Community Planning

20-years of planning

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the RTA’s Community Planning program, and the RTA’s involvement in community planning as it relates to public transportation and transit-supportive land use.

By providing funds and technical assistance to complete plans as well as support to implement those plans, the RTA’s Community Planning program encourages municipalities in the region to develop walkable and more sustainable communities near transit stations and along transit corridors.


The RTA is on the National forefront of transit agencies providing this type of planning assistance.

Locally, the program continues to be an important tool in the region for transit-oriented development.

Throughout the 20-year history of the program, the RTA has invested over $20 million in nearly

200 projects by partnering with:

  • the CTA, Metra, and Pace
  • the six county governments
  • several councils of mayors
  • roughly half of all local governments that have transit service in the NE Illinois region

Eligible projects include:

Transit-oriented development (TOD) plans Transit corridor plans
TOD developer discussion panels TOD zoning code updates
Plans to develop special funding districts in transit areas Transit neighborhood mobility improvement plans
Other innovative approaches to transit implementation

Through the recent Call for Projects, the following project applications have been received and will be reviewed by the RTA for possible inclusion in the 2019 Community Planning Program of Projects. Application review will take place through December and a preliminary program of projects will be available for public comment in January 2019. Final project selection will be February 21, 2019 with notification of the 2019 Program of Projects to the RTA Board of Directors. For more information on a particular project, click on the applicant name in the chart below to view the project application.


Project Title


City of Aurora

Aurora Transportation Center TOD Plan

The City of Aurora requests a transit-oriented development plan that is focused on a one-quarter to one-half mile radius around the Aurora Transportation Center in downtown Aurora. Plan recommendations would target infrastructural and aesthetic improvements that will enhance the sense of place, identify key sites for the construction of new, higher density residential development, and will identify ways to provide and enhance river and riparian habitat, creating a wildlife-friendly environment.

Village of Beach Park

Metra Station Feasibility Checklist Study

The Village of Beach Park requests a feasibility study for the placement of a commuter rail station between Waukegan and Zion along the Union Pacific-North line. The study would include a travel market assessment, identifying alternative locations of available land, analyzing the potential impacts a new station would have to existing service on the rail line, and cost estimates to construct and maintain a new station.

City of Cary

Cary TOD Plan

The City of Cary requests the creation of a transit-oriented development plan for the area generally located within a half mile of the Cary Metra station with particular attention given to properties located within the first quarter mile.  The project would focus on future land use and infrastructure improvements that would help to strengthen the inner core of the community and encourage private reinvestment near the station.

City of Chicago, Department Of Transportation (CDOT)

31st Street Little Village Corridor Study

CDOT is seeking assistance in determining a course of action for improving mobility along 31st Street from Sacramento Avenue to the city limits, particularly for non-auto users (pedestrians, transit riders, and bicyclists). This work would include collecting and aggregating data of travel trends and traveler demographics in the study area and assisting with community outreach to obtain consensus on plan recommendations.

City of Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake and Pingree Road TOD Plan

The City of Crystal Lake requests the creation of a transit-oriented development plan for the areas surrounding the Crystal Lake and Pingree Road Metra stations. The project would create a development strategy for increasing the density in these areas with the goals to strengthen pedestrian walkability and to expand mixed use and transit supportive land uses for increased travel efficiency.

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

Red Line Extension Transit Supportive Comprehensive Plan

CTA seeks assistance to complete a comprehensive plan for the Red Line Extension (RLE) project that will help in leveraging the full potential of the new rail service. The plan will guide development surrounding the new line so that it enhances economic vitality, supports transit ridership, promotes multimodal connectivity, provides a focus on the pedestrian environment and preserves affordable housing.

Elevated Chicago

Workplan Implementation Assistance

Elevated Chicago requests the development of an implementation strategy for the Elevated Chicago Workplan, focusing on CTA station access, traffic and circulation, community safety, equity, placemaking, and beautification. This assistance would include creating an action plan for each of seven CTA station areas identified by Elevated Chicago through their Workplan, and a public outreach strategy to generate public interest and engage partners to identify implementable recommendations.

Village of Itasca

Downtown Strategic Action Plan Update

The Village of Itasca requests technical assistance in updating the Downtown Strategic Action Plan aimed at strengthening the downtown business environment surrounding the Itasca Metra station, guiding development and redevelopment, building on the Village’s unique assets in the downtown area including historic buildings, parks and open space, and enhancing opportunities for transit-oriented development.


Station Optimization Analysis

Metra requests an examination of 12 stations across the region in an effort to diagnosis the reasons for low ridership. The project would include an examination of service levels, current and forecasted ridership, service options, market area characteristics, and the potential for transit-oriented development. A cost benefit analysis of each station’s ongoing operations would be included to provide an overall set of recommendations for the future of each station.


I-294 Tri-State Transit Market and Facilities Assessment

Pace requests a transit market and facilities assessment of the I-294 Tri-State corridor from 159th Street Interchange in Markham to the Balmoral Interchange in Rosemont that would encompass a 5-mile radius on either side of the corridor. The assessment would identify transit markets along I-294 to inform where future routes and investments in transit infrastructure could be made when the Tri-State is rebuilt, providing incentives for commuters to use public transit.

Village of Park Forest

Transportation Alternatives Study

The Village of Park Forest requests a transportation alternatives study on behalf of the villages of Park Forest, Matteson and Richton Park. The study would determine the market potential for new mobility services such as local community-based transit services, shared mobility services and non-motorized transportation alternatives.

Village of Riverside

TOD Zoning Code Update

The Village of Riverside requests a comprehensive update to its Zoning Ordinance. The update would reflect current development trends and implement the Central Business District Plan that promotes pedestrian oriented redevelopment in the District while preserving the character of the downtown.  The update would also address  zoning issues related to protecting the Village's national historic landmark designation.

City of Woodstock

Metra Railyard Relocation

The City of Woodstock requests planning assistance to support moving the existing Metra railyard, now located in Crystal Lake, to a site in rural Woodstock, thereby expanding the services of the railyard to offer a full maintenance facility. The assistance would determine the extent of improvements and required land purchases needed to maximize the relocation of the railyard.


Who may apply: Municipalities, counties, townships, councils of government / municipal associations, groups of two or more municipalities, and the RTA Service Boards (Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Pace) located within the RTA's six-county service region (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties) are eligible to apply to the Community Planning program. Non-governmental organizations must partner with a governmental organization to submit the application.

For assistance with planning projects beyond the above listed categories, please consider the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s Local Technical Assistance Program. This program provides technical assistance to communities across the Chicago metropolitan region to undertake planning projects that advance the principles of the region’s comprehensive plan ON TO 2050.

Please visit the RTAMS website to view the status of Community Planning projects that are underway, read about previously completed projects and reports, and to search projects by various criteria.