The Regional Transportation Authority of Northeastern Illinois (RTA) board voted to adopt “Transit is the Answer,” the 2023 regional transit strategic plan that has been in development for more than a year.
The plan’s vision is “Safe, reliable, accessible public transportation that connects people to opportunity, advances equity and combats climate change.” The plan outlines 14 key Areas of Advocacy and Action that were co-created with stakeholders to guide priorities in areas like funding, safety, speed, and reliability.
In addition, it identifies a number of actions that the RTA, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra, and Pace will work together on this year, including pursuing additional funding for operations, convening a safety and security summit, exploring an expanded regional free or reduced fare program for people experiencing low incomes, and developing a regional transit climate action plan.
“The adoption of this plan represents a regionwide united front to meet the challenges facing transit head-on and to make crucial improvements to the system,” said RTA Board Chairman Kirk Dillard. “Our board comprises representatives from all six counties in Northeast Illinois. Representatives from the CTA, Metra, and Pace spoke in support of the plan and have played an active role in its development. Our team co-created the plan with more than 100 riders and stakeholders and heard from thousands about their priorities. The result is one of the strongest strategic plans the agency has ever seen, which matches the urgency of this moment for our transit system.”
To continue the strong engagement seen throughout plan development and to achieve transparency, the RTA announced quarterly Transit is the Answer Coalition meetings.
“None of the challenges facing our regional transit system can be solved by one agency alone,” said RTA Executive Director Leanne Redden. “‘Transit is the Answer’ offers a strong roadmap, but now we need to continue to work together to win sustainable funding and build a better system for everyone who relies on it. Joining the ‘Transit is the Answer’ coalition means staying informed on implementation and acting together to fight for our region’s future.”