What types of assistance does the RTA provide?
Below is a list of the eligible types of RTA assistance available through the current call for projects.
Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Plans
Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Plans (eTOD) are based on the basic tenets of transit-oriented development, with mixed land uses, higher residential densities, and pedestrian friendly environments. eTOD plans move beyond traditional TOD plans by ensuring an equitable planning process that listens to the voices of all those impacted, considers a range of diverse housing types with a focus on affordability and including a focus on racial equity. These plans produce recommendations for an appropriate mix of land uses and transportation improvements to support increased transit ridership within a quarter- to half-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 is 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.
Transit Corridor Plans
Transit-specific corridor plans develop recommendations for transit-served corridors to enhance local mobility, and 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 improve "last-mile" and non-traditional commuter needs by recommending improved connections among the transit services used by reverse commuters, and by identifying increased roles that employers can take to improve transit opportunities 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.
Neighborhood Mobility Hubs and Mobility Improvement Plans
Municipalities and transit riders are increasingly searching for multi-modal ways to travel with seamless connections between modes. Creating a regional network of bus and mobility hubs could also balance out the downtown Chicago focus of the region’s rail system, keeping transit competitive as travel patterns continue its shift since 2020. Municipalities can work towards that end by examining the feasibility of Mobility Hubs at key transit areas and creating conceptual Mobility Hub site plans at transit hubs. Doing so brings multiple modes of transportation together, encourages seamless multi-modal travel and promotes the use of active and micro modes of travel. Municipalities can also plan to widen bicycle lanes and pedestrian sidewalks, re-think roadway rights of way, and restrict vehicular speeds. Identifying these improvements in areas served by transit will further support access to transit.
Curb Management Studies
As people use shared rides more often and continue to shop virtually, the need to rethink parking and curb management in urban areas, especially along bus routes and near rail stations, continues. The RTA will partner with local governments to study curb space in transit served areas to understand utilization and demand. Results will then inform our partners on strategies to manage high demand curb space, which could include zones for various uses, shared-use zones depending on time of day and strategies to better facilitate bus passenger stops.
Special Financing Districts
The RTA will assist transit-served municipalities with planning for a special funding district in their community, such as a tax increment finance district, special service area, and business development district. Funding generated from these districts/areas can be used to implement recommendations from municipal plans.
RTA assistance, in partnership with the Urban Land Institute, will be provided to solicit guidance and advice from development experts through a half-day discussion panel. Panelists and municipal leaders discuss the development climate and potential strategies to prepare for and attract development in a specific subarea, along a corridor, or at a specific site. These sessions most commonly take place after a planning study, such as an eTOD plan, has been completed, but can also occur during the larger planning process.
Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Zoning Code Updates
The RTA will assist local government staff to create development standards and review processes that make investment in the community more attractive to potential developers, business owners, and residents seeking to improve their property. The project team will assess the current regulations and existing conditions in the community and deliver a revised zoning ordinance, subdivision ordinance, unified development ordinance, overlay district, or other appropriate document.
Transit Station Activation Projects – A NEW RTA Pilot Project for 2024
To support implementation of Transit Is The Answer and the RTA’s Safety and Security Summit, the 2024 call for projects will pilot a new category, Transit Station Activations. Under this category funding will be made available to cover the costs related to rail station and bus stop activation projects and activities aimed at bringing a temporary, increased presence of people to transit stations and stops as a solution to real or perceived public safety concerns. It is envisioned these projects and activities will be simple, short-term actions occurring for a few hours over the course of 1-2 days that will bring residents, transit riders and visitors to the area to experience the activation project. Read more about this new type of assistance from RTA.
What types of assistance does CMAP provide?
Below are descriptions for the ten types of CMAP assistance, including thematic priorities and specific communities encouraged to apply, available during the 2024 call for projects. To help communities identify which type of CMAP assistance is ideal for their priorities, view this flow chart.
ADA self-evaluation and transition plans
Creating communities that are not just compliant, but fully accessible to all and aware of accessibility challenges and the benefits of accessibility.
CMAP will work with local governments to develop a plan that complies with the Title II obligations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This assistance type involves developing a self-evaluation of non-compliant transportation assets, helping communities identify improvements that can make sidewalks, crosswalks, curb ramps, and landings easier to navigate. CMAP will also encourage local staff to go beyond their legal mandates and integrate key principles of universal design into their planning processes.
All communities are eligible and encouraged to apply.
Bicycle and pedestrian plans
Cultivating innovative approaches that implement the principles of ON TO 2050, identify networks for safe travel for all, and prepare communities for various implementation funding sources.
