Bicycle and pedestrian-focused transportation plans
These plans address non-motorized and transit based transportation needs, often with the goal of improving and increasing transit access and use of transportation alternatives. Beginning with an inventory of existing resources and conditions, the planning process engages local stakeholders in conversations that lead to the identification of problem or conflict locations, the development of feasible solutions, and a plan for implementing the identified solutions. Topics can include route planning and infrastructure, intersections, stations and transfer points, signage and signalization, streetscapes and furnishings, and access for people with disabilities. Examples include the Arlington Heights Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, Riverdale Community Area Multimodal Transportation Plan, and the Wheeling Active Transportation Plan.
CMAP's many data-driven projects provide partners with vetted and trustworthy information. Data projects are often the result of years of research and collaboration with federal, state, and local sources. The agency is interested in expanding its research and innovation to provide small-scale assistance to local governments with GIS projects, data research or analysis, and other data-driven projects to address the needs of the region. Please feel free to contact CMAP if you have an idea, or submit a project proposal through the application process and CMAP staff will contact the applicant during the evaluation period to discuss further.
Innovative planning projects
In an effort to expand the technical assistance CMAP offers to the region, CMAP encourages applicants to think beyond a traditional planning project plan to request our services for guidance and assistance with conducting priority setting workshops, providing subject matter expert participation in local or regional planning efforts, providing capacity building training, conducting priority-setting workshops, research partnership or services, and beyond. Projects selected during the 2018 Call for Projects include these "alternative support" efforts, and CMAP continues to encourage applications that request innovative and non-traditional planning assistance.
Land Use and Transportation plans (including comprehensive, economic development, downtown, neighborhood, subarea and transit corridor planning)
This project type is intended to help develop pipelines of potential projects for future competitive grant applications.
Comprehensive plans establish a long-term vision for a community and provide a policy framework intended to help the community achieve that vision and community goals. Typically an 18-24 month process, comprehensive planning involves the public and community stakeholders (business owners, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, staff, etc.) in conversations about challenges, opportunities, priorities, and aspirations for the future of the community. Economic development planning may also include the investigation of economic and workforce development strategies, policies, and best practices that foster sustainable growth. Early stages of the planning process involve an inventory and assessment of the community’s existing conditions including population, housing, economic development, transportation, land use, and natural resources. This examination may include other topics relevant to individual communities such as stormwater management, health, historic preservation, natural resources or agricultural preservation, or community character. Subsequent stages involve developing and discussing planning scenarios, preparing future land use plans and maps, and establishing effective policies and implementation strategies for moving forward. Communities with specific stormwater management challenges and an interest in integrating green infrastructure and land use based solutions within the comprehensive plan are also encouraged to apply. In addition, communities facing near-term development pressure who wish to preserve significant natural resources or agricultural lands and/or coordinate water supply are encouraged to apply. CMAP-funded comprehensive plans include Brookfield, Franklin Park, and Romeoville, and examples of Economic Development plans can be found here and here.
Downtown, Neighborhood, Corridor, and Subarea Transportation Plans
These plans characterizes transportation system deficiencies in an area the size of a neighborhood, business district, or other focus area, including specific corridors. These plans develop goals for improvement, and propose specific projects to address the goals. Projects could include packages of safety countermeasures, bicycle and pedestrian upgrades, improvements to freight movement, and a number of operations improvements such as intersection reconfigurations, addition of turn lanes or through lanes, arterial access management, etc. Transit-specific plans identify ways to improve access to existing transit bus routes and rail stations for residents and commuters in a targeted neighborhood or station area. Existing modes being used to access transit services are examined which lead to the development of recommendations for improvement. Possible improvements include pedestrian amenities such as sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian signal heads, bus shelters, bus pads, and station amenities such as benches, wayfinding signage, etc. Other recommendations could include the implementation of additional modes to further advance connectivity, particularly in suburban settings, to transit stops and stations, such as offering bike share, carpool, car share, and discounted ride share programs to the residents. The plan will include an implementation strategy that prioritizes and suggests phasing for the recommendations. The Aurora Station Boulevard Transit Plan Update, and the La Grange Stone Avenue Station Access Improvement Plan are good examples of completed neighborhood access to transit plans. The North Lawndale Neighborhood Plan and Des Plaines Apache Park Neighborhood Plan are good examples of completed neighborhood plans. The Midlothian, Fox River, and West Pullman 119th Street corridor plans illustrate the breadth of issues that can be addressed in a corridor study.
