Our region relies on its transit system, which benefits us all — not just the 2 million riders who commute each day by train or bus. Public transportation keeps cars off the roads, reduces congestion for everyone who drives, and improves air quality for all. And the mobility enabled by transit helps our economy and quality of life, giving people more choices for getting around.

Policy and Planning

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).  BRT is gaining momentum as a flexible, cost-effective solution that improves transit and reduces congestion. CMAP has published Land Use Policies and Strategies for Expressway-Based Bus Rapid Transit, a guide for municipalities, transit providers, and transportation agencies to utilize when planning for BRT networks.

Red Line South Extension.  Among a handful of GO TO 2040 major capital projects, the Red Line South Extension will add 5.5 miles to this CTA facility. The CTA's most heavily used line, the Red Line is now 22 miles long, and access to it by bus is especially difficult south of 95th Street — the station whose ridership is higher than any outside of downtown Chicago. The Red Line South Extension will streamline those connections, significantly reducing the number of bus-to-rail transfers. Through its Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program, CMAP collaborates with the Developing Communities Project (DCP) and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) on a livability report in support of the proposed Red Line South Extension. The report supplements the CTA's pursuit of federal New Starts funding and serves as an educational resource for the Greater Roseland community, as well as local, state, and federal partners.

Transit Resources

GO TO 2040.  The comprehensive plan's Regional Mobility chapter recommends that the region should increase the commitment to transit

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD).  During the development of GO TO 2040, CMAP published a strategy paper on TOD.  CMAP also partners with the Regional Transit Authority to assist communities in developing TOD plans through the Local Technical Assistance program.

Visualizations Explore the Metropolitan Chicago Transportation Network. Interactive mobility visualizations allow users to explore data on metropolitan Chicago's transportation system, including road, transit, and freight networks, which drive our regional economy.

More About Transit

After decades of underinvestment, our transit infrastructure is aging and in need of improvement. Some people choose not to use transit service due to concerns about delays or infrequent service. Many residents don't even have that choice, because parts of the region lack transit service altogether. Improving public transportation will increase ridership while making transit accessible to more people.

Investing in maintenance will put more of our infrastructure in good condition, reducing delays and increasing reliability. In making improvements, we need to consider how residents perceive transit, because comfort and aesthetics can prompt more people to travel by train or bus instead of driving. So can the use of advanced technology that makes transit more efficient— for example, by providing riders with real-time service status information. To increase coverage of the region, investments should be prioritized to expand bus service in communities that are actively planning for transit-supportive development.

To pay for these improvements, our transit agencies need to address the cost of their services, which have been rising rapidly. New revenue—such as a portion of a potential gas tax increase and congestion pricing revenue—should support transit. The region needs to investigate other innovative revenue sources (such as "value capture) and financing methods (such as public-private partnerships).

Finally, GO TO 2040 recommends taking a limited and conservative approach to major expansion. Rather than pursue expensive transit "mega-projects," our resources must be targeted to improve what we already have. Making the system more efficient and predictable and increasing transit-supportive development will improve access to and utilization of the region's existing transit assets. 

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Transit Updates


March 05, 2019

Innovative, user-based revenue options must be part of region's transportation funding solution

This analysis is one of a series examining transportation funding in northeastern Illinois and explaining the revenue recommendations included in ON TO 2050.

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April 26, 2016

Commute trends of CMAP region freight and manufacturing workers

Metropolitan Chicago's workforce is one of the most important factors in a strong regional economy.  An integral element -- regional workforce mobility, measured in this Policy Update by comm...

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March 27, 2015

RTA survey results highlight effects of transit-oriented developments

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) released results from a survey of residents of transit-oriented developments (TOD) in the suburbs of Chicago. The report includes key findings on wh...

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February 12, 2015

Obama Administration Releases Transportation Reauthorization Proposal

The White House proposed a $478 billion, six-year transportation reauthorization program as part of its FY16 budget request.

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January 26, 2015

Interactive Mobility Data Visualizations Highlight Value, Needs of Metropolitan Chicago's Transportation System

Maps and graphs based on data indicators show the region's transportation network is not being adequately maintained.

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October 17, 2014

Report highlights regional transit governance systems

The Eno Center for Transportation report profiles the governance and funding of transit systems in six major metropolitan areas.

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September 24, 2014

House Committee Advances Passenger Rail Bill

The Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2014 would authorize $5.8 billion in core spending for Amtrak through FY 2018, along with enacting various reforms.

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July 30, 2014

Senate Passes Transportation Reauthorization Bill Extension

The version passed by the Senate would provide $8.1 billion in transfers to the Highway Trust Fund to extend the federal transportation program through December 19, 2014

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July 15, 2014

Community planning proposals

CMAP received 104 applications were submitted by 77 different applicants to the LTA program.

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July 10, 2014

U.S. House Committee Marks Up Transportation Bill Extension

The Highway and Transportation Funding Act would provide $10.9 billion in transfers to the Highway Trust Fund.

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June 13, 2014

Draft GO TO 2040 plan update available for public comment through August 1, 2014

Submit comments on-line and attend open house meetings throughout the region for the draft GO TO 2040 plan update and FFY 2014-19 Transportation Improvement Program.

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June 05, 2014

General Assembly Passes Transportation Capital Program

The Illinois General Assembly passed HB 3794 and SB 3224, which together will provide for $1.1 billion in new bond proceeds to support transportation investment.

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April 07, 2014

TFIC Releases $1.8 Billion Proposal for State Transportation Funding

The Transportation for Illinois Coalition proposal would support both pay-as-you-go spending and bonding for state transportation needs.

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April 10, 2012

Bus Rapid Transit Database is Released

A global database of bus rapid transit (BRT) systems was recently released by EMBARQ (the World Resource Institute's Center for Sustainable Transport) and the Across Latitudes and Cultures-Bu...

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April 02, 2012

CNT Releases Prospering in Place Report

The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) recently released Prospering in Place: Linking Jobs, Development, and Transit to Spur Chicago's Economy . It offers strategies to increase location ...

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January 27, 2011

A New Perspective on Federal Transportation Policy

While the federal government has not yet acted in reauthorizing a transportation law, there is no shortage of innovative suggestions for making the next bill truly transformative. In a new policy...

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February 09, 2011

CMAP Federal Agenda 2011

The federal government is critical to the success of GO TO 2040 . It must decide how to allocate billions in taxpayer dollars annually across a variety of different programs, services, and projec...

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March 08, 2011

Redevelopment to Link Transit and Jobs

One of the GO TO 2040 plan's primary goals is for the region to redevelop more than 100,000 acres of currently vacant or under-used land, which is ripe for a mix of residential and commercial us...

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April 29, 2011

Major Capital Project Series--Central Lake County Corridor

NOTE: This is the second in a three-part Policy Updates series on GO TO 2040 Major Capital Projects: Keeping Tabs on the Major Capital Projects in GO TO 2040 Major Capital Project Series --...

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May 27, 2011

Status of Federal Transportation Reauthorization

The current federal transportation authorization legislation, SAFETEA-LU , expired at the end of September 2009. Since then, states, MPOs, and other project implementers have been operating under...

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