October 30, 2014
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MTD Service After Dark

"CUMTD" "MTD" "urbana meijer" "solar lighting" "bus shelter"

To increase night-time safety, MTD installed solar lighting at 10 bus shelters.

Campus and community safety are a topic of constant concern. Recent crimes on and off campus are encouraging many to redouble their efforts to be safe after dark. This blog covers the services MTD provides in the evening and late night hours.

Evening Fixed Route Service

MTD’s fixed route daytime service wraps up by the end of the 6 o’clock hour all seven days of the week. There is more evening service Monday through Friday than on the weekends. Evening fixed route service begins at approximately 7 pm and runs through the 11 o’clock hour.

Monday through Friday, evening service is available on the 50 Green, 70 Grey, 100 Yellow, 110 Ruby, 120 Teal, 130 Silver, 180 Lime, and 220 Illini. It’s important to check the route and timetable for evening service as there is often some variation from the weekday daytime version of the route. The routing and frequency can also change whether or not the University of Illinois is in session or on break. All variations are detailed on the schedule and map. You can always contact us for clarification!

The same routes that operate evening service Monday through Friday operate Saturday evenings. Again, there is some variation in the routes and timetables, so please reference the appropriate schedule.

Sunday evening service is combined with late night service and fewer routes operate. In the 7 o’clock hour, passengers can ride the 50 Green, 100 Yellow, 120 Teal, 130 Silver, and 220 Illini.

Late Night Fixed Route Service

"Wright & Green" "22 Illini" "uiuc" "mtd" "cumtd"

Photo Credit Siyao Luan

Service that operates after midnight is categorized as late night. Thanks to the needs and funding from University of Illinois students, five routes operate seven days a week during the University of Illinois Fall and Spring Semesters.

The 50 Green  Late Night operates between Lincoln Square and Illinois Terminal only with 20 minute frequency. The 100 Yellow Late Night operates between the Champaign Walmart and Lot E-14 with 30 minute frequency. The 120 Teal Late Night operates between Orchard Downs and Illinois Terminal with 20 minute frequency. The 130 Silver Late Night operates between Lincoln Square and PAR/FAR (Vet-Med every other trip with the last trip at 1:42 am) with 20 minute frequency. Finally, the 220 Illini Late Night operates the same routing and maintains 10 minute frequency.

These late night routes cease operation between 3 and 5 am. The final trip depends on the route as well as the day of the week. Four of the five routes operate later on Friday nights to respond to demand.

335 SafeRides

335 SafeRides is a demand response service that operates seven days a week during the UI Fall and Spring Semesters. A common saying at MTD when explaining the service is, “It’s not FastRides, it’s SafeRides.”

We inform riders to expect wait times of 15 minutes during the week and up to 30 minutes on the weekend. The purpose of the service is to provide safe transportation to individuals who are travelling alone and when no other means (read: not along fixed-route service) of safe transportation are available within the designated boundaries. Sunday through Wednesday three vans operate the service and divide the boundaries into distinct service areas. Thursday through Saturday four vans operate the service. The vans meet every 30 minutes at the Illini Union to transfer passengers, if needed, to each other’s service area.

The Illini Union, Armory & Wright (Main Library), and Illinois Street Residence Halls (ISR) offer designated pickups twice an hour. You do not need to schedule a pick up if you are boarding at one of these locations.

Daylight Saving Time Ends at 2:00 am this Sunday, November 2. As a result of fewer daylight hours, MTD pushes the start time of SafeRides from 7:00 to 5:00 pm. The 5:00 pm start time will run from November 3, 2014 through March 9, 2015.


SafeWalks is a terrific resource on campus for late night travel. The service is operated by students and managed by the University of Illinois Police Department. The UI Police Student Patrol will meet faculty, staff, and students and walk with them to their home, a nearby bus stop, etc. The Student Patrollers receive training and have radio communication with police officers. You can contact SafeWalks at 217.333.1216.

To close, please read this post from earlier in the year on things to do when riding at night. Be aware, be alert, and be seen. Be part of the Bee Scene! See you on the street.

