Ashland Corridor BRT

The CTA, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Economic Development, and the Federal Transit Administration, performed a year-long planning study to assess options for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on both Ashland and Western Avenues.

After analysis and input at public open houses, BRT is now planned for 16 miles of Ashland Avenue from Irving Park Road to 95th Street, with the first phase now being designed for central Ashland Avenue from Cortland Avenue to 31st Street with ongoing public input.

While BRT is planned for 16 miles of Ashland Avenue from Irving Park Road to 95th Street, implementation will be phased. The first phase is being designed for the central area from Cortland Avenue to 31st Street. BRT on Ashland Avenue is moving into its engineering and environmental design phase where the route and configuration will be comprehensively analyzed on a block-by-block basis.

Why Ashland?

Demand: Ashland Avenue has the highest bus ridership of all CTA routes with 10 million boardings in 2012, over 31,000 per weekday

Access to Jobs: Provides access to nearly 133,800 jobs, including large employment centers such as the Illinois Medical District

Popular Destinations: Serves UIC, Malcolm X College, United Center, and 99 grammar/high schools

Connections to Transit Network: Provides access to seven CTA ‘L’ stations, two Metra stations, and 37 bus routes

Need: Provides much-needed non-downtown, north-south connection

Residents: 1 in 4 households located within walking distance of Ashland Avenue do not have a car

Speed/Time: Up to 83% increase in bus speeds

Width: At 70-feet curb-to-curb, road is wide enough to construct BRT

Safety: Improved lighting, ADA ramps, center station platform to provide pedestrian refuge when crossing, and fewer left-hand turns, which are a major cause of vehicle accidents

Investment: BRT can be a development magnet for residents and business and increase retail sales

Reliability: 50% more reliable than the local bus

Riders: Saves the average commuter nearly 65 hours per year compared to local bus

How It Works

BRT offers riders faster, more reliable service and new, amenity-filled stations with enhanced, landscaped medians between stations. Local bus service will remain in addition to the BRT service.

Other features include:

  • Dedicated center running bus lane in each direction to keep buses out of general traffic during boardings
  • Limited stops: every 1/2 mile and at CTA ‘L’ stations
  • Transit Signal Priority intersections and longer green lights to keep traffic moving
  • Potential pre-payment for faster boarding, similar to ‘L’ stations
  • Wide doors on left side of new, high-capacity vehicles
  • Improved lighting, ADA ramps and real-time travel info
  • Maintains existing medians and adds more than 75 blocks of new streetscaping, including medians and sidewalks

In order to accommodate BRT, the following adjustments would occur:

  • Elimination of two vehicle travel lanes (one lane in each direction), typically leaving one travel lane in each direction
  • Small reduction in parking (92% retained) and loading zones (96% retained)
  • Removal of left turns

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