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Digital > 14.2 Information Site

Mobility: engine of our regional economy


The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is the official regional planning organization for the northeastern Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. CMAP has developed and is now leading the implementation of GO TO 2040: metropolitan Chicago’s first comprehensive regional plan in more than 100 years. To address the anticipated population growth of more than 2 million new residents in the next decades, GO TO 2040 establishes coordinated strategies that help the region’s 284 communities tackle issues of transportation, housing, economic development, open space, and the environment.

CMAP approached CLEVER°FRANKE to design and develop a series of micro-sites around the topics of Mobility, Economy and Livability. The micro-sites serve the primary purpose to educate and influence various stakeholders ranging from political decision makers, news media and business leaders. Of equal importance is the general publics’ need to access engaging content that relates to their everyday lives without requiring them to be professional planners. The micro-sites are an integral aspect of the agency’s commitment to transparency and to engaging the public.

During a two-day workshop at CMAP’s HQ in Chicago, the project team met with the project and content team to further identify the ambitions and goals for the project. Furthermore, we established strategic principles in order to target the diverse range of stakeholders effectively.
The final outcome will establish CMAP as an authority to advocate policy change and will amplify  its desire to assume the leadership role in providing credible source of information. 

CMAP’s team of experts set out to collect a large number of relevant geography-based data sources. Using quick visualisations of the data, we together determined which information was to be of interest and suitable for interactive visualisation. Since some data sources had never been used nor visualized before, our expertise as well as CMAP’s domain knowledge came in useful.

CMAP and C°F shared an ambition to technically innovative approaches to data visualisation. To assess feasibility and outcome quality we created rough prototypes early in the process that helped us select the most suitable types of visualisations.

Targeting four main audiences, the concept had to evoke interest and engagement in all levels of content. Besides a very data driven approach in communicating CMAP’s vision, proposals, and indicators, the site aims to provide additional context through text, photography, and video.

Point of departure for the concept of the website is the zooming in and out from macro to micro perspective on the region. The macro perspective provides insight to the major trends and challenges for the region, whereas the micro perspective shows the impact of these developments to its inhabitants and their everyday lives.

The design features a layered content through which the user is presented with a very personable approach to content. The site starts out with a bird’s eye view perspective on the Chicago metropolitan area. This is reinforced through aerial photography. As the user zooms in, the content zooms in as well; detailed maps are presented and mobility issues are explained through video’s shot at street level.

As can be expected from a governmental planning agency, the majority of data sources was geography based. We did a series of transformations to create the formats required for different maps. In order to ensure interesting visualisations as well as optimal performance, almost all maps use a different series of tools to get to the end-result. 

When using state-of-the-art web technology, not all browsers and platforms will support your choices. To accommodate full accessibility, we created videos as a fallback for the interactive 3D maps, and static images as a fallback for the video.


TV coverage:
> http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/27946761/chicago-areas-chronic-traffic-jams
> http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2015/01/26/cmap-creates-animated-map-to-highlight-need-for-improved-transportation-infrastructure/
> http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2015/01/26/website-launched-chicago-area-transportation
> http://wgntv.com/2015/01/26/link-new-interactive-chicago-transportation-maps/

Newspaper & magazine coverage:
> http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150126/news/150129101/
> http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/hilkevitch/ct-mobility-getting-around-0126-20150125-column.html/
> http://blog.archpaper.com/2015/01/explore-chicagos-regional-transportation-network-interactive-website/
> http://dziennikzwiazkowy.com/chicago/stanowe-drogi-przez-meke/

— Check the website: http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/mobility/explore

  • Creative Directors Thomas Clever, Gert Franke
  • Art Directors
  • Designers Thomas Clever, Wouter van Dijk, Daniel Melse, Jonas Groot Kormelink
  • Illustrators
  • Photographers Dave Burk, Terry Evans
  • Editors
  • Copywriters
  • Developers Mark Haasjes, Jonas Groot Kormelink, Davey van der Woerd
  • Data Analysis Wouter van Dijk, Thomas Clever
  • Project management Joery Bruijntjes, Thomas Clever, Tom Garritano
  • Product owner Tom Garritano
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