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FAQs from the Disability Resource Expo

MTD attended the 8th Annual “disABILITY Resource Expo: Reaching Out for Answers” Saturday, October 18 at the Fluid Events Center. The 70 Grey and our ADA Paratransit service brought many community members to the event! After five hours of connecting with riders, inquiring riders, and community agency representatives, we began to see a trend in the questions asked. Here’s an FAQ from the 2014 disABILITY Resource Expo.

"CUMTD" "MTD" "bus" "lincoln square" "kneel" "ramp"

All MTD buses can kneel, lower to the ground, and a ramp. Just ask your operator if you need the assistance!

Fixed Route Service

All buses in MTD’s fleet can be kneeled, lowered to the ground, and a ramp deployed. No explanation required, please just ask the operator! Many attendees had concerns that the route and vehicle they would ride would not be equipped with these resources. We assured them, as we are assure you reader, you can board a route with confidence that these tools will be available to you.

Professionals from across disciplines attended the expo to collect resources for their clients. We told many representatives that MTD is at their service! If you want a box of Maps & Schedules Books delivered, information pamphlets, or an in-person presentation on “How to Ride,” please give us a call! You’re also welcome to visit our Administration & Operations Facility to collect resources in person or just to connect with the appropriate staff person.

Seniors Ride Free

This conversation happened countless times at the expo.

Attendee approaches MTD table and sees brochure titled, ‘Seniors Ride Free.’

“How old do you have to be to be considered a senior?”

“65 years of age,” MTD representative replied.

“Oh wow, I’m [insert age that's 65 or older]! How do you get a pass?”

“You need to go to Illinois Terminal, MTD’s intermodal facility in downtown Champaign. Just

"CUMTD" "bus" "seniors"

Seniors age 65 or older ride MTD for free! All day, everyday.

show them proof of age and you’ll be issued a DASH Card. It’s good for three years and you can ride any time, any day.

We often say to seniors that acquiring a DASH Card is like a transportation insurance policy. You may not need it now, but it’s a resource during bad weather and when health and family plans change.

DASH Card for Riders with Disabilities

Medicare Card holders and persons having significant difficulty boarding or alighting from an MTD vehicle may qualify for a DASH Card as a rider with disability. The DASH Card is issued at no cost and provides unlimited access to our fixed route service. Dozens of attendees asked how people qualify and how they can renew their card.

Individuals need to present a letter from the Social Security office that confirms they are receiving aid because of a disability. The Customer Service Center at Illinois Terminal can take the letter and then issue a DASH Card. The letter must be dated within the last 30 days. This letter can be used for a first time DASH Card passenger or for someone who is renewing their pass.

There are also four certifying agencies locally who can issue a verification letter. They are Community Elements, Developmental Service Center (DSC), Division of Rehabilitation Services, and PACE Center for Independent Living.

Once issued, the DASH Card is valid for three years.

Rural Transportation

Many expo attendees read or heard that rural transportation in Champaign County was no longer operated by the CRIS Rural Mass Transit District. They were correct! MTD was asked by Champaign County to take over management of the service beginning October 1, 2014. Champaign County rebranded the service as the Champaign County Area Transit Service (C-CARTS).

Outside of the name change, the service is relatively the same. Champaign County receives the state funding and defines the service. All of the current C-CARTS employees are former CRIS employees.

The differences are that the service is now managed by MTD’s Special Services Manager, Drew Bargmann, and operations are based out of 1101 East University Avenue instead of 803 East University Avenue. If you have any questions about C-CARTS or want to schedule a ride, please call 217.344.4287. MTD’s Customer Service phone line, 217.384.8188, will not be able to provide trip information or schedule assistance.

ADA Paratransit Service

This curb-to-curb van service is available for qualifying individuals under the Americans with Disabilities Act who are unable to access fixed route service. An application must be completed, and approved, before passengers can schedule a trip. Trips must be scheduled a day in advance and cost $2 each way. ADA applications are available for pick up at our Administration & Operations Facility in Urbana. If you have general questions about the program, or need an application mailed to you, please call 217.384.8188 and ask to speak to someone regarding ADA.

