CTA Unveils Roadmap for an All-Electric Bus Fleet

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has announced details of its first planning study for the full-electrification of Chicago’s bus system, providing a roadmap for electrifying the agency’s bus fleet, facilities, and supporting infrastructure by 2040.

CTA’s recently published study, Charging Forward: CTA Bus Electrification Planning Report, summarises the findings from key analyses and establishes a practical framework for CTA to electrify the city’s bus fleet.

CTA Electric bus
Electric buses already operate on #66 Chicago, connecting the Austin neighbourhood to the near West Side and Navy Pier
CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr., said:

“For nearly a decade, the CTA has been at the forefront of the shift to electric bus technology. As proud as I am of the progress we’ve made, we still have a long way to go. The unveiling of the ‘Charging Forward’ planning study helps set the course for our agency’s next destination—full-electrification by 2040— all while ensuring that equity, the environment and the communities we serve are at the forefront of this next big endeavour.”

Electrifying CTA’s fleet of 1,800 buses is a complex undertaking that requires the agency to invest in facilities and supporting infrastructure, including necessary charging equipment.

CTA’s existing bus fleet is housed at seven bus garages and serviced at a maintenance facility on Chicago’s Far South Side. These facilities will need to be significantly upgraded and fitted with charging infrastructure before they can serve electric buses.

CTA electric buses
At garages, buses could charge using “slow chargers” while they are parked overnight, or “fast chargers,” which can charge buses relatively quickly before they are parked for the night

The study provides strategic recommendations regarding which technologies to invest in, where to install charging infrastructure and how to optimise cost-effectiveness and system reliability.

Angela Tovar, Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Chicago, said:

“We are excited to see CTA take a big step today in advancing our shared goal to electrify bus fleets serving city residents. CTA’s contributions toward increasing transit ridership and making equitable investments in green mobility will play a big role in meeting our Climate Action Plan 2030 goals.”

CTA introduced two all-electric buses in 2014, becoming one of the first US transit agencies to run electric buses in revenue service year-round. CTA now has 11 electric buses in service, and 14 more will enter revenue service later in 2022. To date, CTA has also secured more than 130 million USD in grant funding to further expand its electric bus fleet and related charging infrastructure.

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