When NPE 2003 takes place June 23-27 in Chicago, attendees will have a dedicated busway to reach McCormick Place quickly from a downtown station.
Meantime, the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. is accepting preregistrations for the triennial show at the extensive Web site www.npe.org and will launch interactive windows for a full-service housing selector by year's end and a password-protected NPE personal planner in September. Information on the site's international section will be available in eight languages.
Registration costs $25 through December, $50 in the following months and $75 at the show.
The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which operates McCormick Place, spent $43 million constructing a 2.5-mile-long roadway adjacent to the Metra/Illinois Central railroad tracks between a station near Randolph Street and the convention-exposition site's South Building.
During NPE, SPI typically provides complimentary bus shuttle service, which now can include travel on the single-use roadway.
The authority, city and Metra commuter railroad jointly operate the express service. The busway, which opened in January, bypasses the usual heavy rush-hour traffic on Lake Shore and Columbus drives, Michigan Avenue and nearby streets.
The busway's mass-transit purpose can confuse traffic-frustrated motorists. Some have inquired about how to enter the restricted two-lane roadway with personal vehicles.
In 1946, SPI founded the trade show, now a major international exposition for the plastics industry. The most recent event, NPE 2000, had 90,142 registered participants, 2,014 exhibitors and 1,142,900 square feet of net exhibit space.