Those are the highlights! Thanks to everyone who organized and attended the EXPO. It is a wonderful event. Also thanks to all the riders we met!

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MTD Does ‘Ask Me Anything’ on Reddit

Last Friday, October 10, user anchal26 posted this on Reddit in /r/uiuc:

AMA request: MTD operator/rep

Since MTD has a massive presence in CU because students and townies use the buses daily, it would be great to ask questions and learn more about how the service operates. Some questions I’d like to ask:

  1. When operators pick shifts, what’s the most preferred route and why? Which route is the smoothest?
  2. What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen or encountered on the bus?
  3. Did any rider say or do something to you that made your day?
  4. Bonus: what’s your favorite voice ad on the bus?

What is an AMA? Unique to Reddit, the social networking news and entertainment service, Ask Me Anything is a subreddit where notable figures, celebrities, and individuals with novel experiences host a press conference of sorts where questions are answered and commented on.

After 18 up votes to anchal26’s post, MTD decided to answer the request! Join me, Amy Snyder, Customer Service Manager, Jay Rank, Planner, and Ryan Blackman, Software Developer/Network Administrator this Friday, October 17 from 3:30-5:00 pm for an MTD Ask Me Anything (AMA). MTD’s Reddit account, /u/cumtd, will post an announcement for the AMA on /r/uiuc on Thursday, October 16. You’re welcome to post questions there in advance!

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Green Light: Going for Gold

This month’s Green Light was written by Jane Sullivan, MTD’s Grant Manager and Sustainability Planner.

MTD became a founding signatory of the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Sustainability Commitment in 2009. In August 2014, MTD extended this commitment by reaching Gold Level Achievement recognition.

Signing the initial commitment required MTD to follow, and document, this set of core principles:

1) Make sustainability part of MTD’s strategic objectives;

2) Identify a sustainability champion within MTD coupled with the proper human and/or financial resources and mandates;

3) Establish an outreach program on sustainability for all MTD staff;

4) Undertake a sustainability inventory of MTD including: water usage, criteria air pollutant emissions, greenhouse gas emissions and savings, energy use, and recycling/waste levels

All signatories can obtain higher recognition levels (Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum) by achieving action items and stretch goals, committing to additional action items and stretch goals, and attaining reduction targets for a series of set indicators.

To achieve Gold Level, MTD identified short and long-term accomplishements and created additional goals. What follows is a sampling of those items.

Action Items Achieved

  • Reduce waste oil disposal
  • Use environmentally friendly building materials
  • Upgrade toilets to conserve water
  • Reduce greenhouse gas impact of buses
  • Establish program for employee input and engagement in MTD’s sustainability program
  • Support research in pollution prevention
"solar panels" "solar array"

MTD’s 1,212 panel solar array on the roof of our Maintenance Facility is accomplishing many environmental goals!

Action Items Committed To

Stretch Goals Achieved

Stretch Goals Committed To

"bus barn" "MTD bus" "hybrid"

As MTD’s buses come due for retirement, they are replaced with diesel-electric hybrids.

  • Achieve zero waste at all facilities (we’re working on it!)
  • Obtain green business certification of Administration and Operations Building (achieved in May 2014!)
  • Replace older diesel buses with diesel-electric hybrid to obtain 75% hybrid fleet
  • Expand ESMS to the remaining MTD facilities

To achieve Gold Level, MTD made the following improvements to our Sustainability Inventory. The reduction percent measures 2012 numbers against 2009.

Water Usage – Reduction = 20%

Criteria Air Pollutant Emissions – Reduction = 46%

Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Reduction = 10%

Facility Energy Use – Reduction = 22%

Vehicle Energy Use – Reduction = 11%

MTD was and is proud to be a recipient of the GOLD Level recognition for APTA’s Sustainability Commitment. This achievement represents years of hard work and our devotion to continuing the District’s sustainability efforts.

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Ride the 280 tranSPORT to Memorial Stadium

While unseasonably warm temperatures grace our area this week, we all know fall and winter temperatures are inevitable. The Fighting Illini Football Team and their fans have four more home games to weather. Don’t get caught in the cold! Let the 280 tranSPORT keep you warm and your wallet full.

