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Fast Cities: Chicago

I-Go + CTA Smart Card

It seems almost too simple: one card that gives access to the trains, buses, and a local car-sharing program. The Smart Card is Chicago-based nonprofit I-Go Car Sharing's idea to extend public transportation to include public cars. According to a recent study, most cars in Chicago — Fast Company's 2008 City of the Year — sit parked 95% of the time. "We have to make better use of our assets," says I-Go CEO Sharon Feigon. "We want to integrate the public-transit systems and car sharing any way we can, and sharing one card is a good way to demonstrate that these different ideas are linked." The pilot program started in January with 5,000 Smart Cards and more than 200 cars. Coming soon: shareable plug-in hybrids that can power up at kiosks with real-time info on buses and trains.

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  • Denise Kee

    The smart card system is an expensive project and brings a lot of value to the people living there. I am glad chicago has it now.

    Web Design

  • Lynn Becker

    You're far too easily pleased. Universal smart cards are a great idea, but they're a bit of band-aid for a city in deep financial crisis that still socks away billions in tax increment financing districts while essential city services starve and an entrenched mayor skews every policy towards his obsessive dream of a 2016 Olympics, even who steals from the city's future for quick funds today through 75 to 100 year leases of vital city assets.