The region’s status as a national freight hub with an extensive existing network requires coordinated investment. CREATE is a public-private partnership between freight railroads, U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the City of Chicago, Cook County, Metra, and Amtrak.{{Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, “CREATE program status check,” February 20, 2015,}} While public and private investment in CREATE has greatly improved rail movement in the region and nationwide, the effort requires continued investment with a focus on public benefits. See the recommendation Build regionally significant projects for more information.

In addition to freight rail projects, the region must also prioritize its roadway investments and foster new partnerships to support truck movements. Addressing the region’s truck bottlenecks provides one option to reduce truck and auto congestion. For example, Illinois Route 47 through Kendall County has been identified as part of the regional highway freight planning network, a network of roads prioritized for future freight improvements. CMAP has worked closely with IDOT District 3 and local partners in Kendall County on a series of improvements to this facility. Some improvements have already been made, and more are still under development. The region may also need to explore new solutions for facilities that experience a high volume of truck traffic. Any infrastructure investment should be complemented by policy shifts on routing and permitting that make full use of the existing system.

Finally, while they are not part of the surface transportation network, the region’s air, water, and rail facilities are important nodes in the region’s and nation’s freight network. They support local development and industries, with extensive impacts on nearby road and rail movements. In many cases, the Port of Chicago and O’Hare Airport are the gateway for global commerce, so ensuring strong connections between these facilities and the rest of the region is an essential component of supporting our freight network. While outside of CMAP’s purview in surface transportation, related projects like the Brandon Road Lock and Dam will help improve the region’s freight system overall.

Action 1

Complete the 75th St. Corridor Improvement Project (CIP) and then complete the remaining projects in the program.


The CREATE partners

Action 2

Provide substantive documentation of and data supporting the public benefits of CREATE projects and continue to financially support the program.


Private rail partners

Action 3

Prioritize among the region’s rail grade crossings and direct funds for improvement, along with study of feasibility and alternatives to separation.


CMAP and roadway agencies

Action 4

Address truck bottlenecks in future improvements.


CMAP and roadway agencies

Action 5

Explore truck lanes, truck-only routes, and other options to aid goods movement and reduce conflicts on the region’s expressway network.


CMAP, IDOT, and the Tollway

Action 6

Enhance freight connections to the region’s port and airport facilities.


CMAP, roadway agencies, and rail partners