"tranSPORT sign" "Ceramics" "football"

Signage is posted at each designated stop along both the 280 tranSPORT routes in Champaign and Urbana.

Follow the Footballs

There is a 280 tranSPORT Champaign and another route for Urbana. Both versions of the tranSPORT have designated stops marked on the route maps by footballs and on the street by big blue signs (pictured left). Both routes serve large parking decks that offer free or low-cost parking options.

The 280 tranSPORT Champaign begins on Church Street just west of Neil. Fans can leave their vehicles in the Hill Street Parking Deck and ride through downtown Champaign to campus. The second stop is at Green & Wright. Fans alight at Fourth & Peabody, just a couple blocks northeast of Memorial Stadium.

The 280 tranSPORT Urbana begins at the North Campus Parking Deck located on Goodwin Avenue just south of University. Fans can board at the Ceramics Building, across from the Alice Campbell Alumni Center on Gregory Place, and finally at Goodwin & Gregory. The 280 tranSPORT Urbana will alight fans at Fourth & Kirby.

Rules of the Game

"tranSPORT" "Urbana" "Krannert" "ISR" "Alumni"

Fighting Illini Fans board the 280 tranSPORT Urbana next to Krannert and across from the Alumni Center.

The rules to ride are simple. If you are a University of Illinois affiliate, just show your iCard. If you have an MTD Annual or Monthly Pass, just show your pass. If you have none of the above, you can pay just $2 to ride round-trip. Exact cash fare is preferred, but operators can make change up to $5.

The tranSPORTS begin operating two hours before kick-off. This Saturday, October 4 game against Purdue begins at 11:00 am, so you’ll see the first tranSPORTS depart at 9:00 am. Each stop will be served approximately every 15 minutes until the game begins. You may look to return on the tranSPORT any time during the game. Just look for the 60-foot buses labeled 280 tranSPORT at the stop you alighted at. So if you took the Champaign route, please walk back to Fourth & Peabody. If you want to return on the Urbana route, you can look for the buses on the east side of Kirby Avenue.

The 280 tranSPORT will continue northbound trips from Memorial Stadium 30 minutes after the game ends.

Have you taken the 280 tranSPORT before? How was your trip?

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New Bus Stop Lookup Features

Our mission at MTD is, “leading the way to greater mobility.” Technology and online passenger tools play a significant role in accomplishing this mission. Tools like mobile apps, Trip Planner, and Bus Stop Lookup increase passenger confidence while making our system easier to use.  So in our mission to be greater, MTD’s Software Developer recently released two new features in our Bus Stop Lookup tool.

"Illinois Terminal" "Bus Stop Lookup" "routes" "MTD"

The Bus Stop Lookup page for Illinois Terminal. Note all the routes serving the stop listed on the left-side navigation.

Routes by Daytype

Look up any bus stop in MTD’s system and once you’ve landed, check out the left side navigation. You’ll now see “This stop is served by” and routes organized by MTD’s daytypes. For Bus Stop Lookup this is organized by Weekday Daytime, Weekday Night, Saturday Daytime, Saturday Night, Sunday Daytime, and Sunday Night.

With one click, you’ll be directed to the map for the route and daytype you selected. Want to view the timetable? Just click the “SCHEDULE” tab right next to “ROUTE MAP.” Our route pages also display links to downloadable schedules and maps that are printer-friendly. You can also read the full reroutes in effect (if any) for the selected route.

This display is also a great way to see, at a glance, which routes serve a stop across daytypes. This is helpful if you are travelling outside of your normal origins and destinations, or just want to see if a trip is possible in the evenings or on weekends.

Word to the Wise

In a majority of listings, the routes displayed under a bus stop operate throughout the day with little variation. But in order to provide this handy tool, all routes and special trips must be displayed even if they don’t operate throughout a daytype. This includes routes that operate during peak times only, mornings and afternoons (for example the 5 Green Express, 11 Ruby, and 14 Navy), or during shift changes at locations like Plastipak. In a minority of cases, a route listed may only serve the bus stop two times a day because it is transporting middle and high school students to and from school. These are called School Trippers and they are open for everyone, student or non-student, to ride.