Transit Corridor Plans
Transit-specific corridor plans develop recommendations for transit-served corridors to enhance local mobility, further advance transit-supportive land use and development guidelines along the corridor or study area. These plans can identify ways to improve multi-modal access to existing or planned transit routes and facilities and identify opportunities to enhance transit-related infrastructure. Transit-focused plans can also identify options to solve the "last-mile problem" for reverse commuters by recommending improved connections among the transit services used by reverse commuters, and identifying increased roles that employers can take to improve transit opportunities within the study area. Projects will be assessed for feasibility, including cost estimation, conducted at the concept level. Plans will include recommendations on project funding approaches and priorities and will also typically include land use, zoning, and development components to spur economic development within the study area. Planning for vulnerable populations, identifying innovative ways to include economically disconnected residents, and/or studying areas that have experienced disinvestment is highly encouraged. The RTA encourages Transit Corridor Plans to be multi-jurisdictional and have a study area that crosses through two or more adjoining municipalities. The Central Harlem Avenue Corridor Plan and 95th Street Corridor Plan are good examples of completed transit corridor plans.
These plans would address a specific, locally controlled site in a community rather than a subarea or corridor. This effort is meant to help communities identify the type of land use most appropriate for a single redevelopment site based on previous planning work, local zoning regulations, and existing market data and analysis. A site-specific plan will result in a basic understanding of what type of use is most appropriate on the site, where development should be located on the site, and how to estimate potential development costs. This type of plan is appropriate for communities interested in redeveloping a municipally-owned site, in which case the plan may include developing an RFP/RFQ for the subject site. Similar plans were developed for Homewood, Blue Island, and Oak Forest.
Local Road Safety Plan
A local road safety plan (LRSP) provides a process for identifying and prioritizing potential safety improvements on local roads. Addressing safety on local roads – mostly municipal streets and county roads – is especially important because more than 60 percent of serious injuries in car crashes occur there. The planning process will involve community outreach as well as the engagement of local expertise in engineering, education/enforcement, and emergency medical services (the “4Es”), as appropriate. It will evaluate the most common and riskiest crash types and locations and develop recommendations for countermeasures. The process results in a plan that assesses crash risk, prioritizes the most important actions including engineering improvements as well as broader safety programs, and lays out implementation steps. The geographic scope of the project and number of locations evaluated will depend somewhat on resources and extent of safety problems, but it is expected that an LRSP could be developed for a smaller municipality or a section of a larger one. LRSPs are a new area for the Local Technical Assistance program, but previous efforts such as the Riverdale Multimodal Transportation Plan provide an example of identifying and prioritizing safety countermeasures.
Parking management and pricing plans
Priced parking has many benefits in areas with significant demand for parking, and is included in ON TO 2050’s transportation revenue recommendations. Implementation will depend on municipal efforts to pursue the recommendation, such as plans that assess pricing of publicly owned parking spaces on streets, municipal parking lots and garages to provide revenue for local transportation improvements and facilitate land to be transitioned to revenue-generating uses. More information on innovative parking strategies can be found the Village of Hinsdale Innovative Parking Management Plan and the Chinatown Parking Management Study.
Planning assessments or studies on special topics
CMAP encourages applicants to propose other innovative projects that would help implement ON TO 2050 at the local level. Examples of relevant past projects include: economic or workforce development (such as the Franklin Park industrial areas plan) and studies of shared services (such as the Lower Fox River Partnering Initiative). CMAP encourages applications that focus on planning efforts that advance the region’s Economically Disconnected Areas, and those that integrate transportation, land use, and quality of life issues. Also eligible are targeted assessments, which would look at one or more specific topics within an existing plan. Examples of successful projects can be found here.
