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Regional Data at Your Fingertips: RTA Mapping Tool Makes it Easier

March 24, 2017

22 RTA 0646

If you’re thinking about opening a new business, you may have wondered how many people live in the area or within a couple of miles of the site. Or maybe you’re moving to a new neighborhood and wondering what the growth projection is for the area or how many jobs are nearby.  Those of us who work in public transportation often think about where people live and work.  Quick access to demographic data makes it easier to identify trends and patterns that can be used to inform decisions about transit services and projects.

The RTA’s Hersh Singh and Brad Thompson, of our Data Services and Analytics Department, are our resident experts on preparing this type of information. They are always looking for ways to share data with others and make the work of the RTA more efficient.  Recently, they worked with a developer at ESRI, RTA’s mapping software provider, to develop a powerful, easy to use tool that lets users access current and projected population and employment data quickly and easily. Hersh and Brad identified the need and it turned out that ESRI’s David Martinez had been working on the same thing.

The partnership between RTA and ESRI resulted in the RTA Population and Employment Statistics Viewer. The mapping application with detailed instructions can be found here:

This interactive application allows users to choose any point or area on the map in the RTA region to display population and employment stats for the years 2010, 2015, and 2040 (projected). This way, users can learn more about current and/or future of population and employment around transit stations, employment centers or other specific locations quickly without having to spend hours downloading data and mapping software.

The underlying data is from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). More information and access to the raw data available at:

For developers interested in the code and API utilized to create this web application please see: and

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