CTA Service Efficiency Review

Managed the service efficiency project for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and led the project technical tasks

Client: Chicago Transit Authority

Project Description

Operations Main

Working with Transportation Management & Design Inc., Phillip Boyle managed the service efficiency project for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and led the project technical tasks. CTA is North America’s second-largest public transportation system, operating over 2,000 vehicles. CTA undertook the service efficiency review due to budgetary pressures and the need to improve service reliability. The project involved a complete redesign of CTA’s top 50 core bus routes (over 1,000 vehicles).


The outcomes generated by this review included:

  • Savings of over $6 million in annual operating cost, significant peak vehicle reductions and reduced operator requirements
  • Efficiency gains achieved with no reductions in service levels (on many routes, additional running time was provided)
  • Redesigned services fully implemented, realising the projected cost savings, and maintaining or improving service quality on all lines.

Scope of Works

Key Tasks

Phillip Boyle & Associates’ tasks included:

  • Conducting significant data collection to assist in developing run times
  • Optimising running times and layovers
  • Rewriting schedules and optimising vehicle blocks
  • Optimising driver shifts
  • Developing a sophisticated tool for assessing service operational quality (measuring bunching and passenger waiting times).

Key Challenges

This project required large-scale service changes in a complex operating environment, with expectations of significant cost and reliability benefits. CTA were in the process of changing labour rules and approaches at the time of the review, which meant that implementation was industrially sensitive.

In an industry-first, Phillip Boyle managed an extensive data-collection task, all conducted without the aid of recent hand-held technologies.

Example of HASTUS-ATP run times graph