The Chicago metropolitan area is the busiest port in North America handling 15.4 million shipping containers annually. In 2012, the freight cluster moved more than 925 million tons of freight valued at $1.3 trillion directly into and out of the region, supporting over 176,000 jobs and generating $12.3 billion in personal income.

Click to review the Cook County Freight Plan Fact Sheet


The seven-county Chicago region is at the heart of the North American freight distribution system. Cook County alone has nearly 1,200 miles of freight rail right of way, 80% of the region’s intermodal yards, and handles 80% of the region’s container lifts. Trucks utilize a vast and complex network of interstates, regional arterials, county roads, and local roads to carry nearly 70% of all freight in the region. The goods moved into, out of, and through Cook County have origins and destinations that go far beyond the region, often reaching out to international markets.

Freight transportation has played a critical role in the development and continued prosperity of our region. To support the metropolitan area’s role as North America’s freight capital, the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways (DOTH) is developing the Cook County Freight Plan (CCFP). The Freight Plan is a key recommendation from Connecting Cook County, the County’s Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).

The purpose of the CCFP is to create a prioritized list of freight-specific policy, funding, and project recommendations that the County can implement to address existing deficiencies and projected future needs in the movement of goods. This plan will provide the County with a clear path toward ensuring the region’s competitiveness in manufacturing, goods movement, and logistics and preserve our position as the busiest freight hub in the nation.

The CCFP is supported by grant funding from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).



Stakeholder input will be a key element in the development of the CCFP and will build off the success of stakeholder outreach efforts conducted during the LRTP process. The stakeholder engagement process will include the establishment of:

  • Advisory Committee consisting of state, regional, and local public and private freight leaders
  • Internal Work Group representing key Cook County departments
  • External Work Groups with manufacturing industry personnel and freight operators
  • One-on-One Interviews with private sector developers and municipal leaders

In addition to these stakeholder efforts, a variety of outreach tools will be developed to keep stakeholders and the general public informed on the CCFP planning process. Newsletters and website updates will be published at key milestones to keep the general public informed, educated and aware of the CCFP development process.  



Cook County is proud to have recently become a Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program partner. The County joins project partners Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), City of Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), the region’s freight railroads, Metra, and Amtrak, to increase the efficiency of the region’s passenger and freight rail infrastructure and enhance the quality of life for Chicago-area residents.

On November 2, 2017, the CREATE Program partners submitted an Infrastructure For Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant application for the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project (Project P2, P3, GS19 and EW2) and Argo Connections project (Project B9). The application seeks $160 million in federal support to fix the most complex and congested segment of railroad in North America. To learn more about the CREATE Program, please visit: www.createprogram.org.  

Freight Plan Documents:

Meeting Documents:


Additional Freight Planning Resources: