Planning Principal Analyst

Posted on February 25, 2019

Planning Principal Analyst (PPA219) February 15, 2019

Job Category: Principal
Experience Required: Minimum 10 years
Salary Range: $86,200 to $106,850

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is hiring a Principal Analyst in the Planning Department, to lead the Planning Research group which serves as the primary data resource for regional land use and transportation planning in the Chicago region and supports CMAP’s ongoing data exchange and dissemination activities.

CMAP is our region’s official comprehensive planning organization. The agency and its partners are implementing ON TO 2050, a new long-range comprehensive regional plan to help the seven counties and 284 communities of northeastern Illinois implement strategies that address transportation, housing, economic development, open space, the environment, and other qualityof-life issues through inclusive growth, resilience, and prioritized investment. At CMAP we recognize that one of our greatest assets is our people. A rich diversity of cultural backgrounds, life experiences, ideas, and lifestyles represented by CMAP employees will allow us to provide the best possible service to our region. See for more information, and details regarding benefits are at

Position Purpose
Successful candidate will be part of a large department and provide advanced technical and professional support for implementation of CMAP’s long-range comprehensive regional plan, collaborating with multi-disciplinary teams across departments in project work for the agency.

The individual in this position will oversee development of a regional land use model using the UrbanSim platform; will be responsible for developing a socio-economic forecasting methodology for future long-range comprehensive plans; and will oversee the development and maintenance of specialized datasets used for planning and policy analyses including a regional land use inventory and the Northeastern Illinois Development Database, among other regional inventories.

Principals primarily provide leadership to numerous projects, supervising the work of other staff; directly manage a small number of projects, with support from a team of staff; ensure a high quality of products across the program; assist in the selection of new projects; identify new strategic directions for the program, based on local interest and regional priorities; and many other activities. Overall, the position will have a high level of responsibility for the success of the planning research program, and will work collaboratively with other senior staff and agency leadership to manage and continually improve it. The position reports to the Deputy Executive Director of Planning. This position may require travel throughout the region and candidates must have the ability and willingness to work with communities across the region.
Essential Functions

  • Staff Management including: assigns, directs, trains, and reviews the work of staff; coaches, counsels, and evaluates staff performance; develops, coordinates, and ensures compliance with detailed staff work programs; coordinates staff schedules and priorities; recommends hiring and disciplinary actions.
  • Manages the Planning Research portion of the Planning Department including oversight of multiple staff-led and/or consultant-led projects which includes the management of contracts and the work of external contractors or consultants.
  • Assists with the development of the annual work plan, the long-term vision for the Planning Department, and strategic vision for planning throughout the agency.
  • Identifies critical budget needs, develops business case for budget, and prepares cost estimates to support budget appropriation. Manages project budgets to ensure appropriate expenditures for timely completed work and services rendered.
  • Develops working relationships with partner agencies, regional councils, other MPOs, stakeholders, community and elected officials, and representatives of private sector firms.
  • Serves as a subject matter expert for the agency in internal, external and public forums.
  • May serve on or oversee committees, task forces, and other bodies where CMAP representation is desired.
  • Collaborates with multi-disciplinary teams across departments in project work for the agency.
  • Contributes to various work plan items as assigned.
  • Responsibility for advanced analytical functions in an urban planning context within the Planning Research group.
  • Oversees CMAP’s role as a Census State Data Center coordinating agency.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Experience with population and employment data and forecasting methodologies
  • Experience with acquiring and processing Census data
  • Understanding of spatial data technologies & awareness of current trends & capabilities in GIS, including automation and online visualization
  • Understanding of and experience with urban datasets representing: land use, zoning, highway & transit networks, parcels & assessments, floodzones, and aerial imagery.
  • Ability to collaborate across disciplines
  • Ability to supervise 5-6 professional level employees
  • Interpersonal acumen and well-developed planning-related skills, knowledge and experience
  • Demonstrated ability to contribute to complex projects and work as part of a team is required.
  • Identifies critical budget needs, develops business case for budget, and prepares cost estimates to support budget appropriation. Manages project budgets and contracts to ensure appropriate expenditures for timely completed work and services rendered.
  • Ability to work with limited supervision.
  • Ability to prepare advanced technical information and to effectively communicate that information to external and internal audiences orally, in writing, and in presentations.
  • General knowledge of urban and/or regional planning practice and an understanding of environmental, social, land use, and transportation considerations in planning.
  • Comprehensive ability to perform mapping and analytical tasks using ESRI GIS.
  • Comprehensive ability to oversee data processing or analytical tasks using Python, R, SQL, and/or other scripting tools.
  • Comprehensive skills in principles of research, data collection and analysis, and technical writing.
  • Comprehensive ability to document research, data collection, and processes.
  • Comprehensive ability to analyze and systematically compile technical information and to prepare technical reports.
  • Comprehensive skills in working with large urban datasets, development of innovative GIS analytical solutions, and other complex research and data analysis work.
  • Ability to coach and support the professional development of junior staff, specifically in learning how to use advanced scripting tools to produce and automate production of maps and other business intelligence.

Education and/or Experience Qualifications
A Bachelor’s degree in Planning, Public Policy, Geography, GIS, Computer Science, Statistics, or a related discipline is required, plus a minimum of 10 years of progressive professional experience (excludes internships, fellowships, graduate or classwork) in working with GIS data and automation in an urban planning context, and with data analysis and visualization, and a minimum of five years of successful experience managing professional level employees. Familiarity with transportation and land use models and multilingual capability is preferred.

How to Apply
Qualified candidates should apply online at to be considered.

Posting End Date
This posting will close on March 15, 2019.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning is an Equal Opportunity Employer.