CTA bus in front of station

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Transit is far more than getting from Point A to Point B.

Well-funded and visionary public transit agencies can have a positive effect on economic development, job creation and access to better housing and employment in the communities served by public transit.

This belief is merely the foundation for what we’re doing here at the CTA. Under the vision and leadership of CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. we’re making equity and inclusion a factor in every decision we make—from service changes to job and contracting opportunities. Because we know that something as simple as a new bus route or the extension of a rail line can be life-changing for the people who need it most.

Learn more about how we’re bringing equity and inclusion to the center of our daily operations:

CTA President Carter: An Industry Leader

President Carter on our commitment to equity

Historically, public transit performance has been measured by ridership and revenue. By state law, every year CTA and our regional transit partners Metra and Pace must earn half of our operating revenue from fares and system-generated revenues. That means higher-ridership routes subsidize lower-ridership routes, effectively guiding decisions about where and how much service to provide.

This dynamic has an unintentional but inequitable effect on how we provide service. CTA is among the public transit leaders seeking to change how we serve our most transit-dependent customers.


As post-pandemic ridership demand and patterns continue to emerge, we will make more revisions to various routes based on equity and inclusion, not just financial or ridership considerations. ...

President Dorval R. Carter, Jr.
Read the full letter in the Chicago Sun-Times 

The Equity in Infrastructure Project

In April 2022, the Equity in Infrastructure Project (EIP) launched to drive federal infrastructure funds to historically underutilized businesses (HUBs).

By October 2022, the Chicago Transit Board voted to formally adopt the EIP Pledge, reinforcing our agency’s commitment to increase the number, size and proportion of contracting opportunities for HUBs.

We are proud to participate in this program as one of its “First Movers” – a designation given to the five initial pledge signatories, which include Denver International Airport, the Port of Long Beach, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

January 2023: CTA and SEPTA sign historical small business reciprocity agreement.

Through the EIP, CTA and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority—another EIP First Mover agency—have signed a memo of understanding committing to the development of a first-of-its-kind interstate certification program for Small Business Enterprise (SBE) firms. The program will allow companies to compete as potential prime contractors for small business set-aside contracts with CTA and SEPTA following a single certification, which will help SEPTA introduce and develop the types of educational programs CTA currently offers for small businesses and will open up new markets and contracting possibilities for them. The model we create with SEPTA, once completed, will serve as a proof-of-concept, available for use nationwide.

Learn more 

November 2023: CTA President Carter Named EIP Co-Chair

The Equity in Infrastructure Project has chosen CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. as its co-chair. Carter was one the original five signatories of the EIP pledge, a commitment to helping build generational wealth and reduce the racial wealth gap by assisting HUBs that seek to participate in large infrastructure projects as prime contractors, joint venture partners or as equity participants.

Learn more 

Transportation Research Board keynote lecture

In January 2021, President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. delivered the keynote lecture at the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) virtual 2021 Annual Meeting. As the recipient of the TRB’s 2021 Thomas B. Deen Distinguished Lectureship, President Carter presented his lecture, titled, “Our Work is Never Done: Examining Equity Impacts in Public Transportation.”

More public leadership from President Carter

  • Creating Equitable Communities through Transportation and Housing
    The House Subcommittee on the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (03/25/2021)
    A panel discussion with President Carter and other transportation thought leaders.
  • Loeb50: Mobility in the Post Pandemic City
    Harvard University Graduate School of Design (11/12/2021)
    A lively conversation with Dorval R. Carter, Jr., Seleta Reynolds, and Rit Aggarwala, about the challenges and opportunities posed by the Covid pandemic for the future of cities and transportation.
  • Changing the TIDE in Transportation
    The Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) (02/24/2021)
    CTA President Carter and other leaders take part in the inaugural webinar in a series on equity and the Black experience in transportation.
  • Examining Intersectional Inequalities: A Panel Discussion
    Carroll University (04/30/2021)
    A panel discussion featuring Dorval Carter ’79, President of the Chicago Transit Authority and Chair of the Carroll University Board of Trustees, and Sandra (Cushman) Bagley ’80, Frontline Leader in the Customer Contact Center with Humana, as they reflected on intersectional inequalities in their industries.
  • The Vital Role of Public Transportation in Reopening Our Cities
    Northwestern University's Transportation Center (07/13/2020)
    Panel discussion featuring CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr.  