Local governments interested in creating a plan that identifies improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians may want to consider this type of assistance. Projects awarded will receive planning support for intersections, transit stations and transfer points, signage and signalization, streetscapes and furnishings, route planning and infrastructure, as well as ADA accessibility.
While all communities are eligible and encouraged to apply, communities in cohorts 3 and 4 will receive priority consideration when evaluating applications for bicycle and pedestrian planning assistance.
Capital improvement plans
Cultivating innovative approaches that implement the principles of ON TO 2050 and support data-driven, transparent capital improvement planning and prepare communities for greater plan implementation success.
Under this assistance type, CMAP will support local governments by evaluating existing capital planning processes, providing recommendations and training that can help develop a transparent, strategic and successful planning process, and working with the community to create a multi-year capital improvement plan (CIP).
While all communities are eligible and encouraged to apply, communities in cohorts 3 and 4 will receive priority consideration when evaluating applications for capital improvement planning assistance.
Cultivating innovative approaches that implement the principles of ON TO 2050 and interweave roadway safety improvements, inclusive economic growth, and regional housing needs.
CMAP will work with local governments to develop a plan that addresses transportation and other improvements in a neighborhood, business district, corridor, riverfront, or other focus areas. Under this offering, CMAP also will help develop goals for improvement, propose specific projects to address the goals, and create a strategy to implement recommendations.
All communities are eligible and encouraged to apply.
Cultivating innovative approaches that implement the principles of ON TO 2050 and prepare communities to prioritize projects, apply for grants, and successfully manage external funding.
CMAP will help local governments secure additional resources and funding opportunities under this assistance type. Municipalities will receive support to prepare for grant opportunities, establish consensus on priority transportation projects, identify the next steps for implementation, and receive resources to seek out and manage grant funding.
While all communities are eligible and encouraged to apply, communities in cohorts 3 and 4 will receive priority consideration when evaluating applications for grant readiness assistance.
Housing and jobs study - AHPAA
Cultivating innovative approaches that implement the principles of ON TO 2050 and plan for the housing needs that will support a robust and inclusive regional economy.
In December 2023, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) released its determination of which communities are non-exempt under the Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act. Non-exempt communities are required prepare an affordable housing plan and submit it to IHDA. CMAP will work with these communities to prepare the required plan. Extensive community outreach will underpin the plan, particularly the identification of one of three local housing goals specified in the Act. CMAP also will encourage the community to go beyond the minimum mandates and consider the relationship between jobs, transportation, and housing needs.
While all communities are eligible and encouraged to apply, communities in cohorts 1 and 2 will receive priority consideration when evaluating applications for housing and jobs study assistance.
NEXT Program (plan implementation assistance)
Cultivating innovative approaches that implement the principles of ON TO 2050 and support communities capacity to organize plan implementation efforts and achieve plan goals.
Local governments seeking to take the next steps toward achieving the outcomes outlined in local plans, including past CMAP and RTA plans, should consider applying for the NEXT Program. CMAP will work with communities to prioritize improvements, develop an action plan, and assist them with executing the plan.
While all communities are eligible and encouraged to apply, communities in cohorts 3 and 4 will receive priority consideration when evaluating applications for NEXT program assistance.
Pavement management plans
Cultivating innovative approaches that implement the principles of ON TO 2050 and accelerate adoption of infrastructure improvements, particularly evidence-based tools to make transportation investment decisions.
Communities interested in the most cost-effective way to address pavement needs and achieve prioritized pavement condition targets should consider CMAP’s pavement management plan. Projects awarded through this offering will receive support from an engineering firm, selected by CMAP, to create a document that emphasizes the importance of pavement preservation, describes the current condition of pavement, evaluates cost, and uses the results to develop a capital plan.
All communities are eligible and encouraged to apply.
Site planning pilot
Cultivating innovative approaches that implement the principles of ON TO 2050 and supports market and fiscal feasibility when planning for the use or reuse of sites that leverage the existing transportation network.
In this assistance type, CMAP will work with local governments to develop a subarea site plan for an infill site or sites in cohort 1 or 2 communities, incorporating the ON TO 2050 principles of resilience, inclusive growth, and prioritized investment into the land planning process. Studying the underutilized infill site will determine how redevelopment could and should leverage the existing transportation network; attract inclusive investment and development; broaden diversity in housing choices; enhance the usability of the public right-of-way by non-vehicular modes; expand transportation connections to key destinations; increase roadway safety for all modes; expand community empowerment and equitable engagement; and provide an action plan to implement plan recommendations.
While all communities are eligible and encouraged to apply, communities in cohorts 1 and 2 will receive priority consideration when evaluating applications for site planning pilot assistance.
Link to final flow chart