Grand Crossing logo at left, IDOT logo at right The Grand Crossing Rail Project logo Illinois Department of Transportation logo and link


Association of American Railroads (AAR)
An organization composed of the major freight railroads in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as Amtrak and Metra.


One of several options to accomplish all or part of the purpose and need of the project.


Also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak operates passenger rail service to 500 destinations in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and three Canadian provinces.

At-Grade Crossing

When two transportation facilities intersect at the same level. For example, a road that crosses railroad tracks is a highway-rail at-grade crossing.

BNSF Railway Company (BNSF)

Operates a large rail network in the western two-thirds of the United States.

The Belt Railway Company of Chicago (BRC)

Operates the largest intermediate switching terminal railroad in the United States, allowing it to interchange with every railroad serving the Chicago rail hub.

Built Environment

Any buildings, infrastructure, or other facility that is built by humans, as opposed to those shaped by nature.

Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT)

The local government agency responsible for transportation infrastructure in the City of Chicago.

CN Railway

A transportation company that offers integrated transportation services including rail, intermodal, trucking, freight forwarding, warehousing and distribution.

Community Advisory Group

Generally consists of community leaders, residents, and organizations that represent the views of all of the constituencies within and adjacent to the project study area. The responsibilities of this group include providing input to the study process and consensus at key project milestones.

Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS)

An interdisciplinary approach that seeks effective transportation solutions by working with stakeholders to develop, build, and maintain cost-effective transportation facilities which fit into and reflect the project's surroundings - its "context."


A tract of land forming a route, such as one for the passage of trains.

Canadian Pacific Railway (CP)

Class I railroad that operates railroads throughout Canada and the northern United States.

Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE)

A public-private partnership to implement 70 transportation projects throughout the Chicagoland area at an estimated cost of $3 billion. The goals of the program are to reduce rail and motorist congestion, improve passenger rail service, enhance public safety, promote economic development, create jobs, improve air quality, and reduce energy use.

CSX Corporation

A transportation company providing rail, intermodal, and rail-to-truck trans-load services across the eastern United States.

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

The municipal corporation that operates rail and bus service in Chicago and 40 adjacent municipalities.

Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS)

A Draft EIS documents existing conditions and the benefits, impacts, and proposed mitigation measures associated with various alternatives under consideration, as well as public input received on the project. A Public Hearing is held to formally present the findings of the Draft EIS and receive comments.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

A document required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for federal government agency actions that may affect the quality of the human and natural environment. The EIS documents the potential environmental impacts of project alternatives.

Environmental and Social Impacts

The collective effects of an alternative on air, land, water, wildlife, humans, or any other component of the environment.

Evaluation Criteria

A standard or measure that allows for comparative evaluation of an alternative.

Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS)

A Final EIS addresses substantive comments from the Draft EIS. Once the Final EIS is approved, a Record of Decision (ROD) is issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

A division of the US Department of Transportation responsible for providing financial resources and technical assistance to state and local governments for constructing, preserving, and improving the National Highway System.


A grade-separation of two rail lines. When two railway lines cross over each other at different levels. 

Freight and Passenger Rail Facilities

Freight rail facilities include track, structures, signals, yards, and other related facilities. Passenger rail facilities are the same, but also include stations, park and ride facilities, and related amenities.

Grade Separation

Where one roadway or railroad passes over another at a different level, instead of crossing at-grade.


A situation when traffic movements within a grid of streets "lock-up" due to opposing vehicles blocking the intersections. The word has since become synonymous with congestion or delays of any kind, particularly in the fields of transportation.

Highway-Rail Grade Crossing

An at-grade intersection of a highway and a rail line.

Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT
The state government agency responsible for administering funding, planning, designing, building, and maintaining state-supported transportation infrastructure, including highways, transit, rail, and airports.


Pertaining to two or more modes of transportation, for instance, rail and trucking.

Intermodal Yard

A transportation facility designed to allow the transfer of goods between two or more modes of transportation, for instance, from rail to truck.


The point where two or more rail lines cross or converge.  The railroad equivalent of an intersection.


Metra - officially the Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation - is the commuter rail division of the Regional Transit Authority (RTA).

Norfolk Southern Corporation (NS)

Operates approximately 21,000 route miles of railroad track in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serving every major container port in the eastern United States.


Pace is the suburban bus division of the Regional Transit Authority (RTA).

Park and Ride Facility

A transit station with parking available for private vehicles.

Public-Private Partnership

A partnership between a government agency and a private party.

Public Transit

See Public Transportation

Public Transportation

(Also called public transit) Passenger transportation by a mode of transport that provides regular and continuing general or special transportation to the public, but not including school buses, charters or sightseeing services.

Right-of-Way (ROW)

The strip of land over which facilities such as highways, railroads, or power lines are built.

Record of Decision (ROD)

Document issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to indicate approval of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). It authorizes the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to proceed with final design, land acquisition, and construction.

Regional Transportation Authority (RTA)

Oversees the operation and funding of public transit in the Chicago metropolitan area. There are three service boards under the RTA - the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra, and Pace.


Anyone who could be affected by a project and has a stake in its outcome. This includes elected officials, property owners, business owners, special interest groups, and motorists and passengers who travel through the study area.

Track Capacity

The maximum number of trains that can pass over a particular section of rail track within a given time period.

The Union Pacific Corporation (UP)

Operates railroads in 23 states in the western two-thirds of the United States.

photos of neighborhood parks and bungalows
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