ON TO 2050’s five topical sections describe a comprehensive and interdependent set of recommendations that chart a path for our communities to succeed together.

These recommendations are tracked by indicators, expanded to the local level through local strategy maps, and linked to the region’s residents through a series of profiles. The plan was developed in a collaborative, research-driven process over three years, and its implementation requires that same sense of common purpose to achieve a more prosperous region.

Community

Strengthening where we live

Creating and sustaining vibrant communities can help the region compete and thrive, offering residents and business many choices for where to live and work.

ON TO 2050 will make the region and its communities stronger by targeting resources, improving planning, encouraging collaboration on fiscal and economic issues, preserving high quality open space and agricultural assets, and promoting housing choice.

ON TO 2050 continues our region’s emphasis on reinvesting in communities and infrastructure, while also offering new guidance to enhance quality of life. Supportive initiatives by many actors will collectively enable progress toward these goals. Some communities have a wealth of expertise and resources for these initiatives, while others struggle to raise revenues for basic services. Reinvestment can be complex and costly. Progress will require targeted, coordinated action by transportation, funding, land use, housing, environmental, and economic development programs that are sometimes disconnected. ON TO 2050 envisions comprehensive action by municipalities, CMAP, counties, Councils of Governments, the State of Illinois, transportation providers, the federal government, and civic organizations to support local decision making and continue to foster high quality places through 2050.

ON TO 2050 also emphasizes preserving high quality lands and implementing sustainable development patterns with fiscally responsible expansion. Many communities make expansion a high priority. Such growth can be implemented in ways that preserve natural assets and reduce long-term costs. Continued land preservation conserves our natural assets today and for future generations. Implementing new development in ways that make efficient use of existing and new infrastructure will limit long-term costs and support resilience.

Creating and sustaining vibrant communities can help the region compete and thrive, offering residents and business many choices for where to live and work. Increasingly here and nationwide, all people want diverse, walkable, and accessible communities with popular amenities, in both urban and suburban locations. Meeting this demand will also support public transit and ease commutes, but must be accomplished while also creating affordable housing options. Most importantly, the region cannot succeed without concerted investment in low-income communities of color to rebuild jobs, amenities, and resources. Investment for continued economic growth and success for the entire region should include investments in communities with limited resources for rebuilding infrastructure and amenities needed for jobs, housing choices, and healthy living.

This section outlines recommendations to promote:

  1. Inclusive growth by rebuilding communities to create opportunity close to where people live, increasing local revenues, and enhancing local government capacity and expertise.
  2. Resilience by preserving high quality natural areas, incorporating sustainable practices into all development, and leveraging data and expertise to plan for market realities, infrastructure needs, and fiscal stability.
  3. Prioritized investment in and careful expansion of our built environment to ensure fiscal, economic, and environmental sustainability.

 

Goals

From 2000-15, the region expanded its developed footprint by nearly 12 percent, an area equal in size to the City of Chicago. Over the same period, employment remained flat, population increased by 4.6 percent, and many opportunities for infill development remained untapped. While local and state governments as well as nonprofits preserved 61,500 acres of open space, significantly more land was developed. To reduce costs, conserve land, and promote quality of life while meeting the economic, transportation, and housing needs of a growing population, the region must change the way it invests in infrastructure and development.

Strategic investment in new development is imperative in a climate of constrained resources. That investment must happen not only in places that are already centers of activity, but also in those that are rich with potential yet suffer from long-term disinvestment. These communities still have many assets, including their residents. These communities also deserve investment in parks and natural resources. The region will add 2.3 million residents and 900,000 jobs by 2050. Investing in careful growth is imperative to help the entire region prosper.

The region’s population overall is growing older and more diverse, businesses’ location preferences are changing, and more residents want to live in walkable communities. Strong, livable places offer a range of housing, transportation, employment, and amenity options to meet these changing needs. While their character varies according to local goals, vibrant destinations and communities attract activity and investment. Strategies to shape these communities build on each other and also contribute to regional resilience. For example, compact development patterns support cost-effective public transit service and also facilitate walking and biking; transit and non-motorized options, in turn, improve mobility and public health and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions; these prioritized investments reduce infrastructure costs and promote fiscal sustainability. Fostering strong places throughout the region provides many opportunities for improving quality of life and economic results for the region’s residents and businesses.