While the above details complicate things, these variables already exist in our system. What didn’t exist was a quick and easy way to reference variations in a single trips. So use this new route tool in Bus Stop Lookup to reference your trip in a route’s timetable and make certain it is operating where and when you expect it to.

Scheduled Time

"Illini Union" "scheduled time" "routes"

A scheduled departure is visible in this screenshot for the Illini Union bus stop.

When viewing STOPwatch real-time, you’re most likely to see a countdown to a trip’s departure listed in minutes. Have you ever seen the departure listed in clock time, like 11:36 am? If you saw this in Bus Stop Lookup or on our apps, what you were seeing was a scheduled departure time instead of a real-time departure estimate based on the latest GPS location of the route.

As a new added feature, Bus Stop Lookup alerts you that a time displayed is scheduled with a simple parenthesis “(scheduled)” next to the clock time. STOPwatch real-time departures are unchanged and will continue to list the countdown to departure with the clock time calculated next to the listing. We added this feature to provide more clarity for passengers.

Why do scheduled times sometimes get displayed instead of real-time? It’s usually one of three reasons:

  1. An in-service bus, for some reason, is not tracking real-time data. This could be because:
    1. The radio quality is so poor that data cannot be transmitted;
    2. The operator is not logged into his or her “block,” which leaves their vehicle unassigned and their data unmatched to a route.
  2. The hardware and/or software back at MTD headquarters is out of commission. This could be caused by a myriad of things such as a bad software update from our vendor or an electric outage.
  3. An extra trip was created but has not been assigned yet. MTD dispatchers will do this to respond to service delays or heavy passenger demands. The extra trip will support a route in need, say an additional 13 Silver, and it may show up in the data before it is assigned to an actual vehicle.

So while this added feature to Bus Stop Lookup is small, we think it’s worth mentioning because it stands by our mission to give you more. More transparency, more information.


Neither of these new features have been added to our API (Application Programming Interface) – yet. Developers, if we added these features to the API methods, do you think you’d code them into your apps? Let us know in the comments!

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$15.7 Million Grant Awarded to Champaign-Urbana

There was a big announcement last week. An MTD News story was published on our website on September 12 to share the word:

On September 8, 2014 MTD was informed by Senator Durbin’s office that the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) will award MTD a $15.7 million TIGER grant on September 12, 2014 to rehabilitate streets on core transit corridors to bring them into a state of good repair while redesigning them to safely accommodate all roadway users including bicyclists, pedestrians, vehicles, and transit riders.

What are TIGER grants?

Funds for the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Program are awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on their region. The DOT defines the TIGER Program as a “unique opportunity for the DOT to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve critical national objectives.”

This year, the U.S. DOT received 797 applications totaling $9.5 billion in funds applied for. The amount applied for was 15 times the $600 million allocated for the TIGER Program.

MTD and our partners submitted an application for a TIGER Grant in late April 2014. This was the third time the group had pitched this project to the DOT. The streets within the proposed corridor, which we’ll get to later, are subject to three different jurisdictional agencies: City of Champaign, City of Urbana, and the University of Illinois. MTD makes the fourth entity involved with this project. All four entities are contributing financially to the project and the grant would not be possible without everyone’s support. The DOT’s $15.7 million will go toward the total funds needed for the project, which are estimated to be $34,883,465. The community partners are contributing the remaining 55% ($19,178,138) of the project’s cost.

What’s the project?

"MCORE Project" "four phases" "Foth" "TIGER Grant" "DOT"

The tentative four phases of the MCORE Project. Photo Credit: Foth Infrastructure and Environment

The Multimodal Corridor Enhancement Project (MCORE) will accomplish many, many goals. The ultimate project goal is:

A multi-modal network of roads, on-street bike lanes, shared lane markings, bus-only lanes, and other transit services that will further enhance mobility for residents and visitors, particularly non-drivers, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and economically disadvantaged populations.

