The big picture


We believe in small steps, but also in having a clear vision of what success looks like so that we know we’re stepping in the right direction.


We need a plan for growth without congestion: how can we grow Chicago’s population and economy without being overwhelmed by traffic congestion?


The projects listed below are intended to help us all envision a city prepared for growth without congestion—envision it with enough clarity that we can take significant steps toward achieving it.


Mapping the Demand for Better Transit


Envisioning a Congestion-Immune Transit Network


Minding the Gap in the Transit Spectrum

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Minding the Gap in the Transit Spectrum


What is the right transit mode for a given corridor based on ridership, car traffic, and local conditions?


In Chicago we do the two ends of the transit spectrum well—heavy rail (the L) and local bus. But there’s a huge gap between those two, and there are now lots of precedents for transit modes that can fill in the gap. In some corridors there may be too much ridership for buses; in others there may not be enough for rail infrastructure but enough to warrant an upgrade from local buses stuck in traffic to something better.


We’re going to do an international survey of transit systems to establish (a) a number of different modes/services along the transit spectrum that are appropriate to Chicago, and (b) rough parameters for determining the optimal mode for a given corridor. What metrics should be used? What data do we need, and how can we get the right data to make the most intelligent choice? Instead of just working with the two extreme ends of the spectrum, we’re going to put every mode on the table and give planners the tools they need to make good choices for Chicago.