Through their role in planning for and regulating development, municipalities and counties support small but significant pieces of regional markets for commercial and industrial developments, many of which house companies that make up the region’s economic base. Cumulatively, these choices affect transportation costs, congestion, and commutes. Local governments attach higher priority to certain types of economic development for many reasons, from meeting local employment goals, to quality-of-life concerns, to the potential for fiscal benefit. The interaction of local and regional markets and tax policy can limit the revenue potential of some communities. As a result, some local governments struggle to maintain infrastructure in a state of good repair, provide desired services, or ensure that staff and elected officials have the training and resources to be effective and innovative.

ON TO 2050 encourages providing support for industries that connect the region to the global economy, increasing local cooperation on economic development, and changing tax policies at the state and local level to support more development types and provide local governments with more paths to success. These strategies can also reduce competition and overbuilding of some development types, lowering costs and improving fiscal outcomes for the region.

Prosperity

Aerial view of Chicago Metro area

Growing the economy

Developed and emerging economies around the world have been transformed in recent years by new technologies, advances in freight and logistics, and evolving consumer demand. These trends and climate change will increasingly shape global commerce. Metropolitan Chicago is well-positioned not just to withstand these complex factors but to seize new opportunities due to our strengths among a range of industries and our diverse and skilled population. The region is also endowed with the preeminent North American freight hub, active and engaged civic leadership, and world-class institutions of education and research.

ON TO 2050 seeks to improve our region’s ability to adapt in a changing global economy and to thrive by reducing economic inequality. Metropolitan Chicago needs to improve opportunities for employment and robust economic output while taking deliberate steps to ensure prosperity for all. These goals — economic opportunity and growth — are inextricably linked. As our prolonged slow growth continues to lag behind peer regions, lower- and moderate-income residents are leaving to seek economic opportunity elsewhere. Sustaining broad economic growth requires improving the region’s business environment to enable industries and workers alike to compete globally and prosper locally.

While healthy competition within the region has its benefits, emerging opportunities and challenges increasingly require a regional approach for economic and workforce development to capitalize on our distinctive assets. Human capital( The skills, knowledge, experience, and ingenuity of the region’s residents ) — among the most important determinants of regional economic vitality — transcends jurisdictional boundaries. Amid stagnant growth in the labor force, institutions of higher education and research help to retain and develop the region’s innovative talent. Business expansion depends on reaching markets around the world with goods and services that can compete successfully in the global economy.

ON TO 2050, as a whole, seeks to ensure metropolitan Chicago’s future economic success. The recommendations in this section address the initial steps in workforce and economic development that are necessary to achieve broad prosperity. Investments in such activities must be inclusive, prioritized, and responsive to market shifts and economic outcomes. Metropolitan Chicago’s lagging growth underscores the need to organize currently diffuse policies and programs and, when appropriate, to align local objectives with regional goals. It also accentuates the need for widespread, coordinated actions rooted in the needs of particular communities and industries. Several strategies seek to ensure that residents can access opportunity and thrive in the workforce. While these recommendations are geared toward addressing needs of the working-age population, the importance of equitable access to high quality pre-school through secondary education cannot be overstated.

This section describes recommendations to promote:

  1. Inclusive growth by broadening opportunities for innovation and promoting pathways for upward economic mobility.
  2. Resilience by taking a regional approach to economic development and better preparing the workforce for future economic shifts.
  3. Prioritized investment in coordinated economic and workforce development activities.

Goals

The region is endowed with extensive assets, including its people, industries, educational and research institutions, infrastructure, and location. Yet, the region has experienced prolonged slow growth. During 2001-16, overall economic productivity here increased on average just 0.8 percent annually, coupled with just 0.2 percent annual employment growth.{{Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning analysis of Bureau of Economic Analysis and Economic Modeling Specialists International (Emsi) data.}} Across numerous metrics, the region has consistently lagged behind peers and national averages. Advancing the region’s economic goals requires action now to bolster a range of private and public initiatives already underway on a regional level. Moreover, economic opportunity and prosperity remain out of reach for many residents, particularly for black and Hispanic residents and people with disabilities. These disparities frequently have roots in discriminatory policies and practices that have shaped opportunity for people in the region and across the nation. New research points to the need for coordinated action by underscoring the role of economic inequality in impeding metropolitan Chicago’s ability to start and sustain stronger growth. In short, state and local governments, the private sector, and educators need to pursue continuous improvements to excel in a modern economy. Smart, inclusive, coordinated strategies can ensure that metropolitan Chicago remains a destination for business activity, innovation and invention, and diverse human capital( The skills, knowledge, experience, and ingenuity of the region’s residents ) .

