Illinois Department of Transportation

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Department of Transportation
IL DOT.svg
Department overview
Formed 1972
Preceding department
  • Illinois Department of Public Works and Buildings
Jurisdiction Illinois
Headquarters 2300 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, Illinois
Department executive

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is responsible for investing billions of dollars to build, support and maintain modern and efficient roadways, railways, airports and transit systems. This transportation network is an economic engine for the State of Illinois. It is IDOT’s mission to provide safe, cost-effective transportation for Illinois in ways that enhance quality of life, promote economic prosperity, and demonstrate respect for the environment.

IDOT is headed by the Secretary of Transportation. The Office of the Secretary is responsible for the administration and operation of the offices within the Department. The Office of the Secretary also works closely with the Governor’s Office and the Illinois General Assembly to establish and implement Illinois’ transportation policies.

The departmental structure is oriented to functions IDOT performs as an agency: develop programs, implement projects and support those efforts administratively and through public affairs. This organizational structure allows IDOT to serve the public and meet its core mission.

The Department is structured in four primary areas: Program Development, Project Implementation, Public Affairs and Administrative Support.


Program Development[edit]

Program Development is responsible for developing plans, programs, and policies to integrate all modes into one seamless transportation system serving to build Illinois’ economy. The work of the offices that reside in Program Development serve to guide and aid other offices in design, construction, maintenance and operation of the state transportation system in a safe, timely, efficient and economical manner.

Program Development consists of two offices: Planning and Programming and Program Development.

Office of Planning and Programming[edit]

The Office of Planning and Programming (OPP) develops plans and programs aimed at improving the state’s transportation system. Core functions include oversight and coordination of the state’s planning efforts, development of the annual multi-year and multimodal programs, monitoring of the physical condition of the transportation system, evaluation of costs and benefits of new infrastructure investments, and provision of data, mapping and research to support these and other projects across the department.

The Office of Planning and Programming consists of five bureaus: Data Collection, Innovative Project Delivery, Planning, Programming and Research.

• The Bureau of Data Collection maintains and distributes crash report data submitted by law enforcement agencies and motorists across the state. It collects and disseminates fatality data to departmental and state/federal agencies and partners. This bureau prepares the annual Illinois Crash Facts & Statistics and Trends publications and handles data requests from a variety of sources. It administers the Department’s portion of the Illinois Safety Responsibility Law as well as oversees the Illinois Traffic and Pedestrian Stop Study data collection and reporting processes.

• The Bureau of Innovative Project Delivery oversees departmental initiatives to explore the leveraging of private resources in project implementation and agency operations. This bureau coordinates with private sector and public entities to expedite project delivery and maximize innovation in the financial, design, construction, operation and maintenance of major transportation infrastructure projects.

• The Bureau of Planning proactively plans for the future of the state’s transportation system. This includes long-range planning and oversight of capital grants budgets related to aviation and public transportation. This bureau administers the Metropolitan Planning Program in cooperation with various state and local planning agencies and is responsible for transportation data and support activities.

• The Bureau of Programming develops the annual and multi-year Transportation Improvement Programs as well as the construction and grants budget for multimodal elements of the transportation system.

• The Bureau of Research coordinates federal- and state-funded research activities, including all Strategic Highway Research, National Cooperative Research and Transportation Research Board programs. Research activities are primarily conducted through an intergovernmental agreement with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which funds the Illinois Center for Transportation.

Office of Program Development[edit]

The Office of Program Development (OPD) utilizes established engineering practices to develop and implement policies, procedures standards, and guidelines to accomplish highway system improvement objectives. The OPD monitors district programs to ensure statewide uniformity in the interpretation and application of policy and to confirm program coordination with federal, state, and local agencies.

The Office of Program Development consists of five bureaus: Bridges and Structures, Design and Environment, Land Acquisition, Local Roads and Streets, and Safety Programs and Engineering

• The Bureau of Bridges and Structures develops departmental structural design policies and practices. This bureau provides detailed planning and design of highway structures and bridge standards, including preliminary engineering and other plans and studies. Inspection of major structures and structural steel for safety purposes are a function of the bureau.

• The Bureau of Design and Environment develops standards, specifications and policies for the design of the state’s highway network. This bureau supports district offices in implementing departmental standards and provides guidance and support for location and environmental studies, including environmental impact statements. It provides technical expertise to assist district offices in solving unique engineering, social, economic, and environmental problems. The bureau coordinates and prepares federal aid program documents; processes plans and contract documents for project lettings; works closely with Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and provides aerial photography, mapping and photo lab services.

• The Bureau of Local Roads and Streets coordinates with local governments in all matters pertaining to highway transportation. This bureau assists local agencies with planning, finance, design, construction, and maintenance of local transportation systems as well as promotes the coordination and cooperation of counties, townships, and municipalities in the development of transportation systems.

• The Bureau of Land Acquisition develops policies and provides oversight of the statewide land acquisition program. This includes such functions as relocation assistance, property management, and signboard and junkyard control. It is responsible for reviewing and processing all right-of-way expenditures.

• The Bureau of Safety Programs and Engineering develops, maintains and implements engineering- and behavior-related safety programs, training, policies and procedures to enhance safety on Illinois roadways. This bureau is responsible for administering the Highways Safety Improvement Program and the Safe Routes to School Program. The bureau is also responsible for vehicle crash reporting, evaluation and analysis of crash data, dissemination of crash statistics to traffic safety officials, and administration of the IDOT’s portion of the state’s Safety Responsibility law.

Project Implementation[edit]

Project Implementation is responsible for delivering projects across all modes of transportation: highways, transit, freight and passenger rail, and aeronautics.

Project Implementation consists of two offices: Highways Project Implementation and Intermodal Project Implementation.

Office of Highways Project Implementation[edit]

The Office of Highways Project Implementation (OHPI) ensures that highway improvement projects are constructed and operated in a cost-effective and timely manner in order to ensure funds to local agencies are properly disbursed. The OHPI monitors district programs to ensure statewide uniformity of policy interpretation and compliance and to certify program coordination with federal, state, and local agencies. These bureaus provide programs and activities to support efficient program implementation across the districts.

The Office of Highways Project Implementation consists of three bureaus: Construction, Materials and Operations. Also, the OHPI houses the five highway regional offices consisting of a total of nine district offices.

• The Bureau of Construction develops policies to maintain quality construction, approves changes in contracts, provides uniform contract interpretation, and prequalifies contractors. It performs field-work and coordinates with regional offices to ensure construction projects and contracts are executed consistently across the state. The bureau reviews value engineering proposals, coordinates industry policy and joint co-op committees, evaluates and approves contractor authorizations to bid, approves subcontractors, and manages payments to contractors for construction projects. Additionally, this bureau regulates the completion of final documentation for construction projects along with managing accounts receivable tor local agency agreements.

• The Bureau of Materials establishes policies and procedures providing quality assurance in materials testing and research. This bureau inspects all materials used in the construction and maintenance of highways. It conducts studies of methods and equipment, evaluates and approves new products for use in construction projects, and implements operational research development to improve the economy and quality of transportation design, construction, maintenance and operation.

• The Bureau of Operations creates policies and procedures to protect public investment in new and existing transportation facilities and develops programs and policies that provide safe, smooth, and efficient traffic flow. It monitors maintenance operations and roadside development by implementing programs to reduce maintenance costs, conducts emergency planning, manages statewide communication systems, ensures uniform application of traffic control devices on all streets and highways, processes applications for special vehicle movements, recommends revisions in the vehicle code, and informs the public of traffic conditions, laws, and operational safety.

• The five Highway Regional Offices are responsible for highway operations and functions within respective geographic boundaries. With the exception of Region 1, each region comprises two districts. These five regions ensure the highway programs are compatible with the protection of both the natural and the socio-economic environments.

The regions strive to reduce the number of traffic crashes, property damage and fatalities through safe design, construction and maintenance of highway facilities as well as an active traffic management program. The regions coordinate with local officials and the public in the project development process and during construction. Regions coordinate with the central office for design approvals and construction authorizations.

Office of Intermodal Project Implementation[edit]

The Office of Intermodal Project Implementation (OIPI) coordinates activities for transit, rail, and aeronautics. Its mission is to provide safe, efficient, affordable, reliable and coordinated transportation of people and goods through rail, mass transit, and related modes of transportation. The OIPI promotes mass transportation systems and services in Illinois by developing and recommending policies and programs; cultivating, implementing, and administering operating, capital, and technical program projects; and participating in local and statewide planning and programming activities. OIPI conducts technical studies and engineering reviews of projects.

The Office of Intermodal Project Implementation consists of three groups: 1) Aeronautics: Bureaus of Administrative Services, Airport Engineering, Aviation Safety and Education, and Air Operations. 2) Transit: Bureaus of Transit Capital and Transit Operations. 3) Rail: Bureaus of Freight Rail Management and Passenger Rail Corridor Management.

Aeronautics coordinates and implements programs concerning airport construction, aviation safety, and other aeronautical activities throughout Illinois. The Illinois State Aviation System is one of the largest and most diverse airport systems in the country. Comprising nearly 830 facilities, it ranges in size and scope from some of the busiest airports in the world for regional commercial passenger service and commercial air cargo airports to dozens of local municipal airfields serving thousands of corporate and general aviation users as well as hundreds of private airstrips scattered throughout the state. These airports generate billions for the Illinois economy and grant the flying public with access to the entire country, connecting Illinoisans to the rest of the world. Aeronautics partners with the owners and operators at each airport to maximize safety and assist each airport in reaching its individual potential. Aeronautics operates a fleet of aircraft to maintain a safe, efficient, and reliable air transportation option for state personnel, elected officials, and others travelling in support of official state business.

Transit promotes transit services while ensuring safe and efficient mass transportation systems throughout Illinois by generating and recommending policies and programs; developing, implementing, and administering operating, capital and technical program projects; and participating in local and statewide planning and programming activities. It also conducts technical studies and engineering reviews of projects.

Rail promotes and establishes safe and efficient rail transportation throughout the state by developing and recommending policies and programs and implementing programs and projects for both passenger and freight rail.

Public Affairs[edit]

Public Affairs consists of two offices: Communications and Legislative Affairs. These offices focus on proactive efforts related to public affairs, including outreach to key stakeholder groups and management of communication with the media, employees and other publics.

Office of Communications[edit]

The Office of Communications (OoC) manages both communications and outreach efforts between IDOT and its stakeholders (including the public, elected officials, industry partners, fellow government agencies, and civic/non-profit partners). The OoC’s primary objectives are to assist in the coverage of agency activities, to increase the agency’s sensitivity to its publics, to interpret public opinion so that agency programs and regulations will be realistic and acceptable, and to mobilize support for the agency and its programs.

The Office of Communications consists of two bureaus: Communications Services and Program, Project and Safety Outreach.

• The Bureau of Communications Services coordinates the preparation and dissemination of information to the general public, media and other stakeholders. The release of information includes printed, digital channels such as website, social media and video and other platforms.

• The Bureau of Program, Project and Safety Outreach provides outreach support for the agency’s various activities, with particular focus on projects and programs from the program development and project implementation areas, as well as legislative affairs.

Office of Legislative Affairs[edit]

The Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA) leads coordination with subject-matter experts from across the agency on legislative issues at both state and federal levels. As such, the OLA maintains relationships both with elected officials and their staff, as well as sister agencies.

The Office of Legislative Affairs consists of two bureaus: Federal Affairs and State Legislation.

• The Bureau of Federal Affairs coordinates analysis and development of federal legislative programs and strategies. It resolves issues of special interest to the Secretary to ensure that departmental policy and actions as well as federal legislation consistently support and enhance Illinois’ transportation interests.

• The Bureau of State Legislation coordinates analysis and development of state legislative programs and strategies. It resolves issues of special interest to the Secretary to ensure that departmental policy and actions as well as state legislation consistently support and enhance Illinois’ transportation interests.

Administrative Support[edit]

Administrative support offices ensure that IDOT operations run smoothly across all facets of the agency. This includes development of business and workforce diversity strategies, legal oversight, financial and administrative support, and internal auditing functions.

Administrative Support consists of four offices: Business and Workforce Diversity, Chief Counsel, Finance and Administration, and Internal Audit.

Office of Business and Workforce Diversity[edit]

The Office of Business and Workforce Diversity (OBWD) supervises the implementation of directives, policies and strategies for departmental business diversity efforts designed to support efficient operations that ultimately are aimed toward achieving departmental goals and objectives. It directs the periodic reviews of departmental efforts for compliance with tenets of quality and underlying laws, regulations and policies governing these projects and programs resulting in policy changes. The OBWD promotes a climate of compliance with prevailing civil rights laws and minimizes departmental exposure to forfeiture of federal funds, litigation or administrative intervention.

The Office of Business and Workforce Diversity comprises two bureaus: Civil Rights and Small Business Enterprises.

• The Bureau of Civil Rights provides for the development, implementation and monitoring the departmental programs for Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), Affirmative Action (AA), federal contract compliance (Title VI) and the handicapped (Section 504). The bureau assists with the Disadvantaged and Small Business Enterprises (DBE) Program in addition to participating in its annual planning and review process. It also provides counseling and informational services to employees, investigates allegations of discrimination in employment, and assists the Office of Chief Counsel in preparing departmental responses to the allegations.

• The Bureau of Small Business Enterprises governs overall direction of the Department’s various programs for small business utilization. These programs include the federally mandated highway construction program for the DBE and similar programs arising from the state’s Business Enterprises Program for minorities, females, and persons with disabilities. This bureau directs department-wide efforts to guarantee contractor compliance with the work force utilization goals and labor wage laws and regulations.

Office of Chief Counsel[edit]

The Office of Chief Counsel (OCC) is responsible for providing departmental legal counsel on both policy issues and proposed actions affecting any of its operating offices. The OCC is responsible for the prosecution of all departmental litigation in cooperation with the Attorney General. It administers tort liability claims, property damage claims, uncollectible receivables, and lien and bond claims against contractors. In addition, the office coordinates the purchase and service of all insurance policies and administers the Department’s self-insurance program.

The Office of Chief Counsel consists of two bureaus: Legal Services and Claims.

• The Bureau of Legal Services advises offices concerning all legal matters and represents the Department in legally-related matters with the Governor’s Office, other state and federal agencies, local governmental offices, and the general public. Legal Services reviews the legal aspects of the departmental legislative program; reviews new federal and state legislation, court decisions and Attorney General’s opinions for the legal aspects of the effect on departmental operations; and drafts and negotiates contracts with outside entities. In conjunction with the Attorney General, Legal Services directs the Department’s position and strategy in all major judicial and administrative proceedings.

• The Bureau of Claims represents the Department in the areas of property claims, third party torts, uncollected accounts receivable, claims against contractor performance and payment bonds, and liens against public funds, including the processing and pretrial preparation of actions filed against the Department in the Court of Claims. It administers risk management for the Department including coordinating insurance purchases, managing self-insurance programs, and approving indemnity or hold harmless agreements in various contracts.

Office of Finance and Administration[edit]

The Office of Finance and Administration (OFA) is responsible for developing and administering the Department’s budget, managing departmental personnel systems, providing accounting and auditing functions to ensure sound fiscal management, providing centralized business services functions and IDOT facilities management, and providing management information capabilities required to meet management and engineering needs.

The Office of Finance and Administration consists of five bureaus: Business Services, Budget and Fiscal Management, Information Processing, Personnel Management and Investigations and Compliance.

• The Bureau of Business Services provides administrative services including duplication, records management, central stockroom service, mail and messenger service, and motor pool service. It provides general accounting services including general cost accounting and management of federal billing.

• The Bureau of Budget and Fiscal Management forecasts all departmental revenues and expenditures; manages all IDOT funds; develops, defends and executes IDOT’s total budget; analyzes departmental programs; performs management reviews; improves the Department’s operating efficiency; and serves as financial liaison with the Bureau of the Budget, the legislature, and commissions. It provides auditing services and recommendations on internal financial policies, procedures and control.

• The Bureau of Information Processing provides departmental computer services to assist in maximizing effectiveness of resources through better information and increased productivity. This is accomplished by analyzing management information needs and data relationships; conducting feasibility studies for computer applications; designing, programming and implementing computer systems; providing daily processing of systems and maintaining effectiveness; and planning for current and future network management and support.

• The Bureau of Personnel Management provides services in the administration of personnel programs for all departmental employee groups. These programs include employment and placement, policy administration, organizational analysis, salary administration, employee safety, workers’ compensation, employee assistance, and training development. This bureau administers the Personnel Code and rules of the Department of Central Management Services. Additionally, the bureau provides transactional support for the central office staff.

• The Bureau of Investigations and Compliance is designated as the Secretary’s advocate for compliance review activities. The Chief Financial Review Officer and Law Enforcement Liaison responsibilities both reside with this bureau. It monitors departmental projects and programs on a sample basis for compliance with quality and quantity product commitment along with safety and legal requirements. It also performs departmental financial audit services to provide assurances of local agency and contractor compliance with the state and federal regulations, laws, and contract specifications. This bureau conducts and assists law enforcement with internal and external investigations. It also ensures the completion of all pre-employment criminal background checks.

Office of Internal Audit[edit]

The Office of Internal Audit directs and implements a comprehensive agency-wide internal audit program; conducts audits and reviews of agency programs, policies and procedures to evaluate effectiveness; develops the agency’s Annual Audit Plan; and monitors implementation of audit recommendations and findings.


As construction of the interstate highway system approached the half-way mark in the late 1960s, more than 4 million registered vehicles raced across the state, and Illinois became only the fourth state to reach a population of 10 million (after New York, California and Pennsylvania).

In 1963, the Illinois 73rd General Assembly established the Illinois Highway Study Commission (IHSC) to “investigate study, and formulate a highway plan for the state.” IHSC embarked on a four-year endeavor, conducting testimonies, public meetings, and interviews with government officials, industry leaders and the general public. In a series of reports between 1966 and 1967, IHSC detailed the anticipated revenues and expenditures, highway classification systems, and traffic models needed for a complete state highway modernization plan. Their reports recognized the need for the creation of a more comprehensive transportation department, and recommended a second IHSC to investigate the matter further.

A second IHSC was created and presented its report to the Illinois 76th General Assembly in February 1969. IHSC affirmed the need for a dedicated transportation department, citing the recent creation of the U.S. Department of Transportation and similar agencies in other states, and detailing the redundant or overlapping functions of several state agencies. IHSC issued its "full support in principle to the establishment of a State Department of Transportation to take over the transportation functions of: (1) Division of Highways; (2) Illinois Toll Road Authority; (3) Department of Aeronautics; (4) Bridge and Ferry Operations of the Division of Waterways; (5) Motor Vehicle Administration of the Office of the Secretary of State; and (6) highway-related functions of the Department of Public Safety.”

In a special message on transportation delivered to the Illinois General Assembly on Feb. 17, 1971, Governor Richard B. Ogilvie made clear that transportation was the top issue for the state. As the transportation center of the nation, Governor Ogilvie said, Illinois’ “transportation capabilities are the foundation of our prosperity. Opportunities for jobs and business exist in direct relationship to our ability to get people to and from their place of work, to bring new materials to industry, and to deliver finished products to consumers.” Calling the transportation issue “the most important challenge of 1971,” Governor Ogilvie asked the Illinois General Assembly to immediately consider the creation of a state transportation department.

In response, the legislature assembled a taskforce – including members of the Governor’s staff, the Department of Public Works and Buildings, and the Bureau of the Budget – to make recommendations for the legislation needed to establish a transportation department. The task force submitted its recommendations in spring 1971. In addition to proposing the creation of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the task force outlined a plan to secure a sound financial base for the new agency. This general plan would form the basis for the Transportation Bond Act of 1971. The Act, approved on July 2, 1971, authorized the state to issue, sell and provide for the retirement of $900 million in state bonds “for the specific purpose of promoting and assuring rapid, efficient, and safe highway, air and mass transportation for the inhabitants of the state.” The bond issue, the largest in the state’s history at the time, was the first enacted under the new and less restrictive financial provisions of the 1970 Illinois Constitution. It was amended less than 18 months later to issue an additional $275 million in bonds, bringing the initial transportation bond program to nearly $1.2 billion.

With funding secured, the Illinois 77th General Assembly passed Public Act 77-153, a series of 33 bills that featured the creation of IDOT. With this, Illinois became the 14th state to establish a transportation department. On Jan. 1, 1972, the new department assumed the transportation responsibilities of the Department of Public Works and Buildings, the Office of Mass Transportation from the Department of Local Government Affairs, and the safety inspection functions previously spread across the State Police, Secretary of State, Illinois Commerce Commission, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Division of Waterways, which along with the Division of Highways had been a transportation division since 1917, was temporarily renamed the Office of Water Resource Management before becoming the Division of Water Resources in 1973. William Cellini, the serving director of the Department of Public Works and Buildings, was appointed as the first IDOT Secretary. The final makeup of the new department did not include Tollways or Secretary of State motor vehicle services or, initially, the Department of Aeronautics, but otherwise followed the general taskforce recommendations.

While the mission and responsibilities of the new department were set by legislation, the question of organization was left open. On Sept. 27, 1971, Governor Ogilvie appointed the Commission on Organization of the Department of Transportation and charged it with the task of recommending “how the Department may be organized for most efficient management.” The 12-man commission, chaired by John E. Robson – future Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation and Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department – issued its report in January 1972.

The commission’s report outlined 10 core objectives for the new department:

  1. To plan and develop transportation systems that satisfy the overall needs of the state.
  1. To ensure that transportation planning and development fulfills goals and priorities for social economic development, and urban and regional development and restoration.
  1. To develop efficient transportation systems based on economic analysis and through the regulatory process, legislative liaison and interaction with the private sector.
  1. To stress the importance of transportation safety.
  1. To ensure that transportations systems are compatible with the environment.
  1. To maximize financial participation and investment of public and private funds for transportation programs and systems.
  1. To act as a focal point for governmental agencies’ transportation needs.
  1. To keep Illinois in the forefront of transportation technology and techniques.
  1. To develop and encourage communication between the department and its publics.
  1. To attract, develop and retain a knowledgeable and competent staff.

The commission’s report laid the structural and organizational foundation for the department and provided the department “with the opportunity for leadership, a sound basis for its development and the capability to fulfill the challenge of transportation in the years ahead.”

Not long after the department’s creation, lawmakers decided that additional reorganizing of IDOT was needed. On Aug. 30, 1973, the Department of Aeronautics was abolished and its functions and responsibilities transferred to IDOT, becoming a new Division of Aeronautics within IDOT. The move had been considered for several decades but was met with resistance by members of the aeronautics community, many of whom feared the state would de-emphasize its aviation program without a dedicated agency. However, the move was argued on the grounds that both IDOT and the new Aeronautics Division would strengthen each other through consolidation. In the end, the Aeronautics Division retained all of its registration and supervision functions as authorized by the Illinois Aeronautics Act.


  1. ^ About IDOT accessed 07 October 2015

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