Equitable Transit-Oriented Development - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Equitable Transit-Oriented Development

New opportunities for people of all incomes to live near transit

MPC is advocating for policies, funding, and planning that advances development near transit—known as transit-oriented development, or TOD—for people of all incomes, in neighborhoods across the region. 


Map of the Chicago region showing TOD areas and employment per Census block
Just 21 percent of the region's jobs and 8 percent of its population are located within a quarter-mile of rapid transit.

Transit should be an amenity for everyone in our community.  But preferences for urban living are increasing the demand for housing and commercial development near transit stations. Without an explicit equity framework, lower-income people near rapid transit will be displaced. Research from Harvard University shows that how easily a person can get to work is the strongest factor in determining whether a person escapes the cycle of poverty (Chetty 2014).


Development near transit is Chicago's ticket to equitable growth

MPC encourages equitable growth near public transit to create thriving, balanced and mixed income communities, and to ensure that the benefits of transit-oriented are experienced by people of all income levels. Our work emphasizes reducing the barriers to equitable development near transit through robust public engagement, education, providing technical assistance, and advocating for policy change.

MPC’s Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD) work includes:

Graphic rendering of a cityscape

What is ETOD? Here are the basics

Learn about the principles of equitable transit-oriented development (ETOD), how ETOD can benefit your community, and why an equity framework matters. Check out the MPC Summary of City of Chicago’s 2022 Proposed Changes to the TOD Ordinance (updated July 8, 2022) and the MPC testimony in support of the Connected Communities ordinance (updated July 20, 2022).

Community members discussing a charette

Community Input Drives Change

As neighborhoods grow, MPC knows that community input is critical. That's why MPC helps communities proactively plan for real-world development scenarios through its Corridor Development Initiative (CDI). This signature process results in customized recommendations, crafted by the community with help from experts. Investors can use these findings to understand local opportunities and values, while residents benefit from having a starting point for discussions with developers.

As of October 2020, we have facilitated CDIs in Rogers Park (October 2020), Garfield Park (September/October 2018), Woodlawn (January 2018), Uptown (May 2014),  Logan Square (September 2014), AuroraHyde ParkLogan Square and North Lawndale.

Elevated Chicago logo

Elevated Chicago

MPC is a founding member of Elevated Chicago, a collaborative effort to improve equity, health and climate resilience through equitable TOD. L-Evated Chicago is made possible by support from the Strong, Prosperous, and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC). 

Digital rendering of a cityscape

ETOD Calculator

In May 2022, MPC and CNT launched a new ETOD Calculator, which offers residents, community groups and developers the ability to analyze the impact of development by neighborhood. The site also illustrates which parcels in the city qualify for the TOD ordinance's benefits.


  • Reliable public transit connects people's homes and jobs
  • Living near transit decreases cost of living
    SOM rendering with community input about the future of a historic building


    At a February 2018 Woodlawn CDI meeting, community members helped design plans for the future of a historic bank building

  • Fewer cars means less congestion and pollution 
  • Equitable TOD ensures that neighborhoods near transit are welcoming and livable to the widest range of the region's population as possible
  • Access to funding and incentives are available for transit-oriented development

Learn more

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

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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 »

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