Check out the recent transit-related posts on the Active Trans blog, Write of Way. 


CTA riders dodge service cuts and fare hikes for at least a few more months

CTA riders dodge service cuts and fare hikes for at least a few more months

Following the Metra fare hike earlier this year, Riders for Better Transit has been monitoring the looming possibility of another round of fare increases and service cuts for CTA.

Fortunately for riders, it sounds like the CTA will be able avoid service cuts and fare hikes this year. However, it's unlikely the CTA will be able to dodget this bullet next year.

One of our Facebook followers commented on this news, "Now if we could only find money to restore the service cuts from two years ago." We agree. It's such a struggle for our region just to maintain current transit service, but our public transportation system should be moving forward, not backward!

Let's aim for better transit, not just keeping what we have. We need to increase investment in transit in our region.

Ultimately, the recurring transit budget crisis is the responsibility of our elected leaders who have put transit on the back burner.

We transit riders need to speak up together and send a loud and clear message to Springfield and Washington that transit needs to be a priority. Let's get their attention before service cuts and fare hikes are proposed for next year! You can take action now by sending a message to Congress here.

RTA Releases Green Transit Plan

RTA Releases Green Transit Plan

And we didn’t think transit could get any greener!

RTA has released its new Green Transit Plan and Riders for Better Transit is excited about it!

Our favorite part?

“Each year, the region’s transit system saves 6.7 million metric tons of carbon from being emitted into the atmosphere. That’s equivalent to 750 million gallons of gas or taking one million automobiles off the roads.”

The plan also offers some other great statistics about why transit is so essential to our region:

  • In 2011 over 648 million rides were taken on transit in the Chicago region. That’s more than twice the population of the United States.
  • Households in the Chicago region can save up to $11,500 each year by riding transit.
  • Transit produces less than 1 percent of regional greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Between 2005 and 2008 carbon emissions per transit ride decreased 5 percent.

It quantifies the environmental benefits of the region’s public transit system and will serve as the roadmap for how transit can help the Chicago region become more sustainable. It also provides a vision for a more environmentally-friendly transit system that can maximize the environmental benefits of transit in the future.

And a big part of that plan is growing ridership! The more people that ride, the fewer cars we have on the road and the greener our transportation choices as a city!

Download a copy of the Chicago Regional Green Transit Plan and learn more about the environmental benefits of transit by visiting

Chicago Architecture Foundation launches exhibition on BRT

Chicago Architecture Foundation launches exhibition on BRT

On June 1, the Chicago Architecture Foundation is kicking off a new exhibition about bus rapid transit (BRT), followed by a panel discussion about BRT on June 6.

The free exhibit -- called Bus Rapid Transit: Next Stop, Chicago -- will focus on how we can improve public transit and make Chicago more livable. You can also learn about the city’s plans for BRT.

A panel discussion -- Ticket to Ride: Bus Rapid Transit–Cleveland, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago -- takes place on Wednesday, June 6, 6 p.m.

Panelists will compare and contrast how BRT relates to issues of economic development, urban revitalization, sustainability and livability. Transportation officials from Cleveland, San Francisco New York City and Chicago will participate in the discussion. Advance reservations are required. A reception precedes the panel discussion.

Time: 6-8 p.m.
Cost: $5 Chicago Architecture Foundation members/$10 non-members
Location: Chicago Architecture Foundation Lecture Hall, 224 S. Michigan Ave.
RSVP here


Western/Ashland BRT project needs your input

Western/Ashland BRT project needs your input

CTA has announced the dates for three open house meetings about bus rapid transit (BRT) on the Western and Ashland Corridor.

Not familiar with BRT? Check out our article to learn about the special features, time savings and how it's working in other cities to make commutes faster, more reliable and more convenient.

What is the Western and Ashland Corridors BRT Project?

The CTA, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration, is exploring options for a variety of BRT features and service on both Western and Ashland Avenues.

The study area extends approximately 21 miles along Western and Ashland Avenues, from Howard Street on the north to 95th Street on the south.

Information presented will be the same at all meetings.

