Why this is important
Transit is a lifeline for many riders, and since the start of COVID-19, when, where, how and why many residents use transit has changed. Transit needs to be more flexible and adapt to what is needed at this moment to connect more people to opportunity. While there are many activities underway to advance changes to the transit network, the agencies are also experiencing significant operator shortages and hiring challenges, which limits their ability to meet current service or flexibility needs.
Begin development of a transit-friendly communities plan that will set standards and hold accountability for communities that host transit services to ensure that our riders can travel safely and efficiently.
Update RTA Transit Access Index to equitably assess access to opportunity across the region.
Procure new tools and datasets to conduct market analysis on the changing needs of riders.
Conduct panel surveys to gain public input on demands for travel and customer experience.
Explore new and strengthen existing microtransit and shared mobility programs to improve first and last mile connections and overall access to transportation.
Continue to advance service optimization as described in Meeting the Moment Action Plan.
In line with new strategic plan My Metra, Our Future, provide regional rail service that supports sustainable connected communities.
Conduct a system wide network plan to assess travel market demand including public engagement, ridership modeling, capital cost analysis, and operation simulation.
Begin network revitalization and restructuring as envisioned in Driving Innovation Strategic Plan.
Implement short-term plans for innovative service throughout the region.
Input from stakeholder working groups
Stakeholder working groups propose prioritizing access to opportunity by improving service frequency and reliability, particularly in low-income neighborhoods and communities with a demonstrated transit need outside of traditional peak service hours. Working groups also suggest developing regional service policies to guide how service is distributed across the region to adapt to the changing and unmet needs of riders.
What we as a region could do with more resources
There is a major transit funding crisis looming, but with more resources beyond the “budget gap,” the agencies could provide additional service across the region and continue to develop new service models identified in each of the Service Boards’ plan initiatives.