Metra is Chicago’s city-to-suburb rail system, connecting the city to 241 stations on 11 different rail lines. It is the fourth busiest commuter rail system in the United States by ridership and the largest and busiest commuter rail system outside the New York City metropolitan area, with over 80 million annual riders (via American Public Transit Association and Metra).
Metra currently focuses on a family-friendly appearance, offering families deep discounts for childrens’ fares on the weekends. However, the bulk of Metra’s ridership is composed of working professionals. There are 10-ride tickets and monthly passes for frequent commuters, but there are many people who do not associate Metra with transportation to work and do not know that these deals are available. With high gas prices and huge traffic delays that affect city-bound driving commuters, Metra is missing an opportunity to reach out to a different market.
Stress an urban, professional atmosphere over the old family-friendly image; reward loyal commuters with better deals.
Change the way people think of the rail system; it is not antiquated. All print materials must be modernized to support the new direction; Metra cannot look dated.
Introduce more amenities such as wireless internet service and more charging stations so the trains are more congruent to an on-the-go lifestyle; ensure that each ride is just as important (and as breathtaking) as the destination.
Make the new design “feel like Chicago” by drawing inspiration from Ogilvie Transportation Center, Union Station, the glow of the trains at night, and urban textures such as glass and metal.
Ticket redesign, featuring metallic foil for additional security on monthly passes