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October 02, 2012


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Rosemary Gerty, RTA

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra, and Pace worked together to develop priority seating signage that would be uniform on all three transit systems in the six-county RTA service area. Each of the operators (CTA, Metra, and Pace) adopted the uniform signage and most of the signs have now been installed.

We developed a "policy sign" and a set of "marker signs." The policy sign states: "Priority Seating is for customers with disabilities and seniors. Please move when requested." The words "Priority Seating" are white lettering on a red bar, the rest of the sentence is blue on withe, and the last sentence is red on white. All four agency logos are on the bottom. We used an ISA and a stick figure with a cane as pictograms. The sign is 6 x 15 and each vehicle has one or more of these signs near the PS area.

The "marker" signs are white with a blue background and are used to designate the specific seats or wheelchair areas and come in four shapes/sizes, designed to meet various needs of the railcars or buses we have in the fleets. They range in size from 12 x 5 vertical, 7 x 9 horizontal, and 5 x 18 horizontal. Most have both an ISA and the stickman/cane pictogram; the one specifically designating a wheelchair area only has the ISA with an arrow pointing down.

We used lettering no smaller than 5/8" with the PS words no less than 7/8".

We plan to match the audio message and later to develop some PSAs, videos etc. to help educate passengers that they should move when requested or offer their seat if someone appears to need it more than they. We are focusing on those who aren't paying attention or don't know and trying to keep it positive.

We chose not to quote federal law. We know there will always be rude people who refuse to move or pretend not to get it. We are focusing on being positive, educating the public, and enlisting the help of fellow passengers to set the example. Not easy, we know!


I think an important distinction being missed in some of the responses from the transit agency representatives. The Federal law cited does not require other riders vacate "priority" or "reserved" seating for riders with disabilities. It requires the transit agency to ask people to move. So if you see a sign that reads, "Federal Law 49 CFR 37.167 Requires these seats must be vacated for Seniors and Disabled Persons," that is not what the law requires. It requires the agency to post a sign that requests other riders move. See, 49 CFR 37.167 at

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