The purpose of each meeting is to:

  • Introduce the project and the alternative analysis (AA) process. The AA is a study of the potential impacts of the various project options. Each option or “alternative” includes different features and service plans.
  • Provide additional information to the public about the project.
  • Solicit feedback from the community on the project.

Learn more about the meetings and the project.


May 24—Learn about bus rapid transit in the 25th Ward

May 24—Learn about bus rapid transit in the 25th Ward

Residents of the 25th Ward and surrounding areas are invited to attend an informational community meeting to learn about bus rapid transit, a great new transit option that could be coming to your area soon.

Bus rapid transit (BRT) is a NEW transit service that would provide a fast and affordable way to get around, offering the conveniences of light rail without the rails!

The CTA will be exploring the possibility of this service on Western and/or Ashland avenues in the coming months. Come learn how it could improve your commute!

Join us and learn more about this exciting project coming to the 25th Ward and voice your ideas or concerns about public transportation needs in your community.

Location: National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 West 19th Street
When: Thursday May 24th to 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Contact: Brenna Conway,; (312) 427-3325 x 392.

Bus rapid transit may be in your transit future

Bus rapid transit may be in your transit future

Come to a public open house on the bus rapid transit project coming to Chicago's downtown. The open house will be held Wednesday, May 2 at 5 p.m. at the Chicago Architecture Foundation's Lecture Hall at 224 S. Michigan Ave. Learn more.

Did you know a new form of public transportation is coming to Chicago? It’s called bus rapid transit (BRT), and it will expand your transit options, making trips faster, more reliable and more convenient.

The photos pictured here show the BRT facilities in Mexico City.

Bus rapid transit provides the reliability, speed and quality of service of rail, but with the flexibility and cost efficiency of using buses on existing streets. Cities around the world--from Bogotá to Cleveland--have found BRT to be their best opportunity for expanding transit choices.

Don’t confuse BRT with your average city bus

Regular buses get held up by traffic congestion and lines of riders paying one-by-one as they board. This can lead to delays, bus bunching and slow travel speeds.

While regular buses average nine miles per hour, BRT’s limited stops and dedicated lanes with signal priority allow vehicles to travel faster while largely avoiding street congestion. BRT stations also function like train stations, with riders paying before they board--reducing time spent at each stop.

These are some of the core elements that set apart the most effective bus rapid transit systems:

Dedicated lanes help reduce traffic delays and road conflicts, making BRT vehicles faster and more reliable and making streets safer.

Pay-before-you-board stations reduce boarding times, while the permanence of stations provides economic development benefits similar to train stations.

Transit Signal Priority helps transit vehicles stay on time and reduces bunching by giving them preferential treatment at traffic lights.

At-grade boarding makes vehicles more accessible to seniors, people with disabilities and parents with strollers, while also reducing boarding time.

Check out a video of Bus Rapid Transit in action in Mexico City.

BRT in other US Cities

• Los Angeles, Calif.: The Metro Orange Line was so successful that a four-mile extension is under construction.

• Eugene, Ore.: The Emerald Express increased transit ridership by 74 percent and reduced trip times by 30 percent.

• Cleveland, Ohio: The Healthline, funded in part by private companies and institutions that benefit from the service, has generated more than $4 billion in new development and redevelopment along the route.

What can Chicagoans look forward to?

Chicago is developing three BRT routes, which will improve and enhance the city’s entire public transportation system. The Chicago BRT Task Force--which includes Active Transportation Alliance, Chicago Architecture Foundation, Civic Consulting Alliance, Metropolitan Planning Council, Urban Land Institute-Chicago, and other philanthropic, civic and nonprofit partners--is assisting CTA and CDOT as they develop Chicago’s system plan for BRT.

Later this year, the CTA will implement elements of BRT on the South Side along Jeffery Boulevard. Already a high-ridership bus route, Jeffery will be enhanced from 103rd Street and Stony Island Boulevard to the Loop, including dedicated lanes, limited stops, and enhanced stations between 67th and 83rd streets, as well as transit signal priority between 73rd and 84th streets.

Over the next couple months, the city will also begin public meetings for the East-West Transit Corridor and Western/Ashland Corridor.

