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ON TO 2050

To shape the region's next comprehensive plan, CMAP invites your feedback on five possible Alternative Futures.

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Questions or comments? Contact Kristin Ihnchak or Elizabeth Schuh.

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NEW:  Alternative Futures engagement has begun!  To shape ON TO 2050, CMAP is conducting extensive public engagement around five possible Alternative Futures: Changed Climate, Walkable Communities, Innovative Transportation, Constrained Resources, and Transformed Economy.  As one future is rolled out each month from April through August 2017, residents can comment via interactive kiosks, public workshops, online surveys, videos, and five forums.  Visit to learn more and get involved.  

ON TO 2050 Planning Process

This page outlines the approach that CMAP will take to developing ON TO 2050, which is slated for adoption in October 2018. As with GO TO 2040, it will again be a highly transparent and collaborative effort involving partners and stakeholders from across the seven counties and 284 communities of northeastern Illinois. Please provide feedback on topics being studied for Strategy Papers and Snapshot Reports currently in development.

Setting clear priorities

The draft Emerging Priorities for ON TO 2050 report and appendix are now available.  Reflecting input from more than 7,000 stakeholders online and at over 100 workshops, the report will be submitted to the CMAP Board for approval in October 2016.

Metropolitan Chicago has changed in significant ways since GO TO 2040 was adopted unanimously in 2010 by leaders from across the seven counties. Collaborative efforts at the local, state, and federal levels have helped to implement GO TO 2040 recommendations, yet difficult realities persist even as new challenges continue to emerge. The CMAP Board and staff have identified a number of broad priorities for ON TO 2050, which should:

At this early stage in development of ON TO 2050, no final decisions have been made about what it will or will not include. To reach those decisions will entail significant CMAP research and engagement with partners and stakeholders. The agency has begun to study the following topics, which will generate snapshot reports, strategy papers, and public events to spur debate and build awareness of issues that can help accomplish ON TO 2050's broad priorities. Criteria for deciding whether ON TO 2050 will ultimately emphasize a specific topic include:

  • Does CMAP or its partners have authority to implement recommendations?
  • Does it meet objectives that have realistic chances for success?
  • Is it considered important by multiple constituents?
  • Is addressing it essential to the plan's and agency's credibility?
  • Are the likely recommendations feasible to implement?

Iterative research and engagement

In mid-2015, agency staff began to work with formal CMAP committees and informal resource groups to assess existing conditions and trends; to incorporate appropriate information and recommendations from state, county, local, and other plans developed since GO TO 2040; to develop data, forecasting, and engagement methods; and to identify a preferred approach and strategies for scenario development. In spring 2016, the public will begin to see the fruits of this collaborative research and engagement, including snapshot reports, strategy papers, topical forums, and plan workshops.

Snapshot reports. These will be concise, data-driven examinations of existing conditions and trends in general topics such as economic clusters, infill and transit oriented development, demographics, general transportation, and freight.

Strategy papers. These will be somewhat longer examinations of more specific policy areas such as reinvestment and infill, infrastructure investments, green infrastructure, regional housing supply and affordability, climate resilience, inclusive growth, highway operations, and transit modernization, among others.

Topical forums. To encourage input and build awareness of these studies starting in spring 2016, CMAP will work with its partners to convene an on-going series of public forums, featuring panel discussions by topical experts from across the region.

Plan workshops. During the first half of 2016, CMAP staff will partner with organizations interested in co-hosting workshops to increase awareness about ON TO 2050 and to collect feedback on their members' priorities for the region.

Get involved

Continual input by stakeholder organizations and individuals was vital to the development and implementation of GO TO 2040. From now through October 2018 and beyond, ON TO 2050 will continue building on that participatory process, which is key to our region's success in defining and achieving its long-term goals. Please take every opportunity to join in the discussion online and at public events.

Please share plan-related information with colleagues and friends, or let us know who else we should engage or if you'd like to conduct a workshop by contacting us at

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