The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) helps local governments plan land use and transportation initiatives to promote sustainability. CMAP’s GO TO 2040 comprehensive plan is designed to achieve this by providing recommendations on transportation, human capital and governance. One way in which CMAP strives to improve the livability of communities is through their Soles and Spokes Plan which encourages citizens to walk and bike.
The Village of Tinley Park, IL was asked to provide information about their existing walking and biking facilities for integration into CMAP’s Bikeway Information System (BIS). In order to respond to CMAP’s request, the Village had to fill out a questionnaire and mark a map with any changes or updates to the bikeway system.
After consulting with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the Village responded to CMAP’s request by structuring bikeway facility data around the questionnaire. Bikeways were drawn using GIS and attributed based on CMAP’s interest in facility type, status, location, and other factors. By relying on GIS, the Village of Tinley Park reduced the time to complete a written response for each bikeway. Data is now stored in a system that is easily accessible and can be queried whenever needed by staff.
Each year the U.S. Census Bureau asks local governments to participate in the Boundary Annexation Survey (BAS). This survey gives the U.S. Census Bureau the most current geographic boundaries of the area the municipality serves. For many, like the Village of Woodridge, IL, it is an excellent opportunity to improve population estimates.
In previous years, this review process was manual, and municipalities used paper and colored pencils to demarcate their boundaries and neighboring borders. They had to note down any annexations, de-annexations, or boundary changes that occurred since the last BAS was conducted.
Today, the Census Bureau encourages digital submissions of BAS materials using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Instead of listing and drawing modifications by hand, GIS tools are used to quickly identify changes between village boundaries and census boundaries. Using GIS for BAS submissions has benefitted the village in meaningful ways. It’s saved a great deal of staff time and effort, provided richer detail in identifying changes, and ultimately improved the population estimates provided by the Census Bureau.