Interagency Signage

Sign of Bus Times

The RTA has developed a series of signs, maps, route diagrams and schedules to help riders more easily navigate the regional transit system. All of these products are designed to complement and reinforce each other, making transferring between services seamless and intuitive. The plan is to deploy these signs and information products at major transfer points where CTA, Metra and Pace services connect.

The interagency signage program is a collaborative effort between the RTA, its Service Boards, (CTA, Metra and Pace) and municipal partners. Substantial customer testing was used to help refine the design and messaging of the signage products.

The new signage system has three types of products; wayfinding signs, neighborhood identification signs and service information panels, which include route maps, timetables and connection information.

Four test locations were installed in 2013 at the following locations:

  • Van Buren Street Station: Connecting the Metra Electric line, South Shore line, CTA rapid transit and buses, and Pace buses
  • Davis St., Evanston: Connecting the Metra Union Pacific – North line, CTA rapid transit and buses, and Pace buses
  • Joliet Transportation Center: Connecting the Metra Rock Island and Heritage Corridor lines, Pace buses and Amtrak train services
  • 95th and Western: Connecting CTA and Pace buses

In August 2014, the RTA, CTA, Metra and Pace completed the RTA Interagency Transit Passenger Design Standards Manual. These design standards were based on experience from the test sites and are essential for promoting consistency across RTA transit services. In addition to using the design standards for this project RTA expects that the standards can be used by Northeastern Illinois municipalities and the Service Boards to promote transit connections in a consistent manner.

Sign installation has continued at other major connection points in Downtown Chicago over the past years including:

  • LaSalle Street Station: Connecting the Metra Rock Island Line to CTA buses and LaSalle/Van Buren, Blue Line Clinton Rapid Transit stations
  • Chicago Union Station and the Union Station Transit Center: Connecting Amtrak; Metra Milwaukee District North, Milwaukee District West, North Central Service, BNSF, Heritage Corridor and Southwest lines; CTA Blue, Red, Orange, Brown, Pink, Purple lines and 13 bus routes

The next phase of the project involves creating and installing signs in seven new locations:

Harvey (ME-ML)
Mayfair - Montrose (MD-N, Blue) Lisle (BNSF)
Lake Cook Rd (MD-N) Elgin (MD-W) Naperville (BNSF)
Museum Campus/11 St -CTA Roosevelt (ME, Red, Orange, Green)  


With the design phase complete for these locations, the RTA staff are in the midst of community outreach efforts which include meetings and presentations of our signage plans to the host-communities and other stakeholders. Concurrently, RTA is reviewing proofs and test samples prior to the engineering of the signs which is set to begin in last summer 2017. The first sites designated for fabrication and installation are Museum Campus and Lake-Cook Rd. RTA expects installation to begin in fall 2017 with additional sites progressing throughout 2018.

Looking forward RTA has begun work on the next group of six stations:

Oak Park - Harlem/Lake (UP-W, Green)  Jefferson Park (UP-NW, Blue)  Irving Park (UP-NW, Blue) 
Main St – Main (UP-N, Purple)   Wheaton (UP-W) Waukegan (UP-N) 

RTA, the Service Boards and design consultants are working on signage plans for each of the locations. The plans include sign content and sign placement details. RTA is also beginning initial outreach to property owners where the signs will be placed including railroads and municipalities. Over the next several months the plans will be completed and an RFP will be issued for bids to fabricate and install this group of signs.

In the long range RTA expects to continue work on Downtown Chicago sites including signage for Ogilvie Transportation Center and Millennium Station as well as making further updates to the signage at Union and LaSalle Street Stations.

RTA is excited to see the successful adoption of the Design Standards Manual throughout the regional transit network with both CTA and Pace adopting the standards for new signs at locations from Rosemont to the upcoming O’Hare Intermodal Facility.