Great Lakes Regional Transportation Operations Coalition

Category Archive: Planning

Midwest Chicago Megaregion Workshop

Our Great Lakes Megaregion has a population of nearly 70 million across the GLRTOC member areas, and the importance of the cross border economy of the Chicago and Upper Midwest areas cannot be overstated. On August 28-29, 2017, public and private stakeholders across seven of our states and from the USDOT held a workshop focusing on multimodal freight transportation on a megaregion level.

For background, step through this slide deck (4.4mb pdf) from FHWA on the topic of megaregions, presented March 2017 at the National Association of Counties Transportation Peer Exchange. It helps define megaregions from the FHWA perspective, implications for transportation, and the critical connection to freight movement and local economies.

The workshop agenda (0.3mb pdf) provides an excellent summary of the workshop, the very outcome-oriented topics the group tackled, and the wealth of expertise brought by the diverse participants.

A well-crafted white paper prepared in conjunction with the workshop is a must-read for anybody working on transportation and freight movement in the Midwest. View or download it here:


Three Member States Receive AV Proving Grounds

January 19, 2017. Three of GLRTOC’s member states – Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin – receive a new USDOT designation as autonomous vehicle (AV) proving grounds. This brings a great deal of additional attention to the Great Lakes Megaregion for this transformative technology. From the USDOT notice:

U.S. Department of Transportation Designates 10 Automated Vehicle Proving Grounds to Encourage Testing of New Technologies

The USDOT has designated 10 proving ground pilot sites to encourage testing and information sharing around automated vehicle technologies.  These proving ground designations will foster innovations that can safely transform personal and commercial mobility, expand capacity, and open new doors to disadvantaged people and communities.

The proving grounds will also provide critical insights into optimal big data usage through automated vehicle testing and will serve as a foundation for building a community of practice around automated vehicle research.

The designees were selected from a competitive group of over 60 applicants.

  1. City of Pittsburgh and the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute
  2. Texas AV Proving Grounds Partnership
  3. U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center
  4. American Center for Mobility (ACM) at Willow Run
  5. Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) & GoMentum Station
  6. San Diego Association of Governments
  7. Iowa City Area Development Group
  8. University of Wisconsin-Madison
  9. Central Florida Automated Vehicle Partners
  10. North Carolina Turnpike Authority

Passenger Rail on the Move in the Great Lakes Megaregion

Chicago and Toronto are in the top five largest metros in North America (behind only Mexico City, New York City, and Los Angeles), and they are both meeting new success with passenger rail options.


The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Metrolinx is expanding the Toronto Regional Express Rail (RER) network. Four new GO stations were recently announced as part of the plan that includes electrification, additional miles, and upgraded infrastructure.

The Illinois DOT gets a green light for the Chicago – Quad Cities (IL, IA) line. Despite current budget questions, the state hopes to move forward with the $177 million federal funding allotted to the project.