Today’s weather forecast: Extensive cloudiness, very warm and muggy with periods of showers and thunderstorms. Heavy rainfall totals possible causing localized flooding.
Besides literally “raining out” the swim plans of regional school children winding up summer, flooding is also a big issue for buses. Roadway flooding is an operational challenge for Pace and CTA. The CTA estimates that 10% of the City of Chicago’s more than 1,500 roadway viaducts are considered “troubled” by frequent flooding.
The RTA, in partnership with CTA and Pace, recently kicked off a study that will develop a bus rerouting plan and customer notification process for Pace and CTA routes that are frequently impacted during heavy rain and flooding events. These flooding events can have multiple, negative impacts, including reduced bus service reliability, increased operating costs, lower ridership revenues and inconvenienced passengers.
The project scope, being led by consulting firm AECOM, will identify and map flooding impacts throughout the RTA region and overlay them with bus routes to identify routes most susceptible to flooding, both currently and in the future. These routes will then be ranked based on ridership and other socio-economic and demographic characteristics. A resiliency plan will then be prepared for the top ten ranked routes, which will include rerouting plans, a customer notification strategy and an inventory of resiliency strategies that can help mitigate current and future flooding. The customer notification strategy will be designed to inform riders of both short-term and long-term reroutes and may take the form of text messages, variable message board announcements, web site and social media updates.
The study is expected to take approximately a year to complete, with the final report available in late summer 2017. This study is funded through a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation.