The suburbs of Chicago offer many attractive choices for people seeking transit-oriented lifestyles. Some communities earn distinction for having vibrant pedestrian and retail areas adjacent to their transit stops. Others stand out for their state-of-the-art commuter rail stations or a variety of housing options only steps away from bus and train lines. 

But what communities most deserve recognition as the region’s “top transit suburbs?” What differentiates the best from the rest? This website answers these questions by summarizing the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development’s study released in the summer of 2012. The DePaul University team considered 47 measurable factors to rank the best transit suburbs based on their:

1. Station buildings and platforms;

2. Station grounds and parking;

3. Walkable downtown amenities adjacent to the station; and

4. Degree of community connectivity to public transportation, as measured by the use of commuter rail services.

The team made at least three visits to each of 25 finalists before ranking the 20 best. Click the links below to download the study (28 pages, PDF) or watch the slideshow of “The Top Transit Suburbs.”   


Click on a suburb name to access the community fact sheet

1. La Grange

2. Wilmette

3. Arlington Heights

4. Glenview

5. Elmhurst

6. Wheaton

7. Downers Grove

8. Naperville

9. Des Plaines

10. Mt. Prospect

11. Glen Ellyn

12. Northbrook

13. Park Ridge

14. Westmont

15. Western Springs

16. Homewood

17. Deerfield

18. Palatine

19. Highland Park

20. Tinley Park

Note: Berwyn, Hinsdale, Lake Forest, Lombard, and Winnetka were also finalists and featured in our report.  We did not consider "city suburbs" with  CTA rapid-transit service to their downtowns, such as Evanston and Oak Park.

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