Community Planning

Elgin and Chicago Station

The RTA's Community Planning program offers technical assistance to local governments and intergovernmental organizations to address local planning needs that intersect public transportation and land use. Through this assistance the RTA 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:

  • roughly half of all local governments that have transit service in the NE Illinois region
  • the CTA, Metra, and Pace
  • Counties located in the RTA's region
  • several councils of mayors

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 implementation


A Call for Projects is issued once a year during which time the RTA accepts applications for new projects for the upcoming program year. The Call is held jointly with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, or CMAP, who also has a technical assistance program. While the RTA and CMAP (through its Local Technical Assistance Program) both have separate technical assistance programs, applicants are able to apply for both programs by using one application.  Through this coordination, the RTA and CMAP are able to offer planning and implementation assistance to an expanded base of eligible applicants and provide interagency expertise, technical assistance and capacity.

2019 Program of Projects

After reviewing applications received from the most recent call for projects the RTA has released its proposed 2019 Community Planning Program of Projects. The table below lists the applicant, project type and description of each proposed project. 

Final project selection will be March 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 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.

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. This recommendation is subject to CMAP including this application in their 2019 program of projects.

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 9 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.


Eligible Applicants: 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 CMAP 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.