Today’s economy has grown increasingly complex, transformed by technological advancements, global competition, emerging industries, and evolving consumer demand. As a result, metropolitan Chicago needs to strengthen itself in light of both anticipated and unforeseen economic shifts of the future. Effective public policies and public investments can connect limited resources across governments at every level with private and nonprofit partners. Yet decisions directed at workforce and economic development frequently lag far behind the pace of change and do not reflect the breadth or scale of our region’s economic assets. Instead, administrative challenges or insufficient information can limit the economic benefit of public expenditures. Analysis of the regional economy makes it clear that achieving stronger growth will require policy-based decisions executed through coordinated, sustained initiatives rooted in the needs of particular communities and industries. The effectiveness of these efforts can be bolstered through better coordination that is performance-based relative to goals, responsive to changing demands, and strategic in leveraging the region’s strengths. Metropolitan Chicago remains a global economic engine, and by enhancing our workforce and economic development practices, we can secure our position in the 21st century’s changing markets.

Environment

Close up of several pink flowers in a field.

Growing the economy

Thriving natural habitats, sustained ecosystem services, and resilient communities and infrastructure are vital to a livable and prosperous region.

Our rare and diverse natural areas and ecosystems are some of the most valuable and irreplaceable assets in metropolitan Chicago. ON TO 2050 strongly affirms that these natural resources are critical for protecting the quality of our air, land, and water, providing ecosystem services, wildlife habitats, and recreational spaces, contributing to a high quality of life, and supporting a vibrant regional economy. Our abundant water supply has been crucial to attracting people and investment. In addition, the region’s extensive green infrastructure network provides invaluable habitat and species diversity, protects environmental quality, aids in flood mitigation, and is an important line of defense against the impacts of climate change. The unique and exceptional landscapes and waterways of greater Chicago, from Lake Michigan and the Chicago River to its oak savannas and prairies, form a key element of our natural and cultural history and are foundational to the region’s future. Many regional actors have recently invested millions to expand the region’s natural heritage. The return on these investments is significant: It is estimated that our natural assets provide over $6 billion every year in economic value to the region as “ecosystem services.” {{Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, “Green Infrastructure Vision Version 2.3 Ecosystem Service Valuation,” 2014, https://datahub.cmap.illinois.gov/dataset/green-infrastructure-vision-2-3-ecosystem-valuation. This project explored ecosystem service values for six services within the CMAP 7-county region: water flow regulation/flood control, water purification, groundwater recharge, carbon storage, native flora and fauna, and recreation and ecotourism.}}

At the same time, our natural resources face many ongoing challenges and new threats. While the region permanently preserved 61,500 acres of natural and agricultural lands from 2001 to 2015, an additional 140,000 acres of such lands were developed — an area roughly equivalent to the land area of the City of Chicago. Despite increased awareness about the importance of environmental assets, constrained funding at all government levels and competing priorities hinder our ability to adequately protect and enhance them. Climate change, manifesting in our region as more frequent and severe storms, extreme temperatures, and drought, is already significantly affecting our economy, ecosystems, built environment, and people. In particular, the region faces substantial flooding issues, which the intense storms brought by climate change and increased impervious coverage from development will continue to exacerbate. Flooding can cause extensive property damage and reduced water quality.

Many diverse factors influence the extent and form of development, from market forces to tax policy to infrastructure investment. Development at the region’s edge necessitates increased water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. It can push demand for groundwater beyond sustainable levels, and affects communities and the resources themselves. The short- and long-term costs associated with providing infrastructure and services in these locations can be substantial. The impacts of these trends do not affect all residents equally. Low income and communities of color, children, seniors, and people with disabilities in particular may experience heightened risks, costs, and liabilities, including repetitive flooding, high water rates, and compromised infrastructure in areas that are otherwise overlooked by private investment.

ON TO 2050 proposes a comprehensive suite of actions by a range of stakeholders to address these and other environmental issues. It envisions a future where development practices and infrastructure embrace natural landscapes and contribute to healthy ecosystems. In concert with other plan strategies, the environmental recommendations will lead to a region that is more resilient to the anticipated impacts of climate change, particularly flooding, and contributes to worldwide efforts to stabilize our changing climate; has sustainable and clean water resources; preserves high priority agricultural and natural lands while accommodating strategic growth and infill; and helps protect the residents of the region who are most vulnerable to environmental impacts.

