2019/2020 Call for Projects

Local Technical Assistance and Community Planning Programs

The Call For Projects is now closed. 

Please contact Tony Manno  (312.386.8606, tmanno@cmap.illinois.gov) if you have any questions


Click the banner to be taken directly to the Application form. 

Click here to be taken directly to the FAQs and Project Descriptions.


Program Overview

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) announce the availability of funding for the Local Technical Assistance and Community Planning programs, which offer support to local governments, non-profit agencies, the region’s transit service boards, and other organizations looking to plan and implement projects that will benefit the community and the region as a whole.

While the RTA and CMAP have separate planning assistance programs, applicants are able to apply to both programs through a single online application. This agency coordination allows us to offer planning and plan implementation assistance to an expanded base of eligible applicants, align all efforts with CMAP’s ON TO 2050 priorities, and/or Invest in Transit, the 2018-2023 Regional Transit Strategic Plan, and provide technical assistance in a coordinated manner that benefits the entire region

Program application timeline

September 17

Call for Projects opens

September 19

Application information webinar

Please RSVP to Alex Devlin at devlina@rtachicago.org if you would like to participate. A recording of the webinar can be found here


October 17

Applications due before noon.


October 2019 

Upon application submittal, CMAP staff will contact the applicant to help create a map of the proposed study area.

October – December 2019

CMAP and RTA staff evaluate applications and may contact applicants with additional questions. 

December 2019 

RTA preliminary project selection recommendations released and public comment period conducted.

Spring 2020

CMAP Board is presented with the selected program of projects for consideration.  RTA Board is notified of recommended Community Planning projects; successful applicants notified. 

July 2020 through June 2023

Anticipated project timeframe for approved projects 


Eligible applicants and projects

Municipalities, counties, townships, councils of government (COGs), municipal associations, groups of two or more municipalities located within CMAP’s seven-county region (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties) and the RTA Service Boards (CTA, Metra, Pace) are eligible to apply for assistance. Nongovernmental organizations in the region are eligible to apply for CMAP assistance but must have the support of the local government in which their project will take place. Nongovernmental organizations in the region must partner with a governmental organization to be eligible to apply for RTA assistance.

The CMAP and RTA planning assistance programs encourage applicants to undertake a balanced, coordinated, and integrated approach to land use and transportation planning benefiting local communities. Applicants are encouraged to study the ON TO 2050 priorities as well as the RTA’s Invest in Transit goals when drafting an application to ensure that the proposed project addresses our region’s planning priorities.

Both agencies have common priorities, including projects which:

  • Support development of compact, walkable communities
  • Match regional and local housing supply with the diversity of housing that serves the needs of the community
  • Advocate for and develop policies that strengthen communities
  • Incorporate market and fiscal feasibility into planning and development processes
  • Encourage multijurisdictional partnerships and study areas
  • Strengthen and make transit more competitive
  • Target disinvested and economically disconnected areas (see links for maps and definitions)
  • Leverage the transportation network to promote inclusive growth

The RTA also has additional criteria that is unique to their program:

Eligible transit-related planning and implementation projects are typically evaluated for consideration under the RTA’s Community Planning program. Transit/TOD projects must be located on the existing transit system.

Transit service planning is only available to the Service Boards (Metra, Pace, CTA). Municipalities interested in transit service planning should request a partnership with the appropriate Service Board(s) to apply for assistance.

Applicants with transit-related projects are required to coordinate project applications with the impacted Transit Service Board(s) by emailing a brief description of their project to the appropriate Service Board contacts. The Service Boards may respond with any concerns or comments related to the proposed project. Service Board coordination must begin by October 1 with email requests to:


CTA Gerard Nichols gnichols@transitchicago.com
Metra David Kralik dkralik@metrarr.com
Pace David Tomzik David.Tomzik@pacebus.com

Typical projects for both programs include:


  • Bicycle and pedestrian
  • GIS/data assistance
  • Innovative planning projects
  • Land Use and Transportation (including comprehensive, economic development, downtown, neighborhood, subarea, site-specific, transit, and corridor)
  • Local Road Safety
  • Parking management and pricing
  • Planning assessments or studies on special topics (including water-related and housing)
  • Planning priorities reports
  • Transit-Oriented Development
  • Sustainability, climate action, or climate resilience


  • Developer discussion panels (subareas, TOD areas, corridors, downtown areas, etc.)
  • Innovative implementation projects on special topics covered in ON TO 2050, and/or Invest in Transit
  • Site-specific plans
  • Special funding districts (TIF, SSA, BID)
  • Training (for elected/appointed officials, staff, and other decision makers on specific planning topics such as zoning and subdivision regulations, plan implementation, conservation design, sustainability, GIS, research and analysis)
  • Zoning ordinances (municipality-wide or subarea, e.g. TOD areas), subdivision ordinances, and Unified Development Ordinances)

Please see the eligible project descriptions here. Funds available through these programs are for planning purposes only. Capital, engineering, operating, land acquisition, or equipment costs are not eligible. Selection of projects is dependent on funding availability, particularly for projects that do not have a direct transportation or land use connection.

Local contribution

The RTA and CMAP ask successful applicants to provide a local financial contribution for their respective programs. Project contributions are based on the economic and demographic characteristics of the area served, with lower contribution rates for smaller communities and those with a lower tax base or median income. Contribution rates are calculated based on the best available data for the area affected by the project. For large municipalities and counties, projects that affect only one part of the jurisdiction will have local contributions based on the demographic and economic conditions of the study area. CMAP and the RTA will provide contribution rate information to applicants upon request, and applicants will be advised of the estimated local contribution amount prior to project selection. 

Project evaluation and selection process

These programs are competitive, and both agencies expect to receive more applications than can be accommodated. Each application is initially screened for program eligibility based on the following criteria:

  • Study area is located in the seven-county CMAP region
  • Applicant is eligible
  • Project type is eligible
  • Does not duplicate previous work

Eligible projects are then evaluated based on the following criteria for both programs:

  • Project aligns with ON TO 2050 priorities, and/or Invest in Transit
  • Project subject matter matches available funding sources
  • Project is feasible
  • For plan implementation efforts, the project must implement a recommendation from an adopted plan. Priority for implementation assistance is given to previous RTA and CMAP project sponsors, but others are also eligible to apply.
  • Support from external partners including transportation and transit agencies,  and other coordinating agencies (where applicable) 
  • Demonstrated applicant commitment to project development and implementation

CMAP and RTA may consult other partner agencies including counties, COGs, other technical assistance providers, and transportation and transit agencies for input on all applications. During the review process, the RTA and CMAP staff may contact each applicant to ask questions regarding the details of the proposed project. Project selection is dependent on funding availability. All projects should expect to commence towards the end of calendar year 2020 or the first part of calendar year 2021.

For questions regarding the RTA or CMAP Programs, or regarding your application, please contact:

CMAP Contacts

Tony Manno 
Senior Planner 
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning


RTA Contact 

Michael Horsting, AICP
Manager, Local Planning 
Regional Transportation Authority horstingm@rtachicag.org 

Application Form

RTA Community Planning Program and CMAP Local Technical Assistance Program 

The Call for Projects is now closed. Please contact Tony Manno  (312.386.8606, tmanno@cmap.illinois.gov) if you have any questions



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