Chicago completes wireless installation on Blue, Red subway lines

Posted on December 30, 2015

Cragin Spring
Cragin Spring

The Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) entire subway system on the Red and Blue lines now have 4G wireless service coverage, making the city the largest in North America to have full 4G wireless coverage across its entire system of subway stations and tunnels.

The CTA said it has completed the full installation of 4G communications, benefiting the 400,000 customers using the subway each day and marking the fulfillment of Mayor Emanuel’s goal to bring 4G wireless coverage to the 22 miles of subway stations and tunnels on the Blue and Red Lines, CTA’s two busiest rail lines. The CTA most recently completed 4G installation along the Red Line, after completing the Blue Line last month.

The network upgrade, which began in early 2015, now provides millions of Chicago subway riders a faster mobile experience throughout their commutes. The design and installation of the system created approximately 50 jobs.

4G wireless coverage is now available throughout 13 miles of Blue Line subway sections and nine miles of Red Line subway sections. More than 400,000 passenger trips occur in some portion of the CTA subway every weekday.

The 4G wireless project is a $32.5 million agreement brokered by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, with the four major wireless providers — T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint — to finance the network modernization. In January 2015, T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint collectively agreed to fund the design and construction of a next-generation Distributed Antenna System (DAS) capable of supporting the latest 4G wireless networks and mobile devices.

This initiative is one of several efforts by Mayor Emanuel and CTA President Carter to modernize the city’s infrastructure and further improve Chicago’s world-class transit system. Over the past four years, several technology improvements implemented across Chicago’s transit system included expansion of CTA Train Tracker and Bus Tracker functionality, digital displays with service information at bus shelters and rail stations throughout the service region, and a dramatically expanded security camera network.

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