The three principles of ON TO 2050 are embedded throughout the Environment section, which includes strategic recommendations to:

  1. Promote inclusive growth by growing the ability of vulnerable populations to respond to environmental challenges and improving their environmental conditions and access to nature.
  2. Improve resilience by planning for anticipated future impacts, protecting residents from risk, and promoting gray and green infrastructure that provides essential services and can adapt to changes in climate and technology.
  3. Prioritize investing limited financial resources in a strategic and efficient way, maintaining existing infrastructure, and securing new revenues for needed enhancements.

Goals

The effects of climate change will have significant implications for the built environment, economy, ecosystems, and people of this region. We must intensify mitigation efforts while at the same time prepare for and be equipped to recover from the acute shocks and chronic stresses posed by climate change. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require continued compact infill development, improved pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and increased investments in public transit as well as aggressive expansion in renewable energy systems, energy efficiency and retrofits, and electrification of our transportation system. Sound planning and decision-making can maximize the crucial role that the region’s natural landscapes, including trees and parks within our developed landscapes, play in promoting resilience. Trees, for example, store millions of tons of carbon, and provide shade which cools our communities and reduces energy consumption. The region’s land and water resources provide ecosystem services that enhance communities’ ability to withstand climate-related stresses, and also offer models for expanded green infrastructure inside and outside of our communities that grows our ability to adapt. Planning for climate resilience( The ability of our region and its communities to prepare for and recover from the acute shocks and …
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 entails a wide variety of strategies for managing risk, strengthening our built and natural environment, and improving our operational response to specific events. Regional stakeholders, from local elected officials to business leaders, need access to up-to-date data on climate science to make informed decisions. At the same time, many resilience strategies require coordinated subarea, regional, or statewide action.

Abundant and high quality water resources play an essential role in sustaining economic prosperity, environmental and public health, and quality of life. Aquatic systems support an array of ecosystem services( The collective services from an array of natural resources and processes; they include cleaning the…
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, a rich composition of native flora and fauna, recreation, and water purification. Water supplies from Lake Michigan, the Fox and Kankakee Rivers, and shallow and deep bedrock aquifers support the region’s industry, households, and energy generation needs. Lake Michigan and the region’s waterways also provide one of the great recreational systems in the country, while simultaneously transporting goods, both nationally and globally. Yet despite our status as a water‐rich region, we often fail to recognize the real and inherent value of this globally scarce resource. As a result, the region continues to suffer major flood damage on an annual basis, degraded aquatic systems across the majority of the region, and water shortages in areas that are growing the fastest.

A regional goal is to recognize, value, and manage water as a singular resource that could be almost infinitely reusable if managed properly. This applies to our natural aquatic systems, our built water management infrastructure, and our water supplies, both on the surface and underground. This approach seeks to integrate planning and management of water supply, wastewater, and stormwater in a way that considers the water cycle as a single system in which all water inputs and flows are recognized as potential resources, where efforts are made to enhance these systems rather than simply minimize or avoid impact on the environment, and maximizes the contribution to social economic vitality.

To preserve the region’s highest-priority natural and agricultural areas, stakeholders must pursue conservation strategies and also promote reinvestment in existing communities. While preservation decisions are often driven by opportunity, strategic frameworks like the ON TO 2050 Conservation Areas local strategy map and the Green Infrastructure Vision{{Chicago Wilderness, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, and The Conservation Fund, “Green Infrastructure Vision 2.2 Refinement,” 2012, http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/programs/sustainability/open-space/green-infrastructure-vision.}} can help maximize the benefits of land protection by assisting the coordination of different actors and funding streams, particularly at the region’s developing edge. In addition, sensitive development techniques such as conservation design in these locations can help ensure preservation of high-quality natural assets as well as continuity and connectivity of natural areas via open space corridors, which is critical to protecting native species and systems.

Reinvestment efforts, which focus growth in areas with existing infrastructure, housing stock, transportation access, and services, can help reduce development pressures on natural and agricultural lands and revitalize disinvested( A persistent, long-term lack of market investment, measured by a long term loss of jobs, low levels…
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areas as well as remediate brownfields and other barriers to infill development. In fact, redevelopment can significantly improve the environmental performance of communities and reap co-benefits. Integrating green infrastructure into the redevelopment process can result in additional parks and open spaces, tree-lined streets, and stormwater management. Combined, these investments provide places for recreation, habitats for native flora and fauna, air pollutant filtration, flood reduction, urban heat island mitigation, and groundwater recharge, while at the same time creating more desirable, healthy, and resilient communities.

