GO TO 2040 recognizes the importance of a modern transportation system to sustain our region's economy and quality of life. Residents must be able to access a variety of jobs and communities in which to live, and businesses rely on timely shipments to receive inputs and deliver goods.
While the region's transportation system has long been a foundation of our success, it was built decades ago and is in need of significant investment. Simply put, we must modernize our transportation system to compete in the global economy. CMAP's work plan emphasizes the following mobility topics:
- Strategic Investment. A 21st Century transportation system requires strategic investments that support economic growth and quality of life.
- Roads. The region needs a coordinated approach to reducing congestion that costs the region billions annually.
- Transit. A stronger commitment to transit will improve service and increase ridership, with widespread benefits to the region.
- Freight. As the nation's freight hub, our region has significant economic opportunities and responsibilities.
The transportation network is one of our region's most important assets, moving people and goods to and from jobs, markets, and recreation. While this advanced system of highways, trains, and buses retains an excellent national and global reputation, it is aging quickly and losing stride with 21st Century needs. The Regional Vision describes a future multimodal transportation system that is "safe, accessible, easy to navigate, affordable, and coordinated with nearby land uses," reduces congestion and improves mobility, and supports "reinvestment in our existing communities…leading to environmentally sensitive and fiscally efficient outcomes."
To achieve this, GO TO 2040 seeks to maintain existing infrastructure of all types and gain operational efficiencies from it, make additional investments in transit and freight, use innovative and sustainable finance and system management ideas, link transportation investments with housing and land uses, and encourage choices that result in livable, walkable, transit-supportive communities.
CMAP thinks about regional transportation system as having the following components: strategic investment, roads, transit, and freight. A 21st Century transportation system requires strategic investments that support economic growth and quality of life. Billions of transportation dollars are at stake each year in Illinois. Taxpayers deserve to understand how priorities are set for investments, and that these investments are credible, accountable, and tied to measureable benefits.
A strategic, performance-based approach will help to address the region's substantial road congestion and deferred maintenance needs. Our extensive highway network accommodates the vast majority of regional travel, not only in private automobiles, but also by other mode. A modern approach to highway investment must embrace "complete streets" that also recognize the needs of transit, bicyclists, and pedestrians. This way of thinking acknowledges that roads are not only transportation facilities, but also vital components of our communities.
Strategic investments will also help to provide a stronger commitment to transit. Northeastern Illinois needs and deserves a world-class transit system. This requires attention to not only how transit operates, but how it is perceived. A transit system that functions well, with on-time and frequent service and seamless connection between modes, is a necessity. But so are features that make transit attractive, such as clean stations, modern transit vehicles, and clear information.
Finally, such an approach will recognize the critical importance of freight to our region. Metropolitan Chicago is the nation's preeminent freight hub, linking the region's industries and consumers to global markets. Highways, railroads, waterways, and airports all provide important connections to the world. Yet each of these modes of transportation is intertwined with the livability of the region.