In alignment with its mission to attract and retain a talented workforce and in response to the desire to broaden transportation options for the local business community, the Greater Oak Brook Economic Development Partnership (EDP) has forged a working coalition to bring “last mile” transportation opportunities for current and future Oak Brook employees commuting from Chicago as well as points west of Oak Brook. Based upon surveys of local employers as well as reviewing commercial neighborhood density, employee origination points and travel times to local train stations, the EDP facilitated the July 2018 launch of a Shuttle Pilot Program, bringing commuters to ten commercial properties in Oak Brook during the morning and evening rush hours from the Elmhurst Metra Station. Tenants of these properties are able to ride the Shuttle for free, while the public is able to pay-per-ride, all by accessing the Chariot online app. This two-year pilot is funded 80% in year one and 50% in year two by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), with the participating commercial properties supporting the remainder of the costs. The Village of Oak Brook acts as monetary facilitator in collecting the funds and compensating the selected shuttle provider, Chariot, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company. Chariot was selected based upon its experience in the micro-transit market, as well as its marketing and technology expertise.
The goal of the program is to provide valuable information to our business community on innovative, effective, and economically efficient ways to connect the area with extended employee populations, which may provide the blueprint for the expansion of the project through public or private channels in the future.