January 8, 2009

Mayor Daley Again Urges the State to Enact a Plan to Address Long-term Infrastructure Needs of the Transit System


Mayor Richard M. Daley and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) officials today announced the installation of the agency’s first digital advertising displays along its rail system.


The 47th Street Red Line station is the first CTA station to be equipped with the digital advertising displays, which also will feature next train arrival and other service information and generate more than $100 million in revenue over the next 10 years. Over the next 30-days, the CTA will test the eight displays installed at the station for durability, placement and customer feedback before moving forward with its gradual installation at the remaining 143 rail stations.


“In these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever that all public agencies continue to get the most from every tax dollar, to manage even better and to further cut spending so that more funds can be reinvested in service delivery,” Daley said in a news conference held at the 47th Street Red Line station.


“An initiative such as this one is a perfect example of the kind of public-private partnership we must undertake to keep our transit system strong into the future,” he said.


During the pilot test, the CTA will test the durability of the displays against graffiti, etching and various weather conditions; the ability for customers to clearly view information on display in various lighting conditions; and optimum placement of the displays.


The testing of the rail digital displays is the second pilot of the CTA’s digital communications network, which launched in September with testing of a digital advertising display mounted on the curb-side of a CTA bus. CTA will begin receiving the first 50 of 100 bus signs later this month and plans to have the first half of the order installed by late spring. All 100 CTA buses are expected to be equipped with the displays by this summer.


Under the terms of the agreement, Titan Outdoor will be responsible for the design, purchase, installation, maintenance and repair of more than 1,500 digital displays installed on 100 buses and at all 144 rail stations. There is no upfront cost to the CTA.


Upon completion of installation, the digital displays at rail stations and on buses will be fully integrated with CTA’s Control Center and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC). During an emergency, CTA will be able to override advertisements and post emergency information or real-time service updates. 


“This is an exciting and significant step in our effort to provide clear, timely and easy-to-use service information to our customers who are in-transit,” said CTA President Ron Huberman.


“Before entering a station or going through a turnstile, customers will know when the next three trains will be arriving.  The availability of next train arrival information will allow our customers to better manage their commutes by taking out the guesswork,” he said.


Mayor Daley pointed out that, in addition to creative and cost-effective programs such as the digital displays, to provide a safe and reliable system of public transportation, the CTA needs help from both the federal and state governments to meet its infrastructure needs.


To get the system to a good state of repair, the CTA needs $6.8 billion, the mayor said.


“Congress seems to be moving toward passing an economic stimulus package this month that will create greatly-needed jobs across our state and provide money for public transportation and to help build new schools, bridges and highways.


“Unfortunately, the state legislature hasn’t provided meaningful long term capital funding for the system and we haven’t received capital funds from the state in more than four years.


“Once again, I encourage Springfield to enact a long term infrastructure plan of its own – including funds to build new schools, bridges, highways, improve public transportation and community anchors,” Daley said.


The mayor said Chicago has a good transit system that is getting better.


“Because public transportation is the way that more than 1.7 million people from Chicago and across the region get to and from work each day and live their lives, a modern public transportation system is essential to a good quality of life in Chicago.


 “I want to congratulate the CTA and Titan for creating this partnership that represents one more step toward providing Chicago with a system of public transportation that works for our people and helps make sure that we have a robust transit system into the future,” he said.


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