Transit drives business decisions

McDonald’s. Caterpillar. Motorola Solutions These Chicago region-based companies have many things in common: They employ thousands, help drive our region’s economy, and cite transit as a key factor in their location and recruitment strategy. Businesses throughout the region rely on and benefit from metropolitan Chicago’s transit system.

However, the critical connection between transit investments and our ability to recruit and retain business in metropolitan Chicago is not broadly understood. With Transit Means Business, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is bringing together business leaders, transit leadership and state and local government to advocate for stronger investments in our region’s transit system.

On October 19, 2018, the Metropolitan Planning Council brought together more than 100 business leaders, transit providers and public officials to identify a path toward a more transit-rich and transit-supportive region.

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The reasons to mobilize are clear.

Business is betting on transit, but without sufficient investment the competitive advantage our system provides is eroding and will start to fail. Our metropolitan-area research shows:

Businesses are choosing to locate near transit to access larger labor pools.

Locations near transit offer businesses increased resiliency.

Transit-accessible locations outperform the regional average on job growth, especially near rail.

Case studies

In this report, we dive into the data to reveal how transit supports businesses, and we profile companies who are making transit-based decisions that benefit their bottom line.

A growing and thriving transit system means a growing and thriving economy. Decades of research show a well-funded and robust transit system yields many benefits including new jobs, increased worker productivity, better health outcomes and a strong and resilient real estate market.

Business in the Chicago region has reaped the rewards of an extensive and well-maintained transit system. To retain those benefits and attract new jobs, it is critical to invest in, adapt and grow transit to meet evolving needs.

Report team and advisors

MPC staff

Bold denotes project leads

  • Emily Blum
  • Jeremy Glover
  • Shehara Waas
  • Audrey Wennink


  • MPC's Regional Planning & Investments committee, co-chairs Andrew Hesselbach and Michael Pagano
  • CMAP
  • CTA
  • Metra
  • Pace
  • RTA


  • Web design: Webitects
  • Graphic Design: Sarah Sommers


This report was generously sponsored by

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