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CTA taps MIT, UIC for research projects

Chicago Transit Authority Oct. 5 launched a multi-year collaborative research effort with University of Illinois-Chicago’s (UIC) College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Center for Transportation Studies to evaluate how new technology might enhance CTA’s planning, improve its operations and benefit its customers.

"Our partnership with these fine institutions will help to put us on the cutting edge in terms of identifying new technology to support critical capital and operating decisions facing the CTA now and in the near future," said CTA Chairman Valerie Jarrett in a prepared statement. "Another key benefit will be the ongoing professional development for CTA staff and the introduction of many of the nation’s brightest young transit professionals to career opportunities at the CTA."

MIT officials in January signed an initial 18-month, $713,211 agreement through CTA’s Capital Improvement Program Management contract with O’Brien Kreitzberg (OBK).

Under contract terms, MIT/UIC faculty and four to eight full-time graduate students per semester will conduct research projects in transit operations; transit facility design and construction processes; decision support for service development and capital projects; and future transit policies, funding strategies and opportunities.

CTA representatives and MIT/UIC faculty members formed a steering committee, which selected specific projects based on CTA’s needs and students’ research interests and strengths.

Projects that began in spring include developing bus and rail service improvement strategies, improving connections between stations and neighborhoods, improving CTA accessibility and use by bicyclists, developing information technology explaining CTA’s rail structure and studying parking policies.

Projects begun in June include studying control center improvement strategies, improving bus and rail connections, and discerning the economic value of transit for the metropolitan area.

This fall, CTA plans to launch two more projects: Effective Implementation of Bus Rapid Transit Systems; and Capital and Operating Fund Implications of ADA and Universal Design Regulations.

Student researchers will regularly visit Chicago and work summer internships within relevant CTA departments from June through August.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/9/2001