RTA, Pace begin study of express bus network along I-294 Tollway

The RTA and Pace have partnered to study opportunities for express bus services along the I-294 Tri-State Tollway corridor. The agencies have selected AECOM, a global engineering company, to provide consulting services on the RTA/Pace I-294 Tri-State Market & Facilities Study, which began in early 2020 and is expected to take one year to complete.

I-294 is a major north-south corridor that connects several critical employment centers with dozens of communities in Cook and DuPage Counties. It links together several key expressways, major Pace bus routes, CTA and Metra rail lines, and O’Hare International Airport. The I-294 Tri-State Tollway experiences traffic between 120,000 and 185,000 vehicles on a typical day and is the most heavily used road in the Tollway system.

Pace has identified I-294 as a critical corridor for building out its emerging rapid transit network. The completed RTA/Pace I-294 Tri-State Market & Facilities Study will explore existing and future travel patterns along the corridor, ways the Pace network can be improved to better capture riders, and ways that passenger facilities and other infrastructure can capitalize on Flex Lanes and other planned roadway improvements being implemented through the Illinois Tollway’s Central Tri-State reconstruction project.

“This is yet another great example of how public dollars are being leveraged across multiple agencies and community partners to deliver mobility improvements,” said Ryan Ruehle, a planner and project manager at Pace. “The study is the first step for Pace to utilize a rare and unique opportunity to expand its growing network of dependable and affordable express bus services that connect people to employment throughout the region.”

AECOM is currently reviewing travel market data and roadway plans within the study area to assess potential transit service and infrastructure design options. Study findings and recommendations will be shared with local community stakeholders in late 2020 through early 2021.

Support for the project includes technical assistance from the RTA’s Community Planning program, as well as allocation of $190,475.67 in federal funds and $47,618.92 from Pace.

The RTA Community Planning program offers technical assistance and funding to local governments and intergovernmental organizations to address local planning needs at the intersection of public transportation and land use.