Governance

bridge over highway

Leading effectively together

A prosperous, inclusive region will require renewed collaboration and focused investment for addressing today’s challenges and adapting to tomorrow’s.

Each level of government has a role to play, from funding and assistance by the State of Illinois and counties, to increased coordination by transportation and stormwater management agencies. Local governments are already taking steps to improve efficiency and share resources, often uniting to pursue economic development and other mutual objectives. For our region to thrive, these efforts should expand to include coordination across more issues and jurisdictions.

Implementing ON TO 2050 will depend on collaboration across jurisdictional lines, highly efficient investment based on measurable outcomes, and a focus on helping all units of local government build the capacity necessary to provide basic services and implement their plans.

State funding plays a crucial — yet quite uncertain — role in the region’s ability to invest in infrastructure and support local government services. A more modern tax system, a long-term plan to pay for obligations, and transparent, data-driven budgeting and programming can improve the state’s near-term fiscal condition and long-term outlook. It can also bolster local governments, whose ability to serve the public is impeded by funding constraints.

This map shows the differences in municipal revenues across the region. Without adequate resources, many have been forced to defer projects and eliminate staff. By working together effectively across borders, the region’s governments can stretch their limited funds to provide the services and infrastructure that residents and businesses require. This can include sharing or consolidating services, as well as consolidating governments in some cases, to improve public services and increase efficiencies.

State and local governments — along with transit agencies — need the fiscal, technical, and administrative capacity to function effectively. With proper funding and support, the State of Illinois and local governments will be able to implement performance-based decision making, improve asset management, and leverage new technology for better services and infrastructure.

This section describes recommendations to promote:

  1. Inclusive Growth through tax policy reforms and technical assistance to communities.
  2. Resilience through improved long-term finances and increased collaboration across jurisdictions.
  3. Prioritized Investment in services and infrastructure through data-driven decision making.

 

Goals

For northeastern Illinois to fully achieve its potential, leaders must work together more consistently and effectively. Among the region’s most pressing needs are to improve infrastructure and promote economic growth, both of which have been stagnant for years. Regional leaders also must come together to develop innovative and broad solutions to ensuring inclusive growth and building resilience at the local and regional levels. Disjointed, siloed approaches hinder our ability to prosper. Resource and funding constraints across all levels of government require new approaches, from sharing and consolidation of local services to collaboration by transportation agencies for maintaining the system and improving its reliability.

Governments’ ability to achieve goals is essential to the advancement of our region as a whole. Too often, however, public revenues are insufficient to deliver services, maintain infrastructure, and fill other essential government functions. Proficient local staff and officials — with skills maintained through professional development and training — are essential for their units of government to undertake important initiatives and to complete projects. A sustained commitment to building capacity — revenues, skills, and technical resources — will bolster local government’s ability to meet residents’ needs, implement community plans, and achieve ON TO 2050 objectives.

Governments’ ability to achieve goals is essential to the advancement of our region as a whole. Too often, however, public revenues are insufficient to deliver services, maintain infrastructure, and fill other essential government functions. Proficient local staff and officials — with skills maintained through professional development and training — are essential for their units of government to undertake important initiatives and to complete projects. A sustained commitment to building capacity — revenues, skills, and technical resources — will bolster local government’s ability to meet residents’ needs, implement community plans, and achieve ON TO 2050 objectives.

Mobility

Bus depot

Achieving a safe and reliable system for tomorrow

Our region must take bold steps toward a well-integrated, multimodal transportation system that seamlessly moves people and goods within and through metropolitan Chicago.

Our region’s transportation network has reached a critical juncture. Travel patterns are being influenced — and potentially transformed — by rapidly evolving technologies that make for an uncertain and yet promising future. We cannot stand still, deferring important decisions that will shape the system for decades to come. In fact, while continuing to deal with past choices made or often deferred, our region must take bold steps both to address today’s problems and to anticipate opportunities for achieving a well-integrated, multimodal transportation system for seamless movement of people and goods within and through the seven counties of metropolitan Chicago.

Making this vision our regional reality will require collective action to overcome obstacles inherent to existing assets and organizations. While some strategies may require action from the state or federal governments, increasingly this region and its local governments must rely on each other for homegrown solutions, including the revenues necessary to support a system of mobility that is the engine of our economic prosperity and quality of life.

