Pace's vision for the future is to provide efficient suburban mobility. Our
Vision 2020 plan represents the blueprint for Pace's vision, and describes how
Pace intends to achieve this objective.
It calls for a network of new services, infrastructure improvements, and
a decrease in travel times. Although challenging, this plan will bring Pace
into the future, making viable public transportation available to the entire
Pace's vast service area covers six counties and more than 3,500 square miles,
and encompasses a wide range of demographic groups, activity centers, travel
and development patterns. More than 200 municipalities, townships, and other
units of local government are represented, each with its own unique character,
history, and travel needs.
The Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC) estimates the population
of Pace's service area to increase from approximately 5.2 million to more than
6.2 million by 2020. As jobs and people have increasingly relocated to the suburbs
in the last several decades, the separation of residential and employment areas
has expanded. Commuters experience longer work trips as a result. Growing population
and longer trips lead to more traffic congestion.
The Chicago Area Transportation Study (CATS) estimates that traffic congestion
in the Chicago region has increased by more than 100% in the past two decades.
The percent of congested-lane miles in the Chicago region grew from 32% in 1982
to 65% in 1999. Miles traveled on congested roadways are forecast to grow by
60% between 1996 and 2020, and time spent traveling is forecast to jump 44%
between 1996 and 2020.
Likewise, the growing suburban job market and the national welfare-to-work
initiative have created demand for transit services that connect locations in
Chicago with suburban employers.
Pace's success depends on how effectively it serves all of these changing
travel needs. Most of the region's growth in population and jobs has been occurring
in the suburban "ring," rather than in Chicago's central area. The net result
of these factors has been an increase in single-occupant automobile use and
a decline in air quality.
Enhanced mobility requires services that are cost- and time-competitive with
the private automobile and that contribute to each community's objectives. Our
objective of Vision 2020 is to make public transportation fast, convenient and
economical throughout our entire six-county region.
This objective, combined with an analysis of the current Pace routes, services,
markets, and the future land use and population projections, have led to the
preparation of a long-range plan for Pace.
Building the kind of suburban transit system needed to meet the long-range
needs of northeastern Illinois will take both considerable time and resources
and Pace is excited about the future. The program is called "Vision 2020 - The
Blueprint for the Future".