Potential partners of these types of projects are encouraged to contact CMAP to discuss their idea before submitting an application to determine eligibility. Some other examples of these types of special topics include:
Communities seeking to plan for water resources, including for issues such as stormwater management and urban flooding, improved water quality, water demand, and other planning related activities, may be eligible for CMAP assistance. Stormwater management and urban flooding plans can utilize CMAP’s regional flood susceptibility index to help prioritize green infrastructure and land use based solutions. Communities seeking to implement water conservation strategies and/or incorporate future water demand and supply considerations in decision-making are also encouraged to apply. For plans focused on water quality, plans within watersheds that have Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved watershed-based plans are preferred; however, assistance will not be restricted to these communities. Watershed-focused organizations may apply with demonstrated support from the community or communities where the plan will occur. Proposals for watershed implementation and water quality focused plans will be reviewed jointly by Illinois EPA and CMAP staff.
Examples of this type of plan include Evanston’s Water Conservation and Efficiency Plan and the Midlothian 147th Street Corridor Plan. Note: depending on the focus of the project proposal, plans in this category may be contingent on securing additional funding from external sources.
CMAP has developed housing plans for municipalities around the region to help address their most pressing housing issues, create a balanced mix of housing types, serve the needs of current and future residents and workers, and enhance the livability of participating communities. Examples of previous plans include the Affordable Housing Strategy for Impact DuPage and plans created through the Homes for a Changing Region partnership with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC) and Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC). That partnership is now working with the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) on a shorter high-impact housing technical assistance offering that works with local leaders to identify the most pressing local housing problems, brings in topical experts to discuss those challenges with local leaders, and then produces an action plan that recommends specific steps to address those identified issues. Municipalities, community groups, and counties interested in housing planning are encouraged to apply for this new iteration of our housing work. Note: depending on the focus of the project proposal, plans in this category may be contingent on securing additional funding from external sources.
Planning priorities reports
Communities with limited planning experience, few or no professional planning staff, or several competing planning priorities may not be certain what type of planning project they should pursue. In this case, CMAP recommends starting with a planning priorities report to help identify the community’s needs and priorities. Planning priorities reports involve interviews with local stakeholders, review of past planning work, analysis of local data, and recommendations for subsequent planning work. Communities that know they have planning needs but are not certain exactly how to solve them are good candidates for planning priorities reports. Examples include recent plans in Bridgeport/Canaryville, Hampshire, and Sandwich.
Transit-oriented development (TOD) plans
TOD plans are based on the basic tenets of transit-oriented development; mixed land uses, higher residential densities, and pedestrian friendly environments. These plans produce recommendations for an appropriate mix of land uses and transportation improvements to support increased transit ridership within a ¼- to ½- mile radius of a rail station or major bus station. They also address urban design elements, including streetscape improvements, and recommend multi modal mobility improvements to and within the station area. Emphasis should also be placed on an equitable planning process, encouraging improved or increased access to both housing and jobs near transit, the identification of the health benefits of implementing TOD plan recommendations, and an in-depth understanding of the parking utilization in the study area. If your community has an existing TOD plan, but it is more than ten years old or out of touch with current market realities or best planning practices, the RTA will work with you to update the plan with a focus on updating the market assessment, development program and implementation strategies. More information on TOD is found on the RTA’s Transit-Oriented Development Page. Examples include completed TOD plans for Bartlett and Libertyville.
Sustainability, climate action, or climate resilience plans
Sustainability plans serve to identify and forward the environmental goals and resilience strategies of a community. Such plans can address a wide range of potential topics depending on a community’s specific interests and issues, including land use and development, transportation, energy, water resources, waste management, greenhouse gas emissions, municipal operations, and others. The planning process is similar to that of a comprehensive plan, with a detailed existing conditions analysis and thorough public participation process, followed by the development of recommendations. Implementation of a sustainability plan is of particular importance, since making progress in reversing current environmental trends is essential to long-term sustainability. Setting quantitative targets is a way to ensure that implementation strategies are effective and that the community is held accountable for making progress toward its sustainability goals. Climate action or resilience plans, on the other hand, are focused on climate mitigation as well as preparing a community for potential challenges due to climate change, such as more frequent and intense storm events, droughts, and extreme temperatures. Such plans in the region are likely to focus on stormwater management and flooding challenges as well as specific strategies related to land use, transportation, waste, and other areas that might be employed to reduce emissions. Sample plans include sustainability plans in Park Forest and Niles. Note: depending on the focus of the project proposal, plans in this category may be contingent on securing additional funding from external sources.