Contact Contact

2023 will be an important year for the Chicago region’s transit system, here’s what the RTA is planning

January 5, 2023

22 RTA 1054

2023 will be a critical year for the Chicago region’s transit system, which contributes to our region’s economic, social, and environmental health in ways and at a scale nothing else can.

In February, the RTA Board of Directors will consider adoption of Transit is the Answer, the five-year regional transit strategic plan, which was informed by an unprecedented level of rider and stakeholder engagement over 18 months. The plan details how investing in our transit system can help the region address some of its most urgent challenges.

Following adoption, the RTA, along with CTA, Metra, and Pace, will immediately work together to implement changes that will improve the transit experience and ensure funding for the future.

The region’s transit system is expected to experience a $730 million annual operating deficit starting in 2026. During the planning process, the RTA, with experts from CTA, Metra, Pace, and CMAP, analyzed 27 federal, state, and local options for new revenue and identified the 11 options with the most potential to fairly contribute to stable funding.

In 2023, we will take affirmative steps forward to secure increased funding for transit operations and make the system less reliant upon fare revenue through:

  • Executing a broad public outreach campaign of education about transit funding and continuing to engage a coalition that will secure sustainable, ongoing funding.
  • Collaborating with regional partners to identify funding options and developing revenue proposals.
  • Obtaining continued recovery ratio relief from the Illinois legislature while developing permanent funding structural reform.


In 2023, we will deliver a set of new regional transit initiatives that will make the system better for riders including:

  • Convening a region-wide, cross-sector safety and security summit to facilitate information sharing and explore holistic solutions to the challenges affecting transit.
  • Seeking funding to pilot an expanded regional free or reduced fare program available to people experiencing low incomes to make the system more affordable and advance understanding about the barriers that fares present to riders.
  • Commissioning an independent review of the accessibility and quality of rider communication, signage, and information-sharing across and between agencies.


In 2023, we will collaboratively begin development of three regional action plans to program investments that support a thriving region including:

  • A regional blueprint for improved accessibility that builds upon existing Service Board plans and provides a comprehensive inventory of capital projects and supporting infrastructure improvements needed to achieve a fully accessible regional transit system.
  • A regional transit climate action plan that builds upon existing Service Board plans and identifies how transit can support the region’s climate action goals, outlines regional strategies that will encourage more people to ride transit, and charts a course to reduce the footprint of the transit system and move toward zero-emissions for transit operations.
  • A transit-friendly communities policy, updating the RTA’s Setting the Stage for Transit report, to set standards for communities and hold them accountable for land-use decisions and improving access to transit to ensure that our riders can travel safely and efficiently.

These tasks will be undertaken jointly by the agencies, in addition to and in collaboration with other activities outlined in key plans issued by all three agencies recently including:

  • CTA’s customer-focused “Meeting the Moment: Transforming CTA’s Post-Pandemic Future” Action Plan released in August 2022 that includes strategic initiatives designed to immediately respond to riders’ most pressing challenges.
  • Metra’s new strategic plan “My Metra, Our Future,” released for public comment in October 2022, that includes a revised vision, mission, and goals for the agency and will serve as a roadmap to the future of Metra.
  • Pace’s current strategic vision “Driving Innovation” adopted in September 2021 that establishes major planning and policy initiatives and priorities for the coming years

Stay informed

Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed on these activities as they proceed, and join our Transit is the Answer coalition to take action and advocate with us for our transit system’s future.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

* indicates required
Type your email address here
What emails would you like to receive from the RTA
Tagged in: Transit is the Answer | RTA | CTA | Metra | Pace

Related Articles

22 RTA 0922 RTA unveils 2024 legislative agenda to address fiscal cliff, improve regional transit system

Since the adoption of Transit is the Answer, the strategic plan for the region’s transit system, the State of Illinois has taken important legislative action...

November 27, 2023
Peer regions RTA to create guide for local governments to enact transit-friendly policies

Transit can only be as strong as the surrounding built environment — or all the structures and developments that surround a transit station or stop — allows....

October 18, 2023
221107 RTA 1617 CMAP completes report on regional transit for Illinois General Assembly

This week, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) completed its Plan of Action for Regional Transit (PART) report and will submit it to the Illi...

October 13, 2023
Engagement and transparency RTA launches performance measures dashboards to track progress on strategic plan outcomes

The RTA’s regional transit strategic plan, Transit is the Answer, identifies six key outcomes that are needed to achieve the plan’s vision of “safe, reliable...

October 4, 2023
Des plaines Des Plaines Developer Panel discusses new TOD on Oakton and Lee Street

In June 2023, the City of Des Plaines participated in a Developer Discussion Panel held at Des Plaines City Hall, supported by the RTA’s Community Planning p...

September 18, 2023
Peer regions What Illinois can learn from transit funding packages in peer states

Public transit plays an essential role in the lives of millions of riders across the Chicago region and has the potential to reach even more people — but the...

August 24, 2023
Copyright © 2022 Regional Transportation Authority. All Rights Reserved.