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Do you ever wonder how the Chicago regional transit agencies perform in comparison to other large cities in America? According to the 2017 Regional Peer Review  and 2017 Sub-Regional Peer Review, our transit agencies maintained their high marks in comparison to their peers. The reports are based on the most recent data (2017) submitted by the Service Boards to the Federal Transit Administration’s National Transit Database (NTD).

The Regional Peer Review examines the primary transit agencies that serve the ten largest US metropolitan areas. Of these ten, Chicago is the third largest. Overall, the Chicago region is a strong performer, ranking in the top half for 14 out of 16 performance measures and in the top three for nine of them.

That said, our region’s capital expenditures per resident is in the lower half of our peer group and capital expenditures overall are significantly less than New York and Los Angeles. This is largely due to the State not passing a capital bill to fund infrastructure in a decade!

The Sub-Regional Peer Review analyzes each service mode separately (urban and suburban bus, heavy rail, commuter rail, and ADA Paratransit), comparing our region’s service provider’s performance to five comparable peers. CTA, Metra, and Pace continue to show strong performance in measures of service coverage, efficiency and effectiveness.

Here are some highlights for each transit agency:


  • For the ninth consecutive year, CTA bus retained its top-ranked performance for operating cost per vehicle revenue hour.
  • The average CTA bus was 7.9 years old, the second-youngest average fleet age among its peers.
  • CTA performed well in service efficiency and effectiveness measures, ranking first for operating cost per vehicle revenue hour (for the ninth consecutive year) and second for operating cost per passenger mile.


  • Metra retained its second-place ranking for operating cost per passenger trip for the seventh consecutive year.
  • Metra has consistently performed better than the peer average for measures of service coverage, ranking first for passenger trips per vehicle revenue hour and second for passenger trips per vehicle revenue mile, a measure of productivity.


  • Pace performed better than the peer average for two measures related to cost, ranking second for operating cost per passenger mile.
  • Pace added 114 new buses into its active vehicle fleet in 2017, and maintained its top ranking for average fleet age.
  • Pace ADA Paratransit continued to rank well among its peers, meeting or beating the peer average for eight of ten performance metrics.

Current and past performance reports can be found on the RTA website.

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Read posts about how the RTA collaborates with CTA, Metra and Pace to plan, invest in and move the Chicago region’s transit system.

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