CTA Marks 25 Years Since Moving to Color-Coded Rail Lines

CTA Green Line at Oak Park
A CTA Green Line train pulls into Oak Park on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. (Photo by Todd DeFeo)

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) recently marked a quarter century since the system transitioned to color-coded rail lines.

The CTA on Feb. 21, 1993, unveiled new designations that used color-coded train signs and maps, replacing names or streets for the various rail lines.

The new routes coincided with the reconfiguration or expansion of several rail routes. The goal of naming rail lines by color was to make the rail system more user-friendly, particularly for new or occasional riders, out-of-town visitors and commuters who speak English as a second language.

“The designation of CTA lines by a color-coded system was a major step in creating the modern CTA rail system that exists today,” CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr. said in a news release. “The easier-to-navigate system moves millions of people every year, and we continue to invest in improvements that enhance the commuting experience with track upgrades, new and upgraded stations, updated technology, and new trains and buses.”

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