Chicago Begins Pop-Up Essential Bus Lane Six-Month Pilot

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) have begun a “pop-up essential bus lanes” six-month pilot program on two of the City’s highest ridership routes. The new project will create 7.6 total miles (~ 12 km) of new bus lanes by converting travel lanes in both directions that will be in effect 24 hours a day – more than doubling the city’s total busway mileage.

“CTA buses remain critical and reliable transit resources for those—especially on our city’s South and West sides—who do not have the luxury of being able to work from home,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “This program is the first step to ensure our residents will continue to have convenient access to public transportation throughout the pandemic and after. I am excited to double down on our investment in our renowned transit system and look forward to increasing the quality of commuting for our essential workers and other residents who ride the bus.” 

The dedicated bus lanes will be marked with temporary striping and signage. The aim is to keep buses operating at regular intervals on these heavily used routes and reduce bus delays and bus bunching, which may lead to crowding and longer bus trips. The overall goal is to promote social distancing, transit worker safety, and efficient public transport for the community.

“Today’s announcement is a reflection of our ongoing and tireless efforts to seek out new and additional measures to provide everyone with a safe and healthy travel environment that encourages social distancing,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “Public transit has been a critical lifeline for the City throughout the pandemic and measures such as this will help ensure we can continue to safely support our City’s re-opening efforts.”