Transportation agencies and local governments will need to magnify coordination efforts and take swift action to adopt and regulate new technologies, make the transit system competitive and resilient against weather events, end fatal crashes, and advance inclusive economic growth. Crucially, they will need to create new revenue streams to improve conditions of the existing transportation system as well as to make limited and highly targeted expansions.

The three principles of ON TO 2050 are embedded throughout the Mobility section, which includes strategic recommendations to:

  1. Promote inclusive growth by improving mobility options that spur economic opportunity for low-income communities, people of color, and people with disabilities.
  2. Improve resilience by ensuring that infrastructure can adapt to changes in climate and technology.
  3. Prioritize investment of limited resources to efficiently maintain existing infrastructure while securing new revenues for needed enhancements.

 

Goals

Each day brings new signs of profoundly shifting mobility patterns in the Chicago region and beyond. After decades in which automobile use increased consistently, the last decade has seen it remain relatively constant, while the other modes people use to get around have diversified.{{Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, “Travel Trends: Understanding How Our Region Moves,” September 2016, http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/onto2050/snapshot-reports/transportation-network/travel-trends.}} Transit ridership has also changed, with declining ridership in some areas and modes along with capacity-straining growth in others. Freight rail is also changing. Intermodal freight volumes that fell during the last recession have since rebounded significantly, with growth of some 30 percent between 2009-14.{{Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, “The Freight System: Leading the Way,” May 2017, http:/www.cmap.illinois.gov/onto2050/snapshot-reports/transportation-network/travel-trends.}} Biking, walking, and working from home are on the rise. In the years since GO TO 2040 was adopted, people have begun to take advantage of new, technology-enabled ways of getting around, including bike sharing, car sharing services like Zipcar, transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft, and microtransit services( Transit that uses small or medium sized vehicles, often privately operated on flexible routes )  like Chariot and Via. Automated vehicles are gradually emerging from the test tracks and onto streets and highways elsewhere in the U.S., with their advent here viewed as inevitable if not imminent. These still nascent technological trends will continue to intersect with economic and demographic shifts to transform how residents and businesses want to use the region’s transportation system in coming decades. Due to the many benefits of a vibrant multimodal transportation system, ON TO 2050 sets a target of increasing the share of commuters who travel to work by a mode other than driving alone, while doubling transit ridership. This requires changing the way that we build roads, transit, and our communities themselves. Our transportation agencies, local governments, developers, businesses, and residents must work together to make decisions and investments that help the system anticipate and adapt to changing travel demand.

Improving safety, resilience, and equitable access to the transportation system has long been a focus of transportation planning. Transportation implementers have made progress in collaborating across jurisdictions to ensure better results both locally and regionally, but only through concerted, coordinated effort can we holistically improve the transportation system for all users. This includes wide ranging and interconnected issues such as bicycle and pedestrian safety, access to economic opportunity for low income and minority residents, expanded travel options for seniors and people with disabilities, and the adaptations necessary to respond to a changing climate. CMAP and its partners should emphasize these factors in making decisions about the transportation infrastructure that is central to economic prosperity and quality of life across all seven counties and 284 municipalities of metropolitan Chicago.

Northeastern Illinois needs to invest in maintaining and enhancing the transportation system to keep up with demand and promote regional economic vitality. Today’s investments must make the current system work better for everyone, while also preparing for future mobility influenced by new data and communication technology, private mobility services, and increasingly multimodal trips. At the same time, transportation dollars are scarce. Performance-based funding promises a more accountable process for programming transportation projects that meet current needs and address priorities like reinvestment, inclusive growth, and climate resilience. The region’s transportation implementers, from local governments to state agencies, should continue to implement data-driven programming practices that emphasize selection of projects that meet clear regional objectives for transportation, land use, environment, and the economy.

Yet traditional transportation revenue sources can no longer keep up with increasing costs. Without additional, sustainable revenues, the region will be unable to maintain the system in its current state of repair, let alone implement needed enhancements or expansions. Forecasted revenues from existing sources and additional reasonably expected revenues together make up $517.7 billion in revenue available through the year 2050. Of this, 94 percent is needed to operate and maintain the system in its current condition. The remaining 6 percent will be available for improving the system’s condition, building regionally significant projects, and making other systematic enhancements — smaller projects like intersection improvement, bike trails, accessibility improvements, and safety countermeasures that are nonetheless critical to make progress toward a seamless, multimodal transportation system — while meeting the federal requirement of fiscal constraint.