BRT Chicago

October 2013

Supporters continue to sign up to back BRT in Chicago

Businesses, schools and non-profits are signing up to support the development of a Bus Rapid Transit network in Chicago. In the past few weeks, the following organizations declared support for modern, reliable and fast public transit:

Bar Bar Black Sheep
Chicago Health Tech
Congress for the New Urbanism
The Delta Institute
East Village Dental
Great Point Energy
IMD Guest House Foundation

See the full list of supporters to the right.

To become a BRT supporter, click here, or connect with Chris Ziemann, BRT Chicago, at, or through John Harris, a5, at

Central Loop BRT engineering design moving forward

As the Central Loop BRT progresses in its final stage of design, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has been meeting with stakeholders in the project area to discuss the anticipated street layout, benefits, impacts and schedule moving forward. Preliminary designs for new boarding stations, inspired by the winning entry of this year’s Burnham Prize, will also be unveiled soon. Construction is expected to start in Spring, 2014 with service starting late 2014.

The Central Loop BRT will be a fast, easy and reliable option for getting around Chicago’s congested downtown, connecting people to jobs, businesses and attractions from Union and Ogilvie Stations to Michigan Avenue. The corridor will use dedicated bus lanes on Washington, Madison, Clinton and Canal to move people through downtown, improving reliability and speed for more than six bus routes in the area, while extending benefits to neighborhoods throughout the city where these routes originate. Bicycle travel in the Loop will also be improved with protected bike lanes on Washington, Randolph and Clinton.

BRT in the Central Loop will strengthen Chicago’s economy by improving access to jobs and attractions downtown, and generating foot traffic to businesses along the way. By making it easier to get to work and go about daily activities, the Central Loop BRT will also improve everyday life for residents, employees and visitors.

Learn more about the Central Loop BRT at CDOT’s website.

The many faces of Chicago’s bus rapid transit advocates

Over 2,000 people have joined the Transportation Alliance campaign to bring a world-class bus rapid transit system to Chicago.

Active Trans threw a little party to showcase just how many people are excited about BRT on Ashland Ave. and throughout the city. They learned, however, that there’s no such thing as a small gathering of Ashland BRT supporters – folks turned out in droves.

Almost 100 people came to the Cobra Lounge Tuesday, October 15 to show their support for BRT and smile for the camera. Dozens of attendees signed up to volunteer with the campaign and just about everyone in attendance pledged to come out to upcoming public meetings the CTA will be hosting to review the plan with residents and transit users.

After, participants joined a BeeRT Pub Crawl with Streetsblog writers down Ashland to point out the features of the BRT.

Read more here.

MPC talks BRT with Greater North Michigan Avenue Association

At the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association’s Planning & Advocacy Division Meeting on October 18, 2013, Peter Skosey from the Metropolitan Planning Council presented on the benefits of Bus Rapid Transit and led a discussion of the potential benefits on Michigan Avenue. Because so many buses and routes move along the Magnificent Mile, BRT would increase speed and reliability for bus riders going to work, shopping, or living in the River North/Streeterville area. Phil Levin also noted that improved transit access could also lead to lower vacancy rates and better economic development for the area.

Preceding Mr. Skosey’s presentation, Jeff Sriver from CDOT and a representative from the Illinois DOT spoke on the exciting North Lake Shore Drive reconstruction study that is currently underway. The Active Transportation Alliance, MPC, and others have been involved in this project, advocating for, among other things, BRT on LSD. That study is expected to be completed in 2016.

Los Angeles BRT rolls forward, expanding

In the U.S., no metro area is as congested and dominated by auto traffic than metro Los Angeles. In 2012, the INRIX National Traffic Scorecard called LA the "Worst City for Traffic". Drivers lost an average of 59 hours annually in traffic.

Yet, change is coming to the LA metro area. Since 2005, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been running Bus Rapid Transit on a 14-mile east-west corridor that used to carry rail freight. Today, the Metro Orange Line carries nearly 27,000 passengers each weekday, up 5,000 per day since its first year of operation.

According to an article in the State Smart Transportation Initiative's newsletter, "BRT offers modern, appealing service with competitive commute times that can attract increased ridership and choice riders."

With the success of the Metro Orange line, the LACMTA opened the Silver line BRT in 2009. Running 26 miles from downtown LA south, the Silver line now carries nearly 15,000 passengers per day. During peak travel times, the Silver Line runs every four to eight minutes--reliably.

More BRT is on the way in LA. The LACMTA plans to roll out an expansion of the Metro Orange Line from North Hollywood station to Bob Hope Airport in Burbank and the County will open a new Wilshire Boulevard BRT in Summer 2015. According to Metro, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, "when implemented, bus passenger travel times are expected to improve by an average of 24%. Up to a 10% mode shift from mixed flow to bus use is projected. Based on the bus travel time improvements and associated ridership increases experienced with the Metro Rapid Program to-date, transit ridership along the Wilshire corridor is anticipated to increase between 15% and 20%."

Currently one of only five "true" BRT systems in place in the U.S., Los Angeles is showing that BRT puts more people on public transit, and gets them where they need to go quickly, reliably and easily.

What is BRT Chicago?

BRT Chicago is a unique collaboration of city agencies and non-profit partners. CTA, CDOT, and DHED, with the work of the Metropolitan Planning Council, the Active Transportation Alliance, the Civic Consulting Alliance, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation, are working to plan and implement a successful Bus Rapid Transit program in Chicago. Each partner provides its own expertise to make the BRT a comprehensive project of transportation, land use, design, and sustainability.

BRT has been identified as an effective transportation solution in Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has pledged to develop BRT in Chicago. The Chicago Climate Action Plan also identifies BRT as a cost-effective way to expand the city’s transit network. To meet increased demand, the CTA is using elements of BRT on its new Jeffery Jump service, and will along Madison and Washington Streets in the central business district to connect Union Station with Navy Pier. The CTA, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Economic Development, is planning the potential BRT routes along Ashland Avenue.

Learn More

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