Public transportation is a vital part of making the Chicago region more sustainable. The Chicago region’s transit system, which is comprised of the RTA, CTA, Metra and Pace, saves more than 6.7 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year - that is equivalent to taking 1 million cars off the road each year. Additionally, the well-utilized, reliable and safe RTA system spurs economic development, reduces congestion and improves mobility for the region’s residents, employees and visitors.
The RTA and its partners - CTA, Metra, Pace, IDOT, CMAP and CDOT – have developed the Chicago Regional Green Transit Plan, which calculates the environmental benefits of transit in the region and provides a roadmap to making the transit system and region greener. As the sustainability and climate action plan for the region’s public transportation system, the Chicago Regional Green Transit Plan recommends a series of strategies to grow transit ridership and market share, promote transit-oriented communities, improve operational efficiency and green the transit system.
With the goal of advancing some of the strategies identified in the plan, the RTA, CTA, Metra and Pace have agreed to collaborate in the completion of several follow-up investigations related to green transit:
- Bus Route Flooding Resiliency Plan - This project identified CTA and Pace bus routes that are prone to flooding during both average rain events and extreme weather events. A plan of recommendations was developed that identifies ways to mitigate flooding issues in the future as well as ways to reroute service during flooding events. Implementation of the recommendations will improve citizen mobility, minimize impacts and inconveniences to riders, and reduce negative impacts on operating costs and ridership revenues.
- CTA Wayside Energy Storage System (WESS) Assessment – In 2017, the RTA and CTA assessed opportunities for deployment of wayside energy storage systems (WESS) on the CTA Red Line in order to take advantage of the regenerative braking capability of the CTA’s 5000 Series “L” cars. Although CTA does not plan to move forward with a WESS on the Red Line at this time, further information on the assessment, including a link to the final report, can be found in the Going Green section of the CTA Website under Clean Vehicles.
- Metra Wayside Energy Storage System (WESS) Assessment – In 2018, the RTA and Metra assessed opportunities for deployment of wayside energy storage systems (WESS) on the Metra Electric Line. Findings suggest that the return on investment does not justify installation of WESS under current conditions. The final report contains energy modeling findings and information on applicable WESS systems for potential future use.
- Metra Alternative Fuel Locomotive Study – In 2018, the RTA and Metra will investigate the feasibility of converting some portion or all of Metra’s locomotive fleet from diesel fuel to a form of natural gas or other alternative fuel.