Projects and plans

Proposed Red Line Extension

The proposed Red Line Extension (RLE) is the most transformational project in CTA’s history. As part of proposed plans, the Red Line would be extended from the existing terminal at 95th/Dan Ryan to 130th Street, while also providing long-awaited and much needed connection to jobs, education, and commerce, while also serving as a catalyst for economic development. Four new stations would be constructed along this 5.6-mile extension near 103rd Street, 111th Street, Michigan Avenue, and 130th Street, plus a modern, efficient railcar storage yard and maintenance facility.

RLE is a community input-driven project with equity as its foundation. Members of the surrounding communities have been and will remain vital in helping shape what will be the most transformational investment in CTA history.

More info on the RLE project 

Map show proposed alignment
Rendering of apartments and a coffee shop near a new train station
Conceptual rendering of area redevelopment near 103rd Street station.

The RLE Transit-Supportive Development Plan uses an equitable Transit Oriented Development (eTOD) planning approach.  In short, eTOD planning seeks to promote development without the displacement of existing residents and achieve community-focused benefits, such as affordable housing, local economic development and environmental sustainability. It can be a driver for more vibrant, prosperous, and resilient neighborhoods that put people of color and lower- and moderate-income residents at the center.

All Stations Accessibility Program

Stylized graphic of riders using accessible transit

Today, our bus and rail fleets are 100% accessible to those who require step-free access to bus and train service and 103 of our 145 rail stations (>70%) are now accessible. The All Stations Accessibility Program (ASAP) Strategic Plan is our blueprint for making the remaining 42 rail stations fully accessible over the next two decades.

This comprehensive plan outlines both short- and long-term station accessibility projects, including repairs/replacement of 160+ existing rail station elevators, cost estimates and a proposed implementation schedule.

More on the All Stations Accessibility Program 

“Charging Forward” our roadmap to bus electrification

Public transit is the greenest and most equitable form of motorized transportation. We’re committed to making it better for everyone by buying new electric buses and building out our charging infrastructure to make our bus fleet all-electric by the year 2040. Following a multi-year analysis, we now have our first-ever roadmap for meeting our goal of the full-electrification of our bus fleet, facilities and supporting infrastructure.

The study, “Charging Forward: CTA Bus Electrification Planning Report,” (appendix) summarizes the findings of key analyses and establishes a practical framework for us to advance towards full electrification—all while ensuring that equity, the environment and the communities we serve are at the forefront of this next big endeavor.

Among the strategic recommendations outlined in the study, are:

  • Which technologies to invest in;
  • Where to install charging infrastructure;
  • How to sequence the electrification of garages and routes;
  • How to ensure that the related facility upgrades are coordinated with other modernization needs to maximize cost effectiveness and overall system reliability; and
  • Outlining an achievable transition timeline for meeting the agency’s 2040 conversion goal.

With the completion of this study, we are now well-positioned to compete for funding, advocate for policies, and drive technology advances that will be essential to implement this plan.

More about our conversion to an all-electric bus fleet 

Better Streets for Buses

“When streets work better for buses, buses work better for people.”

Public bus service is the only travel mode in Chicago that is affordable, accessible and reaches all neighborhoods throughout the entire city. Essential workers and other Chicagoans without alternative options to reach workplaces, grocery stores or medical appointments rely upon CTA buses.

Building on our commitment to make the City’s bus system better for everyone, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), we are developing the Better Streets for Buses Plan. This will be the City’s first framework plan to improve street infrastructure for public bus service, and lay the groundwork for ongoing bus infrastructure improvements by establishing a network of corridors to prioritize and a toolbox of street treatments to consider as solutions.

The Better Streets for Buses Plan will streamline future bus movement and improve the bus passenger experience. These investments in future bus priority improvements will help transit-dependent residents better access resources and opportunities throughout the city. 

More about the Better Streets for Buses Plan