Title

CTA'S RECENT EXPERIENCE WITH MAJOR RAIL REHABILITATION PROJECTS: CONSTRUCTION EFFICIENCY VERSUS RIDERSHIP RETENTION

Authors

S H. Abrams

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1998

Subject Area

land use - planning, ridership - drivers, mode - rail

Keywords

Ridership, Rehabilitation (Drivers), Rehabilitation, Rapid transit, Planning, Patronage (Transit ridership), Impact studies, Heavy rail transit, Driver rehabilitation, Downtime, Construction, Chicago Transit Authority, Alternative passenger services

Abstract

The Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA's) rail transit system contains many kilometers of old elevated structure. Speed restrictions have been imposed on substantial lengths of track, slowing down scheduled service. As the condition of the infrastructure continues to worsen, methods other than spot repairs must be investigated. Recently, CTA closed the Green Line for reconstruction over a 2-year period. Before the suspension of service, there had been a precipitous decline in ridership, which was coincident with the deteriorating state of the line's infrastructure. Attempting to reverse this trend, restoration of the line to a state of good repair became a top priority. Although the Green Line project has been successful in restoring track speeds to design standards, the lengthy closing of the line has had long-term negative effects with respect to ridership. Given that aging structures must be repaired, the issue facing transit operators is how to achieve an optimal balance between construction economies and accommodation of a line's riders. A number of recent projects will be compared, noting their impact on ridership. Experience has shown that to ensure success, careful planning is vital when formulating the construction work itself, as well as the complementary alternative service for the line's passengers. Performing an options analysis will assist in determining the optimal approach to undertaking such major work. In all cases, passengers must be given an alternative means of transportation comparable to the existing service.