Earlier this week, the RTA led a workshop to gather feedback from various stakeholders as part of our work in developing the 2018-2023 Regional Transit Strategic Plan. The Plan will provide a visionary roadmap for near-term transit investment throughout the RTA six-county area, to continue to provide world class public transportation in an environment of changing demographics and new technologies. Roughly 60 stakeholders from transit agencies, transportation non-profits and other governmental organizations attended the workshop to provide input on the Plan’s priorities and strategies.
Public transportation in our region faces many challenges: an aging transit system, limited funding and a changing mobility landscape. The Strategic Plan provides an opportunity to talk about these pressing issues with stakeholders throughout the region and to develop solutions.
What did this workshop look like to the participants? In one case, an RTA staffer facilitated a discussion with staff from Pace Suburban Bus, DePaul University, the Northwest Municipal Conference, TMA of Lake County and the Shared Use Mobility Center. Their discussion centered on mass transit in the suburbs and asked three main questions:
- The need for more capital funding is a huge issue – what should we do about it?
- What types of investments in transit would be most effective in the suburbs?
- In a changing transportation landscape, how do we stay competitive?
One of the group’s biggest takeaways was that no matter how big their ideas were, investments need to be sufficiently funded. Our state hasn’t had an infrastructure improvement or capital bill since 2009. If we want to be competitive and build on successful services like CTA’s Red Purple Line Modernization, Metra’s rehab of train cars and investment in Positive Train Control and Pace’s Bus on Shoulder service, we need to have funds to bring public transportation into the future.
There were a lot of smart and engaging people in the room bringing forth thoughtful solutions to the issues we face in transportation. The Strategic Plan will be a reflection of that amazing collaboration. We’re nearing the finish line and we want to hear from you, the public. The draft Regional Transit Strategic Plan will be available for public comment in fall of this year. Stay tuned for more information about opportunities to provide input by subscribing to the RTA Blog or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.