Metra Board approve new strategic plan

The Metra Board of Directors have approved a new 2023-2027 strategic plan which focuses on addressing the challenges of a post-COVID world.

METRA Commuter Trains in the Fox Lake, IL depopt waiting for their scheduled runs to the Union Station Chicago

The Metra Board of Directors have approved a new 2023-2027 strategic plan that focuses on addressing the operational and financial challenges of a post-COVID world and sets ambitious goals for the agency’s evolution and growth.

The new strategic plan, titled My Metra, Our Future, is an update to the last plan, On Track to Excellence, which primarily focused on Metra’s chronic operating and capital funding shortfalls. The new plan acknowledges that those shortfalls have been somewhat addressed in the near term but remain a concern. At the same time, Metra faces a variety of new challenges brought on by the pandemic, including new commuting patterns, demands for new service options and attracting and retaining workers. In addition, Metra recognises the need to provide equitable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly service.

“With the vision and goals that are outlined in this new strategic plan, we are recognising that Metra must adapt and evolve to meet our riders’ and the region’s transit needs,” Jim Derwinski CEO/Executive Director of Metra, said. “It won’t be easy, but we will do everything within our ability and budget to achieve these goals and make our new vision a reality.”

The new plan

The new plan was drafted and finalised with the assistance of Metra customers, employees and Board members, regional stakeholders, and others through two surveys and several open houses, meetings and workshops. Metra received more than 3,000 comments throughout the process.

The Vision Statement in the new plan was rewritten to reflect the impact of the pandemic, which upended Metra’s core market of riders traveling between home and downtown. Ridership patterns and demand for Metra service have permanently changed, and Metra intends to move towards a regional rail service model that provides more frequent service throughout the day to meet this demand, while still supporting peak demand during the traditional rush hour. To proactively address evolving transportation needs, Metra will provide regional rail service that supports sustainable connected communities.

To fulfil its mission and move towards its vision, the strategic plan is built around five equally important and related goals. They reflect the evolving priorities of Metra, regional transit needs, and customers. They are:

  • Enhance service to grow ridership and provide mobility choices
  • Ensure the Metra experience is safe, easy, and enjoyable for all customers
  • Attract a diverse workforce and invest in employees
  • Innovate to become more efficient and effective
  • Be a socially responsible organisation committed to equity and sustainability.

Each of those five goals are linked to a set of objectives, with measures that will be used to evaluate the agency’s progress.

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