Metra seeks public comment on new strategic plan

Publication Date
Thursday, October 13, 2022

Metra is soliciting public comment on a draft of its new 2023-2027 strategic plan, which focuses on identifying and addressing the operational and financial challenges of a post-COVID world.

The strategic plan draft, titled My Metra, Our Future, is an update to and refinement of the last plan, On Track to Excellence. While the former plan 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 old challenges as well as new challenges brought on by the pandemic, including new commuting patterns, demands for new service options and attracting and retaining workers.

“This plan is intended to be a roadmap leading Metra from where we are now to where we want to be in five years,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “Our vision and goals are ambitious, and will require significant energy and commitment to meet, but the spirit of My Metra compels us to do everything within our ability and budget to make Metra the best it can be.”

Metra refined its mission in the new draft plan to make it more concise and responsive:

Metra provides safe, reliable, efficient, and affordable commuter rail service that enhances the economic and environmental health of Northeast Illinois.

The vision statement was reconsidered and revised to address the impact of the pandemic, which upended Metra’s core market of riders traveling between home and downtown. Riders now have changing patterns of travel demand, and Metra intends to move towards a “regional rail” service model that provides more frequent service throughout the day to meet this demand.

To proactively address evolving transportation needs, Metra will provide regional rail service that supports sustainable connected communities.

To fulfill 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 the voices of customers. They are:

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

Interested riders and other Metra stakeholders are urged to review the draft, which can be found here, and provide comments via a survey/comment form here. Emailed comments can be sent to or mailed to 547 W. Jackson Blvd, 5th Floor East, Chicago, IL, 60661, Attn: Strategic Plan. Comments will be accepted until Nov. 18.

Metra will hold several opportunities to share the draft strategic plan and for the public to attend and provide comment. Metra will conduct a virtual public meeting on Oct. 26 available from this page. In addition, in-person open houses will be held in conjunction with public hearings on Metra’s 2023 budget.  The open house schedule is posted here.

Public feedback will be incorporated into a final plan, which will be presented to the Metra Board of Directors in early 2023.