Chicago Transit Authority

Case Study

This case study of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) focused on the narrow platforms that exist in several stations within the CTA System. Specifically, the elevated wooden platform at the Damen Station along the Blue Line was studied. The CTA Blue Line travels diagonally across the city connecting the downtown Chicago Loop with O’Hare Airport.

As part of this case study the pace, flow, use of space and the overall experience, both physically and psychologically, were examined from the point of view of different composite users. Ultimately, it was found that the 41” wide platform raises significant safety issues particularly for those who have problems with balance, need more space or require more time to move along the platform. The inefficient flow of people is a concern as there is not enough room for faster users to safely pass slower users. Understanding these different perspectives and how the CTA does and does not allow users to move safely and efficiently, offers critical information about the design, usability and function of the transit system and the City of Chicago as a whole

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