CREATE: Freight Driving the Economy - Metropolitan Planning Council

Skip to main content

MPC Roundtable
CREATE: Freight Driving the Economy

November 18, 2014, Noon to 1:30 p.m.

This is a past event

140 S. Dearborn St., Suite 1400, Chicago Ill.

Download to calendar

Roundtable recap

Video: Local leaders tell the story of CREATE (above)

Blog: Why do I care about freight rail? 

Video: Full recording of the roundtable discussion

When it comes to moving goods, metropolitan Chicago is a freight powerhouse. Six of the seven largest U.S. railroads operate in the region, managing 50 percent of all rail movement in the country. Chicago O’Hare International Airport is the nation’s fifth-busiest cargo mover, linked by an extensive network of roads and waterways. Chicago does not just move goods, it also makes them: The region’s locational advantage for freight helps drive a strong manufacturing sector that gained jobs faster than the national average over the last two years.

Chicago: The U.S. rail hub
1,800 passenger and freight trains daily
2,800 route-miles of track in the region
25 percent of all U.S. rail traffic touches Chicago
(and 46 percent of all intermodal units)
78 rail yards in the region
22 of 70 CREATE projects complete

Chicago must continue to support the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE), a partnership between federal, state and local governments, metropolitan transportation agencies, and the nation’s freight railroads. When CREATE was formed in 2000, Chicago was known as the bottleneck of the nation’s rail system.  While the amount of rail traffic continues to grow, infrastructure investments by CREATE, matched by those of the rail industry, have reduced both passenger and freight train delays by nearly 30 percent.

There’s more to do if Chicago is to maintain its position as the epicenter of the nation’s rail system and the 36,000 jobs created by that status: Billions of dollars in additional funding are still needed for the rest of the projects. Moderated by Wes Lujan from Union Pacific Railroad, this roundtable will discuss freight's role in growing the economy and show the benefits of CREATE. Speakers will include:

  • Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle
  • Ill. Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook)
  • Jeffrey Sriver, Director of Transportation Planning and Programming, Chicago Dept. of Transportation
  • Audrey Wennink, Cambridge Systematics, Inc.

This page can be found online at

Metropolitan Planning Council 140 S. Dearborn St.
Suite 1400
Chicago, Ill. 60603
312 922 5616

Sign up for newsletter and alerts »

Shaping a better, bolder, more equitable future for everyone

For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

Donate »