The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has selected Chicago to receive more than $153 million in federal funding to support the reduction of traffic gridlock through the use of congestion pricing for street parking spaces and the implementation of a Bus Rapid Transit system.
The federal funds will be used to support Chicago’s creation of four pilot routes of a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network. The new BRT routes will have their own dedicated lanes and the buses will be equipped with technology to help speed them through traffic with priority right of way at busy signalized intersections. In addition, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will be able to purchase new and cleaner hybrid engine vehicles.
Congestion pricing for the city’s metered parking spaces will raise meter rates during the morning and evening rush periods to encourage commuters to take transit downtown instead of driving.
The federal funding is contingent, in part, on the city and the CTA adopting the necessary legal authorities. Also, the city must successfully move forward on its previously announced plans to privatize its metered parking system and enter into a long-term agreement with a private firm by 31 December 2008.
The Chicago announcement is a component of the Department’s National Strategy to Reduce Congestion on America’s Transportation Network.