CTA Launches Bus Vision Project

July 2, 2024

Release of report to help guide public conversations about bus-service and future planning

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) today announced the launch of its Bus Vision Project, which aims to examine, evaluate, and reimagine the CTA bus network. The Bus Vision Project will shape how CTA reimagines its bus network and what improvements it should implement in the future. A new Framing Report, released today, provides an extensive analysis of the existing system and key considerations for the future.

“I applaud the CTA in launching this new initiative, which will ultimately help shape the next generation of public transit bus services for Chicago,” said Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. “By taking a holistic review of the bus service needs of all Chicago communities, especially those who are transit-dependent and from predominantly low income Black and Brown neighborhoods, Chicago will soon have a roadmap for a more efficient public transit bus system that provides everyone with equal access to opportunities and resources through smarter services and improved connections.”

The Bus Vision Framing Report focuses on understanding how well the CTA bus network serves the people of Chicago and surrounding communities. It discusses what makes a bus network in general useful, outlines the structure of CTA’s network including where, when and how often buses run, explains what mobility and equity outcomes the bus network produces, how those outcomes could be improved and some of the challenges CTA faces in doing so.

“CTA’s bus service is integral to the how Chicagoans get around every day, and it is critical that we develop a blueprint for the future of bus informed by our riders,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “The Bus Vision Project will involve significant community engagement, and the goal of the initial engagement phase we are kicking off today with the release of the report is to gather information from our riders on their experience riding CTA bus, how they utilize CTA’s bus network, and network improvements they would like to see in the future.”

Bus trips account for more than half the trips taken on CTA’s vast system, and buses retained a higher percentage of ridership than rail during the pandemic. While we continue to have strong bus ridership, mobility patterns throughout the region have changed, and before the pandemic, from 2012 to 2019, CTA saw a sustained bus ridership decline linked to reduced service levels caused by the 2008-2009 recession, shifts in population and jobs, and the emergence of ride-hail services, among other factors.

With the development of the Framing Report, CTA sought to synthesize data and analysis to help understand how these trends have impacted bus uses, and how the bus network is currently serving Chicago—to set the stage for conversations around how it can better do this in the future. Customers and stakeholders can visit CTABusVisionProject.com to download the full Report. The website also outlines key findings from the report, related to the bus system’s essential nature for CTA’s customers, to spark conversation and consideration as the engagement period begins.

Stakeholders are also invited to take a brief survey located on the Bus Vision website about the CTA bus network—what’s working and what’s not. In addition to the survey, additional in-person and other public engagement activities will be planned for this summer and later this year.

Recommendations derived from robust community engagement are anticipated to be defined in 2025 to guide the redesign of CTA’s future bus network. Email ctabusvisionproject@transitchicago.com for more information or to be added to the project contact list.

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