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RTA Survey Shows Chicago Area Visitors Prefer Using Transit

July 6, 2015

Regional Transit System Helps Visitors Enjoy the Chicago Area this Summer

CHICAGO – As the Chicago area summer finally kicks off, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is sharing the results of its first-ever Chicago Area Visitors Survey.  The survey examined travel behaviors among visitors to the Chicago region, whether taking a trip into Chicago from the suburbs or traveling to the region for another state or country.  Nearly 3,700 respondents were surveyed, including people who live within the six-county region and made a trip to an event, museum or convention in the Chicago area, and visitors who live outside the six-county region.

“This survey allows us to determine how well our transit system is accommodating those who visit our region and where we can make improvements,” said Leanne Redden, RTA Executive Director. “We are excited that so many visitors view our transit system as a reliable and, economical source to get around our beautiful region and its impact on our region’s economy is undeniable.”

The results highlight several key points and reinforce the importance of our transit system to our region:

  • Nearly 60 percent of those living in the Chicago region and visiting the major tourist locations used public transportation for at least some of their trip.
  • Nearly half of visitors from outside the region use transit and those who chose not to cite lack of familiarity with Chicago and its transit system as the main reason.
  • Overall, those who visited the area and chose to use transit found the region’s transit system to be convenient, less stressful and less costly than driving.
  • When people visit the Chicago area, they prefer taking public transportation over driving. 
  • Business travelers and tourists from outside the region use transit frequently.
  • Local residents are familiar and comfortable with using the region’s transit system.

Surveys were taken in high volume areas near tourist areas like the museums, zoos, airports and train stations and were administered by direct contact, emails and websites. The survey was administered by Resource Systems Group, Inc. for $226,336, with 80% paid by the Illinois Department of Transportation State Research Fund Grant and 20% by the RTA.

For more information about the RTA’s Visitor Survey, visit


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.    Riders take more than two million trips each weekday on the RTA region’s transit system in six counties with 7,200 transit route miles throughout Northeastern Illinois.  The Agency also provides customer services including online 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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