It's not about the transit system

Mission

Plan and advocate for revitalizing Chicago around a network of modern light rail lines and better bus service. 

Promote compact, complete, convenient neighborhoods with local shopping, safe cycling, and enjoyable streets and public spaces.

Executive Director

 

"Visualize a city of sustainable prosperity and good living, identify its key features, and work your way back to come up with practical strategies for what we can do today."

John Krause

Founder of CSR, architect and urban planner, husband and father.

Board of Advisors

Stephen Schlickman

Executive Director, retired

UIC Urban Transportation Center

(former head of RTA)

 

“CSR’s proposed streetcar network could be a cost-effective way to expand rapid transit and a catalyst for transit-oriented development and sustainable growth if it is planned right. The streetcar mode is the next step up from a BRT line or system to provide the capacity that is needed to serve the identified demand and to be a more permanent transit investment on which adjacent developers can rely. While the capital costs of constructing a streetcar line are more expensive, the life-cycle cost can be less than a BRT approach given the longer useful life of the vehicles and the possible lower long-term operating costs, as is found in successful streetcar systems in other US cities.”

Randy Neufeld

Director

SRAM Cycling Fund

(former CEO of Active

Transportation Alliance)

 

“Chicago will never be a world-class cycling city without more competitive transit options. CSR’s streetcar proposals are a vital component of the package of options that make high-quality urban life possible. There just isn’t room for a network of cycle tracks without moving to something more space efficient than car storage and single-occupant driving on our narrow streets. Bikeways and bike share complement streetcars to create an integrated system that takes more people where they want to go without ruining the places they want to be.”

John Norquist

President and CEO, retired

Congress for the New Urbanism

(former Mayor of Milwaukee)

 

“The major reason that Chicago is the most vibrant and successful city in the Midwest that it retained much of its transit system. Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and many other cities disastrously threw their transit advantage away and embraced driving as the only mode of travel worth public investment. Chicago’s system needs to grow if Chicago is to grow. Streetcar lines would add great value to real estate and to job growth. More than any other mode streetcars are neighborhood friendly. Cities all over North America and the world are investing in streetcars and loving the results. Add real value to Chicago—add streetcars.”

Kevin Bell

President and CEO

Lincoln Park Zoo

 

“CSR’s proposed North Lakefront and Clark Street streetcars would connect significant north-side attractions (Lincoln Park Zoo, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the Chicago History Museum, North Ave Beach, and Wrigley Field) to the Loop by rapid transit streetcar that people will love to ride. The streetcar itself will likely become a tourist attraction in and of itself, and its presence downtown will help visitors visualize an easy trip to the zoo and other tourist attractions. It will allow families to park remotely and visit multiple attractions without having to fight traffic and re-park. I believe the streetcar network would be a great way to connect key tourist stops so they become mutually supportive.”

 

What we're working on now

Economic analysis

 

Our primary focus is completing our ongoing economic analysis of a network of six potential light rail lines. That involves recruiting, coordinating, and directing pro-bono work by experts in wide-ranging fields including transit systems planning, information technology, and property development.

 

The primary objective of the study is to make an authoritative case and build a constituency of support for public investment in a full feasibility study of one or more light rail lines. 

 

If you can provide financial support to help us complete and then promote the study, click here.

Citywide transit network

 

We're working on a plan to modernize transit in Chicago with light rail and better bus service to fill in the gap between heavy rail and local bus. The goal is a citywide transit network that is both cost-effective and largely immune to traffic congestion. It's an armature on which to grow the city's population and economy—a model for growth without congestion. 

 

We need a plan that uses demand data and systems optimization analysis to ensure that it works and that it's cost-effective. As a city we need to become great at harnessing big data to drive public policy. Mapping the Demand for Better Transit is engaging Chicago's civic tech community to idenitfy the low-hanging fruit of transit investments—where an upgrade would have the most positive impact. 

 

 

Civic Initiatives

 

We get involved in all kinds of planning issues, like the reconstruction of North Lake Shore Drive, the task force on Museum Campus transportation, the Obama Presidential Library, Lucas Museum, Wrigleyville Entertainment District, and many others. 


In a big city with a congestion problem, transit ought to be a key feature of any major development—not whether there’s a bus or train nearby, but how the development can contribute to expanding and modernizing transit and reducing driving, parking, and congestion.

 

As an outsider organization we are free to consider more funamental—and sometimes disruptive—solutions to very big problems. 

 

If you want to contribute your time and expertise, or make a financial contribution to support our work, click here