Transportation & Community Development

CNT’s Transportation & Community Development work is centered on the idea that thriving communities and transportation options are interconnected. CNT’s work will focus on research and advocacy around housing and transportation affordability and ways to revitalize communities using existing transportation infrastructure.


Achieve broader use of the H+T Affordability Index. CNT believes that H+T should be a major component in publicly supported screens for prioritizing housing investments in tandem with ensuring that new, affordable units are produced in communities with good transportation options as well as in communities with low poverty and crime rates, good schools and amenities. In order to achieve this, we will support H+T as a component of mortgage underwriting and work with federal, state, and local governments to increase understanding of the H+T concept and its advantages for households.

Promote Inclusion of Development Around Freight Rail as National Policy. Used in tandem, transit-oriented development (TOD) and cargo-oriented development (COD) are effective strategies to redevelop older suburbs and urban communities—in their downtowns and neighborhoods through TOD, and in their industrial areas through COD. Besides advancing TOD and COD work in metropolitan Chicago, CNT will aggressively seek partnerships in other regions to make policy changes as well as implementing demonstration projects to expand the use of linked TOD and COD as a sustainable redevelopment strategy. As this multi-regional work progresses, CNT will seek to influence federal agencies of the Sustainable Communities Partnership and especially the Federal Railroad Administration to make integrated TOD and COD a best practice that is encouraged by federal policy.

Advocate for improved allocation of resources for community benefits and to make reducing transportation costs for average Americans a routine part of transportation planning. Work with USDOT, state and local governments to ensure better allocation of resources to investments that support broad transportation and community benefits rather than just increased transportation throughput.

Promote changes in Joint Development Eligibility. Encourage USDOT to issue regulations implementing changes to joint development eligibility for transit funding that will enable a more active role for transit operators in TOD areas.


Encourage Illinois Agencies to fund Transportation Alternatives programs. MAP-21 combined programs such as Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements into one program called Transportation Alternatives. The new law allows states to distribute 50 percent of its funding to other transportation programs. As a result, CNT will encourage Illinois to distribute this money through grant programs laid out in Transportation Alternatives.

Establish new public funding tools for COD. During the 2013 Legislative Session, CNT will encourage the Illinois Legislature to pass HB2212, a revised version of IL HB1606, which will establish a fund capitalized through incremental increases in state income tax paid by workers in new jobs in a major COD managed by a master developer. We will also study the comparable site development techniques utilized in other states and develop ways in which they can be implemented in Illinois.


Establish TOD and COD as primary and adequately funded strategies. Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) and Cargo-Oriented Development (COD) can achieve transportation, air quality, economic development, land use, and quality of life goals. To realize TOD and COD opportunities throughout the Chicago region and especially in lower-income communities, CNT will work to establish and implement the following grant and loan programs in metropolitan Chicago:

  • A revolving and structured loan fund to provide land acquisition, redevelopment, and gap financing for TOD and COD projects as a pilot in the South Suburbs.
  • A regional revolving and structured fund to develop “Priority Development Areas (PDAs)” (many of which are TOD or COD locations) throughout the Chicago region.
  • A pilot South Suburban Land Bank that will take ownership of vacant or badly maintained property (primarily in areas with TOD or COD potential) and prepare it for redevelopment.
  • Using our experience from the South Suburbs pilot, we will also work to establish a Cook County Land Bank.

Promote development of communities around transportation. By promoting Prospering in Place, CNT can help foster development and economic growth in communities throughout Illinois by encouraging mixed use development around transportation hubs. This will reduce reliance upon single-vehicle travel making communities safer, more accessible, and more sustainable.

Promote the development of unutilized and underutilized areas. There are a number of underutilized land areas throughout the region. Rather than continuing down the current path of developing farms that have very little access to transportation, CNT wants to develop areas that already have access to transportation and water. We will encourage the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) to approve the Blue Island development pilot. This pilot project would allow housing to be built on a vacant parking lot that is located near transportation and has access to water.

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