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RTA Encourages Commuters to Celebrate Earth Day_Friday

April 24, 2015

Learn the 25 ways transit helps the region

CHICAGO – The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), along with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace, celebrated Earth Day 2015 on Wednesday, and are continuing this weeklong campaign to encourage regular transit riders and those who may not use the system’s public transportation system often to ride the system and celebrate its benefits to our planet.

Throughout the week, the RTA and Service Boards highlighted five ways transit helped the region each day. The transit agencies are now rounding off the week with a list of all 25 ways transit is benefitting our region and riders. The RTA encourages everyone to share this information on social media pages and remind friends and family about the many benefits of transit to our region.

Today’s 25 ways transit benefits our region’s transit system are:

Improves Your Quality of Life

  • Metra has purchased 160 new Electric District Highliners, providing accessible bathrooms and electrical outlets to over 40,000 daily commuters.
  • Metra invests millions of dollars each year to improve the safety, security and comfort of stations across the region.
  • All CTA and Pace buses are accessible for people with disabilities, improving their mobility.
  • Pace provides Wi-Fi on its new express buses, allowing customers to have a more productive commute.
  • CTA has installed more than 23,000 security cameras across its bus and rail system.

Saves Money

  • Pace’s conversion to Compresses Natural Gas bus operations will save an estimated $3.5 million in fuel annually.
  • The upcoming rehabilitation on 41 Metra locomotives to ‘like new’ condition will reduce annual maintenance costs.
  • Transit saves rush-hour drivers $400 a year by reducing the number of cars on the road.
  • CTA’s new 5000-series rail cars are estimated to save up to 15% in electricity usage as a result of regeneration during braking.
  • Individuals who switch from driving to taking public transit can save almost $1,000 a month.

Preserves the Environment

  • Pace is purchasing 91 Compressed Natural Gas buses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • CTA and Pace reduce fuel usage by operating hundreds of hybrid buses and paratransit vehicles.
  • Metra has installed automatic engine start-stop systems on 78 locomotives, cutting fuel use and diesel emissions.
  • CTA energy efficiency projects save over 3 million kilowatt-hours each year.
  • CTA’s bus and rail fleet wash systems recycle approximately 80% of the water, saving up to 16 million gallons of water each year.

Generates Economic Development

  • Every $1 invested in public transportation generates $4 in economic returns, nationally.
  • Annually, 21,800 jobs are supported by every $1 billion in transit investment nationwide.
  • Nationally, nearly 90% of jobs created by transit infrastructure spending are middle-class jobs.
  • Transit investment provides jobs to people in industries with unemployment rates higher than the national average.
  • CTA’s Your New Blue project will create more than 1,300 good –paying jobs in construction, engineering, design and other construction-related fields.

Saves You Time

  • The Red Line South reconstruction reduced the commutes of more than 80,000 riders by up to 20 minutes.
  • The Englewood Flyover will eliminate up to 7,500 hours of Metra delays each year on the Rock Island District.
  • The CTA Central Loop BRT will save commuters up to 8 minutes a day between Union Station and Michigan Avenue.
  • Pace’s Pulse arterial rapid transit service on Milwaukee Avenue will reduce commute times in the corridor up to 20%.
  • Pace’s Bus on Shoulder service on I-55 saw a 25% improvement in on-time.

Earth Day is one of the largest events in the world when people of all ages and backgrounds pledge to improve and protect the environment. The first Earth Day, celebrated nearly 45 years ago, on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental laws soon followed.

Please visit the agencies’ social media pages listed below to “like,” “share” and “tweet” about the 25 ways transit helps our region.



Learn more about the transit’s system plan for improving sustainability by reading the Chicago Regional Green Transit Plan at CTA’s Going Green site at Learn more about Pace’s “Go Green with Pace” by visiting Visit to see the full list of 25 ways Transit Helps the Region.


About the RTA
The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is the only transit agency charged with regional financial oversight, funding, and transit planning for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace bus and paratransit. The RTA region serves two million riders each weekday in six counties with 7,200 transit route miles throughout Northeastern Illinois. The Agency also provides customer services including on-line and telephone travel planning assistance and travel training for seniors and people with disabilities. For more information, visit

Press Information

Melissa Meyer

Communications Manager
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