At the Regional Transportation Authority’s March board meeting, Board Chairman John S. Gates, Jr. announced an effort with the CTA, Metra and Pace (“service boards”) to advance five priorities intended to advance a collective vision for the region’s transit system. Leaders from the three service boards provided input and endorsed this collaboration effort that aims to reduce costs, increase transit ridership and improve service.

The priorities include:

  • Strategic Capital Investment: Targeted at reducing operating costs, this priority will focus on identifying capital projects that could result in reductions in operating expenditures.
  • Economies of Scale: Exploring unified purchasing effort and identifying areas where coordination with the service boards and other government agencies could achieve cost savings and improve efficiency such as possible purchases of fuel, insurance, utilities.
  • Increased Use of the Transit System: Maximize utilization of existing system by presenting a system-wide approach to improve coordination among the service boards and access to transit, reverse commute markets, weekend and evening service
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Linked with increasing the use of the system, a stronger focus on targeted capital and technology related projects, inter-agency and way finding signage, e-signage, service information, fare payment coordination.
  • Coordinated government affairs, marketing, outreach: Coordinate with the service boards on customer information and increase coordination and leveraging of partners and other stakeholders.

“Specifically what this initiative means for transit riders is that the service boards and the RTA will be able to provide greater mobility, transit that is even more accessible, taps state-of-the-art technology and delivers a better customer experience overall,” said Gates.

He acknowledged earnest efforts in working with all four agencies to achieve efficiencies, but said the five priorities will help maximize results. “These priorities are common sense approaches, because it doesn’t make sense for us to continue having areas of administrative and operations overlap and under-utilization of the transit system,” he added.

Inter-agency teams have been formed to propose short-term priority projects reflected in the 2012 budget process as well as long-term projects, and measurements will gauge progress, successes and challenges, explained Joe Costello, RTA Executive Director. He added, “We are enthusiastic about the prospects to achieve greater efficiencies and increase ridership to demonstrate the important role that transit plays in restoring economic and growth, relieving traffic congestion and improving air quality.” Results will be reported on a regular basis to agency boards, legislators and the public.

The Illinois General Assembly is currently considering House Joint Resolution 24 which would allow the Senate and House to hold joint hearings over the summer. The hearings will focus on the success of this initiative and evaluate where the legislature and new laws could help this agenda.

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With three transit systems and more than two million riders a day, there is always something interesting going on at the RTA. Get the latest scoop on everything all in one place. For all media inquiries, please contact Susan Massel, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, at 312-913-3256 or at