Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Issues Website RFP

2019-08-21 by Jim Crickell

The CREATE partners need to use their main public-facing website — — as an advocacy communication tool to better support program goals. However, the site was last updated in the early 2000s, leaving its design, content, user-experience, and back-end management severely outdated.

The CREATE partners desire an ongoing professional relationship with a qualified vendor that will develop, deploy and support a fully redesigned, modern, advocacy-focused website that meets the needs of multiple external audiences as well as existing internal stakeholders. CREATE’s stakeholders will manage the website day- to-day, while the vendor will provide ongoing technical and content support, including bug fixes, answering technical questions, providing general best practice guidance, writing content and recommending/developing new site enhancements as needed. In conjunction with this redesign, CREATE also looks for recommendations on an integrated communications strategy and for social media management support.


The Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program is a first-of-its-kind partnership between the U.S. Department of Transportation, State of Illinois, Cook County, City of Chicago, Metra, Amtrak, and the nation’s freight railroads. A project of national significance, CREATE partners are investing billions of dollars in critically needed improvements to increase the efficiency of the region’s passenger and freight rail infrastructure and enhance the quality of life for Chicagoland residents.

Scope of Work:

Conduct an in-depth discovery phase and deliver associated documentation. This includes auditing and assessing the current site, solidifying audience personas and needs, and outlining clear website goals and objectives.

                • Assess and recommend the best content management system (CMS) option to meet website goals and objectives. Fully develop, design and deploy the new site on the CMS, including developing components such as custom templates or application program interfaces (APIs) and                plugins that are not “off-the-shelf.” The CMS must allow people without web experience to easily manage the site and for new managers to be trained as needed. The site must also be “future-proof” so that CREATE can make adjustments and enhancements, such as adding new functionality or new interactivity, without having to do another redesign.

                • Ensure the site is fully responsive and mobile-friendly across multiple platforms and devices.

                • Develop a clear content strategy and information architecture (sitemap).

                • Make recommendations for removing/adding content to the new website. Work with CREATE to write new or rewrite old content, following web-style best practices. Provide technical writing guidance and assistance as needed. 

                • Fully develop a brand new front end design, including colors, fonts, user interface (UI) styles, photos, etc. and make recommendations for updating the current CREATE Program style guide. 

                • Determine and ensure the website meets any/all accessibility standards.

                • Ensure the site is secure and protected against vulnerabilities going forward.

                • Create a strong in-site and external web search through SEO best practices.

                • Ensure website key performance indicators (KPIs) are set up and incorporate Google Analytics with custom tracking as needed.

                o Particular attention focused on the new website’s click-thru rate, including content examined by site visitors.

                o Monitoring web traffic levels including the originating source of the traffic (search engine,   social media, news article, direct website entry, etc.).

                o Distinguish, as practical, external visitors from internal CREATE stakeholders.

                • Determine a solution for how to house PDFs that only certain front-end users have access to, as well as a solution for housing content and materials only internal CREATE stakeholders need access to. 

                • Develop associated website documentation such as user manuals, governance documents,   writing style guides, etc.

                • Provide full deployment support, including in-depth pre-launch testing, immediate post-launch fixes, setting up redirect links, retiring the old site, providing training for CMS managers, etc. 

                • Provide and maintain a staging site that CMS managers can test on before making changes to the live production site.

                • Provide recommendations and guidance on hosting services.

                • Provide ongoing, rapid-response technical and maintenance support, including fixing bugs, answering CMS manager questions and ensuring elements such as plugins, security certificates and hosting requirements are up-to-date. 

Due Date:

September 12th.

Address: (Janice Scott, Association of American Railroads, Office Administrator CTCO/CIROC)

Zeno Group is a Chicago based PR agency.