With one third of the nation's freight and passenger rail traffic passing through the Chicago Terminal every day, and rail demand projected to nearly double in the next two decades, Chicago has become the nation's railway epicenter. To remedy rail congestion issues, the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program was developed as a unique, precedent-setting, public-private partnership (P3) between the FHWA and FRA, IDOT, CDOT, Cook County, City of Chicago, Metra commuter rail, Amtrak, AAR, six Class 1 freight railroads and two regional switching railroads.

HNTB has served as IDOT's CREATE program management consultant since 2010, providing intensive management oversight of 70 rail improvement projects in four major rail corridors throughout the region. HNTB works closely with IDOT to set program priorities and focus on key project actions for each of the 19 active projects. Thirty-three of the 70 projects have been completed, most of those while HNTB has been IDOT's program management consultant.

HNTB oversees all aspects of environmental, design and construction. The firm also facilitates all the programmatic meetings, including the bi-weekly CREATE Implementation Committee meetings with all project partners within the P3 program. HNTB is also part of an extensive, targeted public involvement program.

In June 2018, with HNTB's participation, the CREATE Program was awarded $132 million for an INFRA grant from USDOT for the 75th Street CIP and Argo Connections project.

The CREATE program has reduced Metra and Amtrak delays through condensed train travel time through Chicago. It has also generated billions in economic benefits. Additional benefits of the program include reduced fuel consumption and emissions, reduced congestion and reduced shipping costs that can be passed on to customers.

Location: Chicago, IL

Client: Illinois Department of Transportation

Services: Program management