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:

Equity pledge

In April 2022, the Equity in Infrastructure Project launched to drive federal infrastructure funds to historically underutilized businesses. We are proud to be one of the First Mover signers of its Pledge. Read the press release 

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.

At the start of the pandemic, the CTA maintained all of its scheduled service, recognizing that transit is crucial for essential workers and transit-dependent riders. And even though the pandemic has impacted our workforce — making it difficult to provide all bus and rail trips, and occasionally resulting in longer wait times for customers — CTA continues to provide as much service as possible, as transit peers across the country make cuts.

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. The CTA Board — which approved last week’s service changes and comprises long-time transit and equity advocates — deserves credit for its continued support of these important policy decisions.

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

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


It’s fair to say that we’ve now reached a tipping point in the public transit industry, where it’s no longer a wishful idea, it is a must—especially in urban areas—that we take this opportunity to redefine the new normal and focus on the needs of our most vulnerable and transit-dependent riders. And at the CTA, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

Equity in public transit is more than just individual projects, it’s a way of thinking.

Michael Connelly, Chief Planning Officer

Read the full post in Connections, the Regional Transportation Authority blog 


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.

Michael Connelly, Chief Planning Officer

Read the full post in Connections, the Regional Transportation Authority blog 

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