How does Illinois decide which transportation projects to invest in? A new tool will help IDOT evaluate projects comprehensively. - Metropolitan Planning Council

Skip to main content

How does Illinois decide which transportation projects to invest in? A new tool will help IDOT evaluate projects comprehensively.

Illinois has one of the most robust transportation systems in America. We boast the third-largest number of interstate miles and bridges of any state, 54 transit systems, hundreds of miles of multiuse trails, more than 1,000 miles of navigable waterways, and more than 7,000 miles of rail. That’s a lot of stuff to maintain in good condition. And most of our federal and state transportation dollars go toward maintenance, guided by a Transportation Asset Management Plan.   

But beyond maintenance, how do we decide where to invest? In the past, decision making around state transportation investments hasn’t been so transparent, but an important new bill and corresponding tool change that reality.  

Bring on the transparency. As required by legislation (HB253) recently signed into law by Governor Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has developed a new, draft Data Driven Decisions tool in order to increase public visibility of this process, select projects equitably, and to prioritize investments that generate the greatest benefits. This new tool is a technique of performance-based planning, a decision-making framework that uses data to inform choices. Performance-based planning is an established best practice advocated by the U.S. Department of Transportation and is being used by a number of other states. MPC has long advocated for the establishment of such a tool, especially since the 2018 passage of Rebuild Illinois, which injected additional funds into the state’s transportation system. This process will help ensure those funds are spent in the most effective way possible. 

The process begins with the goals in the state’s Long Range Transportation Planwhich establish the transportation outcomes we are trying to achieve. For each of the goals, one or more criteria will be used to score projects. There is also one criterion that incorporates regional input to account for the great diversity in needs throughout the state.   

The Department hosted a webinar Sept. 29, 2021 on the proposed criteria. A recording of the webinar can be found by clicking here.  A copy of the presentation is available here.

IDOT is also seeking input from stakeholders via a survey about the tool.    

Comments

No comments

More posts by Audrey

  1. The Chicago region must drastically accelerate climate action

    • By Audrey Wennink and Edith Makra, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and Ned Gardiner, PhD, NOAA
    • Jul 27, 2021
  2. The Power of Cycling to Build Community Cohesion and Healthier Cities

    • By Audrey Wennink and Samantha Lenoch, Research Assistant
    • Jun 29, 2021
  3. Performance based transportation planning is on the way

    • By Audrey Wennink and Civic Committee, IEC, Transportation Equity Network, ILEPI
    • Jun 7, 2021

All posts by Audrey »

MPC on Twitter

Follow us on Twitter »


Stay in the loop!

MPC's Regionalist newsletter keeps you up to date with our work and our upcoming events.

Subscribe to Regionalist


Most popular news

Browse by date »

This page can be found online at http://www.metroplanning.org/news/10229

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

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 »