The CTA's track modernization projects over the last four years have resulted in the lowest level of L slow zones since 1997 - just 5.5 percent at the end of 2015.
In 2007, more than 22 percent of the elevated tracks were designated slow zones - areas where trains are required to operate at slower-than-normal speeds, some as low as 15 miles per hour.
The most recent slow zone improvement projects have lowered travel times between two to five minutes per trip on average, or four to 10 minutes for a round-trip, depending on the time of day, the CTA reports.
Service reliability improvement projects
Since 2011, CTA has eliminated approximately 20 miles of slow zones across its rail lines through major track and infrastructure improvement projects. Some recent examples include:
- Ravenswood Connector Rehabilitation: approximately two miles of slow zones eliminated on Brown and Purple Express tracks between Armitage and Merchandise Mart
- Purple Line Express Improvement Project: approximately four miles of slow zones eliminated on Purple Express tracks between Lawrence and Jarvis—the largest such project along that stretch in more than 40 years
- Milwaukee Blue Line Track Renewal (part of Your New Blue): about three miles of slow zones eliminated on Blue Line tracks between Damen and Logan Square
- Red Line South Reconstruction: nearly 10 miles of slow zones eliminated on Red Line tracks between Roosevelt and 95th Street
- Green Line Ashland/63rd Branch track improvements: about 1.5 miles of slow zones eliminated on Green Line tracks between Halsted and Garfield stations
Coming up in April is the Green Line West Track Renewal Project, a track improvement project that will prevent imminent slow zones from developing along aging Green Line tracks between Laramie and Harlem/Lake stations.
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