MTD, the cities, and the University agree that the areas outlined in the MCORE Project are in need of serious investment due to heavy mobility demands. Over 80 percent of the jobs in the Champaign-Urbana area are located within an approximate one mile buffer of the project’s corridors.

The streets that will receive improvements over a period of five years serve as critical linkages between the two cities and their downtowns. The corridors are:

  • Armory Avenue – Fourth Street to Wright Street (University)
  • Wright Street – Armory Avenue to White Street (Champaign + University)
  • White Street – Wright Street to Second Street (Champaign)
  • Green Street – Wright Street to Race Street (Urbana)
  • Green Street – Fourth Street to Neil Street (Champaign)

Anyone who has traveled down these corridors, by any mode of transport, can attest to their desperate need for rehabilitation. The current pavement condition threatens the efficiency of these networks for all roadway users. Safety is also threatened. A number of intersections with the highest crash frequency are in the corridors included in the MCORE Project.

The MCORE Project will bring these streets into a state of good repair and greatly enhance safety for all modes of travel. In addition to the street improvements, the Project will also incorporate complete street design components. Several were mentioned above, but here is a complete list:

  • Reduced-width vehicle lanes
  • On-street bicycle lanes
  • Shared lane markings
  • Bus only lanes
  • Bicycle/bus lanes
  • Curb bump-outs
  • ADA accessible curb ramps
  • Enhanced bus stops
  • Vehicle and pedestrian level street lighting
  • Bus prioritization of traffic signals
  • Streetscape elements
"Foth" "complete street" "MCORE Project" "TIGER" "DOT"

An example of a complete street, White Street is pictured with vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian amenities. Photo Credit: Foth Infrastructure and Environment

Why is everyone congratulating MTD?

MTD will serve as the grantee of record, which means we’re ultimately responsible for all the paperwork and every step from start to finish within each of the four phases. MTD is responsible for the successful completion of the MCORE Project and we’re the ones who will answer to DOT. The execution of the four phases will be handled by the entity who owns the right-of-ways under improvement.

MTD is contributing a total of $3,884,200, 20% of the total local match, to the MCORE Project with local capital funds. MTD’s contribution covers mobility improvements within these corridors. This may include multi-modal amenities like bus shelters, digital kiosks, bike racks, and other streetscape elements depending on the corridor. In addition to the $3.8 million, MTD is acting as the grant recipient and is ultimately responsible for the grant funds and the execution of the overall project. This will be administrated by frequent guest blogger, Jane Sullivan, MTD’s Grant Manager and Sustainability Planner.

Want more?

You can go through all 27 pages of the application. Then there is this News-Gazette article and you can also watch this WICD News Story.

Keep visiting The Inside Lane! We can guarantee we’ll keep the updates coming as the projects go out for bid and construction begins.

MTD cannot thank our community partners enough, as well as everyone who supported this application with their letters. Senator Durbin in particular made a huge effort to encourage DOT to take Illinois projects seriously. Let the MCORE Project begin!

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MTDer: Clair Sullivan

Thousands of customers depend on MTD every day to get to work, school, and other important destinations. Inspired by our Passenger Media Campaign, we’d like to get to know more of you. MTDers are regular riders who have a transit story to share. Want to share your story? Email social@cumtd.com and we may share your story in a future blog.

Clair Sullivan got our attention with this tweet on July 24, 2014:

Thanks to and , my car will be for sale on Craig’s List this weekend. Anyone want a 2007 Subaru Impreza with 53k mi?

There was a story here and the tweet earned her the inaugural MTDer blog post. Sullivan has had our attention for a couple of years. She frequently tweets @CUMTD with her commute experiences which include compliments to operators, reports on capacity concerns on her 4 Blue route, thoughts on reroutes, and a cool picture of an iced over bus shelter.

"bus" "ice" "shelter" "MTD" "cumtd"

Sullivan’s tweeted image of an iced over bus shelter.

