CTA Upgrades, Expands Ridership Information Dashboard to Include Dynamic Rail Crowding Data

September 10, 2020

 New dashboard interface offers quick, easy access to customized bus and rail travel data allowing for smarter and safer travel across the CTA 


As part of ongoing efforts to provide a safer, healthier travel environment, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) today announced the upgrade and expansion of its recently launched Ridership Information Dashboard to include dynamic rail crowding data. Launched in June with bus data, the Ridership Information Dashboard was created to help riders better plan their trips and avoid traveling during heavy ridership periods, whenever possible, and to help promote social distancing. 


Available today at transhitchicago.com/coronavirus/dashboard/, CTA customers can now use drop-down menus to see how crowded a bus or train may be, based on their preferred travel times, routes or train stations, direction of travel and schedule.  


“Today’s upgrade and expansion of the Ridership Information Dashboard is the latest step in our ongoing efforts to keep our customers better informed and to continuously evolve our operations during this unprecedented time,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “Now more than ever, we need our customers to be our partners in ensuring CTA remains a safe, reliable transit option. Social distancing is a core component to us fighting the spread of the coronavirus and this tool is one of many measures we’re implementing to provide a safe and healthy travel environment for everyone.”  


The new rail ridership dashboard provides the average rail car crowding levels at each station along the rail line. Customers will be able to customize their search by station origin and destination, hour, direction and by schedule type (i.e. weekday, Saturday or Sunday/holiday). Customers can either tap/click on their station for more detailed information, or simply glance at the number of “people” icons filled in.  


For example, during the 8 a.m. hour on weekdays, Loop-bound Pink Line trains are typically reaching 25-50 percent seated capacity (i.e. 10-20 seats occupied out 40 per rail car) by the time a train departs the California station, which is visually depicted with two filled-in people icons.  


Similarly, the Bus Crowding Dashboard, which also has been upgraded, now features a new interface with drop-down menus for easier trip planning. To see crowding conditions on buses, customers simply need to select the direction of travel of their preferred bus route and the schedule type (i.e. weekday, Saturday, Sunday). Results are then displayed by the hour using a color-coded system (Blue: Seats and space available; Yellow: Limited seats and space available; Red: Seats and space may not be available). 


The CTA has taken a number of steps to promote social distancing. In coordination with the Chicago Department of Public Health, CTA set maximum passenger capacity limits (i.e. seated and standing) for its vehicles: 15 passengers on a standard 40-foot bus, and 22 passengers on a 60-foot articulated bus and each rail car. Additionally, CTA has been running as much service as possible, and has added longer trains and buses on some lines and routes to ensure adequate space. 


Refreshed weekly, both dashboards show the latest ridership trend based on a two-week rolling average. Crowding by bus route and rail car should be viewed within in context of the established COVID-19 vehicle maximum passenger capacity limits. Customers should also note that less-crowded conditions may exist on portions of each bus route or may vary by rail car, and the dashboard presents the two-week rolling average of ridership by the hour.  


CTA is continuing to work on longer-term technology tools that would provide real-time information about capacity levels on buses and trains.  


More information on CTA’s efforts throughout the pandemic is available at transitchicago.com/coronavirus. 


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