The East-West Transit Corridor BRT plan includes designated bus-priority lanes on two miles of streets in Chicago’s Central Business District. The route would serve Union Station, Ogilvie Transportation Center, the CTA Red and Blue Line subways, Streeterville and Navy Pier.

A new, off-street transportation center just south of Union Station is also part of the concept. By promoting transit, biking and walking, this new route would make the Loop an even more attractive place to do business, visit and live.

The city will also be studying the feasibility of BRT along Western and/or Ashland avenues, from Howard to 95th Street--approximately 21 miles.

Active Trans has been partnering with the Metropolitan Planning Council to conduct outreach for BRT in this corridor by meeting with aldermen and community organizations to spread the word about the benefits of a possible BRT route. A 2011 report by the nonprofit Metropolitan Planning Council, which outlined a vision for BRT in Chicago, ranked this route highly, not only because it would fill existing gaps in the city’s transit network, but also because of the high potential to spark economic and community development in the neighborhoods traversed by the route.

Public meeting on Bus Rapid Transit in the Loop May 2

Public meeting on Bus Rapid Transit in the Loop May 2

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), in partnership with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and 42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly, invites you to attend a public open house on bus rapid transit (BRT).

The meeting will be held Wednesday, May 2 at the Chicago Architecture Foundation's Lecture Hall at 224 S. Michigan Ave.

The new BRT service in the Loop will provide riders with fast and reliable connections throughout the central business district – from Union Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center through the Loop and over to Streeterville and Navy Pier.

The open house begins at 5 p.m.

Open session: 5 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Attendees can view and discuss project plans with CDOT, CTA and the project team. Written feedback can also be submitted at this time.

Presentation: 5:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
Ald. Reilly and CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein will make introductory remarks on BRT. CDOT Deputy Commissioner Luann Hamilton will present the city’s plans for the Central Loop BRT project.

Open session: 6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Attendees have a final opportunity to view and discuss project plans with the project team and submit feedback.

49th Ward residents choose how to spend $1 million in infrastructure this week!

49th Ward residents choose how to spend $1 million in infrastructure this week!

If you live in Chicago's 49th Ward, you can help choose how to spend $1 million on neighborhood improvements this week!

Ald. Joe Moore uses a participatory budgeting process to decide how to allocate 49th Ward aldermanic menu money. This money can be spent on infrastructure improvements such as bike lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks, transit station amenities and street safety improvements.

Residents of the 49th Ward will have a say by choosing through a ballot process which projects get funded. If you live in the ward, you can choose to support projects that will make your neighborhood a better place for biking, walking and transit.

The Voting Assembly is this Saturday, April 28. Learn more about the projects on the ballot and the process.

Not sure if you're in the 49th Ward? Check here. 

Bus rapid transit is getting attention nationwide

Bus rapid transit is getting attention nationwide

Check it out! Bus rapid transit is getting a lot of attention all over the country. This article in The Fast Lane, a blog by US. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, discusses the new bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Austin, Texas, as well as BRT systems in Colorado and San Jose, California.

The article describes what makes bus rapid transit so great--namely giving the bus a dedicated lane where it doesn’t have to compete with cars.

This and other improvements to the route and stations allow bus service to operate efficiently and predictably, providing an experience that is more like riding the train.

Riders for Better Transit is working to bring BRT to Chicago. We’re excited about the potential new plans for BRT in the Loop, as well as along the Western/Ashland corridor. Stick with us for all the latest updates on the project!

Image courtesy of the CTA.

Thanks for a great Transit Day of Action!

Thanks for a great Transit Day of Action!

On Thursday, April 12, Riders for Better Transit held a second Day of Action to garner support for Transit Fast Forward—state legislation that will provide better funding for public transportation.

The evening started with passing out action alert flyers at Union Station. Then we headed to Boston Blackies restaurant for a few beers to celebrate our hard work!

Thanks to the help of our dedicated volunteers, around 12,000 flyers have been distributed in the past two months! Our goal is to increase the visibility of the bill and tell our elected officials that transit is important and should be well funded so that we can have a faster, more reliable transit system.

And a special thanks to Active Trans board member Steve Schlickman who encouraged his University of Illinois Chicago students to come help us out!

To volunteer or learn more, please contact Brenna Conway at

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