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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 performance reporting on our Strategic Performance Measures Dashboard.

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Regional Transit Report Card

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.


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How the Chicago region compares

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 August 2022, the Regional Peer Review, compares our region to other large metropolitan areas including Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC.

Read more in the Regional Peer Review and Sub-Regional Peer Review, and find archived reports in the RTAMS Digital Document Library.

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Customer Satisfaction Surveys

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. 

Large-scale customer satisfaction surveys were conducted in 20112013, 2016, and a third was begun in early 2020 – which had to be suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Results of a 2022 survey will be released soon.

In the meantime, RTA is reaching out to customers who have expressed an interest in providing periodic feedback regarding regional transit service. If you are interested in joining future panel surveys, please email the RTA.

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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