Press Release, 11-17-10

Press Contacts:
Tom Garritano (312-479-4330 or
Eva Penar (312-616-8000 x 161 or

MetroPulse web resource tracks metropolitan Chicago's quality of life

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and The Chicago Community Trust team up on Regional Indicators Project, a major implementation step of the new GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, November 17, 2010 -- The metropolitan Chicago area today gets a new set of advanced tools to track quality of life, as the Regional Indicators Project's "MetroPulse" web system is launched at  MetroPulse gives the public a simple but powerful interface to access a vast warehouse containing data on the factors that shape quality of life in the seven-county region.

The project is a collaboration of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and The Chicago Community Trust.  The two organizations jointly developed MetroPulse to facilitate local decision making and to track the region's progress in implementing the new GO TO 2040 comprehensive plan.  The site's data resources correspond to recommendations in the plan, which was adopted on October 13.

"MetroPulse will enable local officials and other decision makers to make more-informed choices about how to strengthen our communities," said Randy Blankenhorn, CMAP executive director.  "Also, this new resource responds to one of GO TO 2040's key recommendations, which is to increase information access so as to improve the accountability and transparency of government.  This partnership with The Chicago Community Trust is an important aspect of the assistance that CMAP will provide to municipalities and other units of government as they seek to increase data sharing."

"MetroPulse will help local governments and non-profits to improve their services and programs," said Ngoan Le, vice president of program for The Chicago Community Trust.  "By allowing them to download, tabulate, chart, graph, or map thousands of different datapoints, this new system will help take the guesswork out of policy and investment decisions that shape the daily lives of residents across our region."

The MetroPulse main page features a dozen top-level measures, among nearly 20,000 datasets in the site as a whole.  For example, transit riders make about 2 million public transit trips each weekday, a figure that GO TO 2040 seeks to increase.  The plan calls for reductions of the 139.8 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses that the region emits yearly, also one of the top-level MetroPulse indicators.  Others include land use, educational attainment, civic involvement, housing, employment, and economic prosperity. 

Adopted unanimously by leaders of the seven-county region on October 13, GO TO 2040 is the region's first comprehensive plan since Daniel Burnham's in 1909.  The plan is designed to guide development and investment decisions through mid-century and beyond.  Its implementation will now be led by CMAP, which was formed for this purpose in 2005 at the urging of local elected officials and business leaders.

GO TO 2040seeks to strategically align public policies and investments, maximizing the benefits of scarce resources as the region adds more than 2 million new residents by 2040.  The plan, which is available at, reflects more than three years of research and careful deliberation by CMAP, partners such as The Chicago Community Trust, and stakeholders, including feedback from more than 35,000 residents.

"We're excited to make MetroPulse available as the region's one-stop shop for data on quality-of-life issues," said Andrew Williams-Clark, CMAP senior planner and Regional Indicators Project manager.   "While developing the system has required us to aggregate the data from many multiple sources, our goal is actually to promote a de-centralized model in which government units, non-profits, and even businesses are encouraged to share information.  That is a priority of GO TO 2040, and we look forward to working with our partners to facilitate the open exchange of data."

On October 14, CMAP received word of a three-year, $4.25 million Sustainable Communities Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to support local technical assistance for communities implementing the plan.  MetroPulse will be an integral part of that program of community assistance.




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About CMAP.  The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is the comprehensive regional planning organization for the northeastern Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. By state and federal law, CMAP is responsible for producing the region's official, integrated plan for land use and transportation. The agency's innovative GO TO 2040 planning campaign develops and implements strategies to shape the region's transportation system and development patterns, while also addressing the natural environment, economic development, housing, education, human services, and other factors shaping quality of life. See for more information.

About The Chicago Community Trust.  For 95 years, The Chicago Community Trust, our region's community foundation, has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. In 2009, the Trust, together with its donors, granted more than $100 million to nonprofit organizations. From strengthening schools to assisting local art programs, from building health centers to helping lives affected by violence, the Trust continues to enhance our region. To learn more, please visit the Trust online at