Certification Information

Introduction to the DBE Program

The Chicago Transit Authority's DBE program is governed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). Each year, CTA's DBE Program establishes an annual percentage of the total dollar value of our overall procurement activities to DBE firms. Disadvantaged businesses wanting to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to them under the DBE program must be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by a minority or woman and be certified by CTA or any participating agency in the Illinois Unified Certification Program (IL UCP).

The Chicago Transit Authority's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program demonstrates the Authority's continued commitment to the success of minority/and women-owned businesses by promoting contracting opportunities to DBEs within transit.


The Program

The DBE Program and Contract Compliance groups serve as units within the DBE/EEO Programs/Contract Compliance Department. These units certify minority and women business enterprises and carries out the mandates of DBE compliance for the Authority's contracting activities.

CTA DBE certification is also accepted by Illinois Department of Transportation, City of Chicago, Metra and Pace. Follow this link to obtain a Unified Certification Application, or contact the DBE Program office at 567 W. Lake Street, or call (312) 664-2601.

In addition, the DBE Program also conducts various outreach activities and training programs designed to assist its DBE vendor base.

  • The Business Development Program is designed to assist DBE firms on expanding their capacity and capabilities to compete for procurements both within and outside of the Authority.
  • The annual Transit Symposium and Business Exchange is a one-day event to create platforms for mutually beneficial relationships among manufacturers, contractors, suppliers and professional service firms in transit. It encourages vendors to participate in an ongoing dialogue of development and partnerships which will broaden business opportunities in both the public and private sectors.


Getting Certified

The best way to begin your business relationship with the Chicago Transit Authority is to become CTA certified as a DBE.

You can download our DBE application at Any firm who can demonstrate it has received IL UCP certification from another agency will be recognized by CTA as an eligible DBE and need not reapply to CTA.


90-Day Certification Process

The CTA is required pursuant to the USDOT regulations to process DBE applications within 90 days of receipt of all information. In order to meet this requirement, the CTA requires all prospective DBE firms to correctly complete the DBE certification application along with all required supporting documentation. Please carefully review the checklist of supporting documentation contained on page 17 of our DBE application for further details.


Assist Agencies

There are a number of agencies that provide assistance to DBE firms. These "Assist Agencies" provide service in one or more of the following areas:

  • Certification: These agencies can explain the certification process and help with the completion of the certification application.
  • Construction: These agencies have programs and services specifically designed to assist companies seeking work on CTA sponsored construction projects. Assistance often includes links to prime contractors, help with preparing bids, explanation of DBE requirements and access to plans and specifications.
  • Bid Notification: Assist agencies are notified of all formal bid advertisements by CTA on a daily basis. In turn, these advertisements are shared with their respective members.

Click here to get a current list of Assist Agencies.


DBE Directory

Every month, the CTA publishes a listing of all IL UCP certified DBE businesses. You can download the most recently updated publication here to get a current directory of certified businesses. You can also secure a hard copy of the listing at:

Diversity Programs Department
567 W. Lake Street, 4th Fl.
Chicago, IL 60661

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