Reason to Ride

A professor of Nuclear Engineering, Sullivan moved to Champaign-Urbana in July 2012. Her office is in the heart of campus in Talbot Laboratory, located just north of Green Street.

“When I first got here, it didn’t initially cross my mind to take the bus,” Sullivan said. “But I don’t believe in paying for parking. Plus my house in Champaign was just two miles from work.” After learning about the fare-free benefit the University of Illinois offers faculty and staff, she began to reconsider her commute options.

"illinois terminal" "bike" "bike rack"

Sullivan poses with her bike outside of Illinois Terminal.

“I’ve gotten really dependent on the bus system here,” Sullivan said. “The bus here is so convenient and clean. The digital connectedness of the bus here makes it so much easier to be a rider. I love the apps that tell me where the bus is and if I’m running late, let me know that I should run! ”

Sullivan is also an avid cyclist and frequently commutes with a mix of transit and biking. “I ride my bike when the weather is good and take the bus when it’s not. Then there are some days when I don’t have the time to change into biker clothes,” Sullivan said.

Thanks to her switch to multi-modal transportation, Sullivan’s household was able to put their second car, her car, up for sale. When we interviewed Sullivan in August, she had not fueled her car since February 2014. “It’s just sitting in my one car garage, forcing my husband’s car to be parked outside,” Sullivan said. Her husband stays at home with their three and a half year old daughter.

Sullivan is also a member of Zipcar, a car share service with over a dozen cars available to rent by the hour. The cars live in Champaign and Urbana, with several in the heart of campus. “It’s been very convenient – not necessarily good for emergencies – but good for running errands and getting to appointments. It cut down on our excuses to have a second car,” Sullivan said.

Once they sell their car, Sullivan’s family will be saving both kinds of green. “Being a nuclear engineer, I’m very concerned about the environment and climate change. I’m capable of biking, running, or busing to work, so I need to live what I teach,” she said. “We’re a single income family, so going down to one car also means not throwing money in a hole for registration, insurance, and maintenance.”

What do the Sullivans plan to do with the extra money? “We need a new sump pump in our basement. We can also use the money to cover private preschool tuition fees,” Sullivan said.

"Illinois Terminal" "platform" "bike rack"

Sullivan can mix her commute any day she wants because all MTD buses have a bike rack.


If she’s commuting by bike, Sullivan reports she can make it to work in 10 minutes. But she usually clocks in at 15 to 20 minutes to look presentable. Her bus ride on the 4 Blue takes 20 minutes. “When I’m riding the bus, I’m usually on my smart phone, on social media tweeting, and on Facebook. Or I’m reading books on the Kindle app.”


Sullivan recommends using our website and the community-built apps. She’s a fan of the iOS app, CU Transit. “Build in a couple minutes of buffer into your trips and always plan ahead.”

For cycling, Sullivan values comfort. “If comfort is important to you, then make sure you get the right bike. Also, have a plan for getting stuck out in the weather.”

After getting caught in a heavy rainfall on her way to a doctor’s appointment, Sullivan learned the value of waterproof saddlebags for her bike. “It’s a learning process,” she stressed.

Thanks to Clair Sullivan for being an MTDer!

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Green Light: Solar Dashboard

This post was written by Jane Sullivan, MTD’s Grant Manager and Sustainability Planner.

The roof of MTD’s Maintenance Facility in Urbana is now home to more than one thousand solar panels. Installation of this 296.94 kilowatt photovoltaic system began in November 2013 and was completed in August 2014. Solar energy is captured by the 1,212 solar panels that make up the array. It is expected to replace about 25% of the facility’s annual electricity needs.

Along for the Ride

"solar array" "energy" "consumption" "dashboard"

The Solar Dashboard compares energy generated by the array against energy consumption at MTD’s Maintenance Facility.

In addition to our intention to replace a portion of purchased electricity with this renewable source, MTD has also committed to continuous monitoring of the system and sharing the information with the public in real time.

MTD’s solar array is being monitored at all times and the data is publicly available on our Solar Dashboard. The “Solar Electric” page on the Dashboard displays solar energy production of MTD’s Solar Array, as well as electricity consumption of MTD’s Maintenance Facility. Viewing solar production alongside electricity consumption is a straightforward way to observe the progress of our solar array.

