Mayor Emanuel Announces Chicago Transit Authority Now Offers 4G Wireless Service Throughout All Subways

December 29, 2015

Through Innovative Arrangement with Wireless Carriers, CTA is the Largest Public Transit System in the U.S. with 4G Coverage in all Subway Stations and Tunnels

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Transit Authority today announced that the entire subway system on the Red and Blue lines now has 4G wireless service coverage, making the City of Chicago the largest city in North America to have full 4G wireless coverage across its entire system of subway stations and tunnels.

The CTA said it has completed the full installation of 4G communications, benefiting the 400,000 customers using the subway each day and marking the fulfillment of Mayor Emanuel’s goal to bring 4G wireless coverage to the 22 miles of subway stations and tunnels on the Blue and Red Lines, CTA’s two busiest rail lines. The CTA most recently completed 4G installation along the Red Line, after completing the Blue Line last month.

“The completion of 4G wireless installation through the entire CTA subway system marks a major step forward in the service we provide Chicagoans, and is the latest step in building a world-class transit system in Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This is a great example of the good work the Infrastructure Trust and corporate partners can do for Chicago. CTA customers can now easily text, email and stream anywhere, making commuting on the CTA and traveling between downtown even more convenient.”

The network upgrade, which began in early 2015, now provides millions of Chicago subway riders a faster mobile experience throughout their commutes. The design and installation of the system created approximately 50 jobs.

4G wireless coverage is now available throughout 13 miles of Blue Line subway sections and nine miles of Red Line subway sections. More than 400,000 passenger trips occur in some portion of the CTA subway every weekday.

The 4G wireless project is a $32.5 million agreement brokered by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust,with the four major wireless providers – T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint – to finance the network modernization. In January 2015, T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint collectively agreed to fund the design and construction of a next-generation Distributed Antenna System (DAS) capable of supporting the latest 4G wireless networks and mobile devices.

“4G wireless communications is just one of the cornerstones of the CTA’s commitment to investing in technology,” said President Dorval R. Carter Jr. “This coverage increases safety by providing more reliable communications for CTA personnel and emergency responders, and it complements other technologies that are enhancing the way we commute, including expanded transit tracker information and the installation of more than 23,000 security cameras throughout our bus and rail system.”

“In January of this year, the wireless agreement participants, along with the CTA, the City of Chicago, and the Chicago Infrastructure Trust announced the commitment to complete the network upgrade implementation by the end of 2015,” said Jennifer Silveira, Vice President of Engineering for T-Mobile, the project’s lead wireless provider. “Today, we are thrilled to announce that the project is complete and millions of Chicago subway riders can now enjoy 4G service, connecting them to co-workers, business partners, friends and family throughout their commutes on the Red and Blue Lines.”

This initiative is one of several efforts by Mayor Emanuel and CTA President Carter to modernize the City’s infrastructure and further improve Chicago’s world-class transit system. Over the past four years, several technology improvements implemented across Chicago’s transit system included expansion of CTA Train Tracker and Bus Tracker functionality, digital displays with service information at bus shelters and rail stations throughout the service region, and a dramatically expanded security camera network.

About the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

The CTA operates the nation's second largest public transportation system and covers the City of Chicago and 35 surrounding suburbs. On an average weekday, more than 1.6 million rides are taken on CTA buses and trains.

About the Chicago Infrastructure Trust

The Chicago Infrastructure Trust was created in April 2012 by executive order of Mayor Emanuel and City Council resolution. The Trust’s purpose is to assist the people of the City of Chicago, the City government and its sister agencies in providing alternative financing and project delivery options for transformative infrastructure projects. Visit the Trust's website at www.chicagoinfrastructure.org

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