Strategic Plan and helped to translate the plan's goals and objectives into tangible outcomes.
Why update the Strategic Plan now?
Since 2008, the RTA has made advancements in its planning and financial oversight activities that allow the region to be better informed and more business-minded in its decision making. A Regional Market Analysis conducted in 2009 provided a better understanding of transit's market opportunities and how to improve transit's competitiveness. A newly established program assessing the region's transit Capital Asset Condition helps us better understand the system's capital needs and to help guide capital investment decisions. The adopted Performance Measures program enables us to regularly track and monitor the overall performance of the transit system, allowing the region to examine its performance over time and against peer regions. The RTA also completed the first Regional Customer Satisfaction study, which now provides a consistent way of gauging customer input across all the service boards. A Regional Green Transit Plan completed in 2012 unifies and furthers transit's role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These and other strategic endeavors culminate to a stronger base of information and analysis about our transit system, our customers, the environment in which transit is managed and operated, and the emerging issues that we face.
Additionally, in 2011, through the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's (CMAP's) GOTO 2040 Plan, the region re-affirmed its desire for transit and set an ambitious goal to double transit ridership by 2040. This goal re-asserts transit role in supporting vibrant, more sustainable communities. It also urges the RTA to reassess how we plan, invest in, and promote public transportation throughout the region.
Inputs and Important Documents