We view the Dashboard as a communication tool that enables transparency. It is publicly accessible on any computer, which empowers building occupants, visitors, and the public to view our data. Electricity consumption and generation figures can be expressed in everyday units such as dollars spent or pounds of carbon dioxide emitted. Users have the ability to view energy data on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis. MTD is committed to reducing our environmental impacts and the Dashboard helps us prove it to you!

Hitting Goals

The Solar Dashboard is a powerful internal tool, as well, for monitoring MTD’s progress towards our sustainability goals. Utilization of renewable energy is one component of MTD’s ISO 14001:2004-certified Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS). This system sets environmental objectives and established action plans to achieve our goals. An important element is monitoring progress towards these goals. The Solar Dashboard provides us accurate and reliable data to keep track of our progress.

"energy" "conservation" "active transportation"

The Dashboard offers information about MTD’s other sustainability initiatives.

The Solar Dashboard can also be used to learn about more of MTD’s other sustainability initiatives. The “Sustainability” page outlines projects that MTD completed in relation to renewable energy, energy conservation, water conservation, vehicle improvements, and active transportation initiatives. The “ESMS” page provides information about MTD’s robust Environmental and Sustainability Management System.

So please, visit the Dashboard and take a self-guided tour through our green world!

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Happy Fall Semester

"FAR" "PAR" "students" "bus" "MTD"

Students board the 13N Silver at PAR before their 9:00 am classes. Can you say, standing room only?

Welcome to another school year, Chambana students! It is hot, hot, hot out there and our service is busy, busy, busy. So we’re going to keep this week’s post brief. We want to roll out some reminders and pro tips for newbies as well as our returning passengers.

Hey, Middle and High School Students!

Happy second week of school! We’ve been taking a lot of calls from you, your parents, and the administrators at your school. Everyone is asking for school tripper information, regular MTD route information, and how to find and report lost items.

1) If you’re looking up school trip information, start in our Maps & Schedules section. Under the green box, you’ll see all the area schools listed. Click on your school and find the “zone” that your family lives in. Your morning and afternoon bus trips to school are detailed on the zoomable map as well as in the text above.

2) If you live in Urbana but go to school in Champaign, or vice versa, you will need to use regular MTD bus service to get to and from school. Start with our Trip Planner, it’s super customizable and provides detailed itineraries.

3) Forgot something on board? We covered the entire lost and found process in this post.

Go Cobras!

Parkland College students started class a week ago and boy, did we notice! A few things to remember:

1) The bus stop for Parkland is moved to the Student Union.

2) During the weekday daytime, you can ride the 7 Grey, 9A Brown, or 9B Brown to class. If you’re staying on board after these routes serve Parkland, please reference the schedule. The routes don’t cleanly turn back around to head in the direction they came in.

3) On Saturday, ride the 180 Lime B to Parkland. There are a few trips in the morning and in the afternoon.


"Maps & Schedules Book" "MTD" "social media"

The calm before the Quad Day storm.

And an #ILLINOISwelcome to all! Quad Day was out of control fun yesterday. Thanks to the hundreds of students who visited MTD’s booth on the north side of the Quad. What we noticed was most useful:

1) Download an app! We have community-built apps for iOS, Android, and Windows. Use our App Garage to find them. Want to flex your developer muscles and build an app of your own? We’d love to showcase your work.

2) Not sure how to get from your dorm to class? Want to go to the mall? Our Trip Planner has all the answers.

3) For campus dwellers, Hoppers are your new best friends. They double the frequency for the Yellow, Green, and Gold routes.

4) Please check for assigned bus stops, we call them iStops and designated stops, for the routes you ride. Look for symbols on the route maps on our website and in our Maps & Schedules Book.

That’s all folks! Staff are monitoring school dismissals, schedule adherence, crush loads, fleet performance, and more nearly 24/7. We gotta get back to work. See you out there!

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Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District
1101 East University Avenue
Urbana, IL 61802-2009
(217) 384-8188
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