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How the system is working

The RTA tracks and evaluates the effectiveness of public transit in the Chicago region along key metrics. Read below to see how the region is performing and how we compare to our peers. View the latest data on the State of Transit Dashboard, Finance Dashboard, and Strategic Performance Measures Dashboards.

Regional Transit Report Card

People with backpacks cross a street in downtown Chicago as an elevated Metra train goes by in the background.
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Published in April 2022, the latest Regional Report Card found that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant and negative impact on nearly every performance measure and will likely continue to affect transit performance for years to come. The report, which looks at data submitted to the FTA’s National Transit Database, found that ridership in our region, which had declined for seven consecutive years before the pandemic, dropped dramatically in 2020. Annual Systemwide ridership for 2020 totaled 230.9 million, a 58 percent decrease from 2019.

In better news, capital investment saw a positive shift following the passage of Rebuild Illinois, a 2019 capital construction bill that allowed new funding streams to pay for transit investment. Regionally, capital expenditures in 2020 increased 19 percent to $900 million, the highest level since 2013.

Read more in the Regional Report Card and Sub-Regional Report and find archived reports in the RTAMS Digital Document Library.

How the Chicago region compares

An elevated CTA train crosses a Metra train in downtown Chicago.
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Chicago has one of the largest public transit networks in the country, but to understand how well we are serving the region, we must compare ourselves to our peers. 

Published in February 2024, the Regional Peer Review compares performance of our transit system to those in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. Read the 2022 Regional Peer Review.

Also published in February 2024, the Modal Peer Agency Review (formerly known as the Sub-Regional Peer Review) compares Chicago transit to peers carefully selected to allow for the closest possible match of operating characteristics. For each service mode operated in the RTA region – urban bus, heavy rail, commuter rail, suburban bus, and ADA paratransit – a peer group of five agencies has been chosen. Read the 2022 Modal Peer Agency Review.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

People enter and exit a CTA train, with the woman in the foreground out of focus.

An important way to measure how the system is working is by asking our customers. For the past decade, the RTA has sponsored a collaborative effort to offer a region-wide customer satisfaction survey that produces a consolidated, comprehensive view of the system by asking a set of common questions to customers of CTA, Metra, and Pace. 

The 2022 Customer Service Satisfaction Survey results are now available for

Large-scale customer satisfaction surveys were conducted in 20112013 and 2016.

Recent blog posts on how the system is working

About a dozen people with backpacks exit a Metra train with the sun close to the horizon.

Federal infrastructure dollars are flowing to the RTA system, with needed capital projects underway

Approximately $250 million in federal capital funding, largely from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)...

Pace and RTA investments in ADA services help reach regional transit goals

Each quarter, the RTA provides an update about progress toward the three goals of the Invest in Transit strategic reg...

Survey shows current riders are more likely to be essential workers or minorities, feel transit is safe

Although ridership on the Chicago region’s transit system has dramatically declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, mor...

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