Category: Transportation

Transit’s New Technologies Leaving Planners Behind

By Eric J. Tanenblatt  When it comes to transportation in Atlanta, there are two things on which everyone can agree: Our cash-strapped transit grid is bad, and our traffic is worse.  Here, where one need only cast their gaze skyward to the swoop of cranes fashioning a towering, new skyline of glimmering glass and steel to understand the sea of red that drowns our highways each night, it’s plainly clear that growing pains are at hand – and, with them, worsening road congestion.  Our sprawling city is in desperate need of expanded public transportation. And it’s critical that it be equitable and accessible, because Atlanta will only truly be connected and vibrant when its mass transit system has equal buy-in… View Article

Bus Rapid Transit: Burden Reduced on Taxpayers

By Dave Emanuel Relatively few people use public transit but everyone pays for it. No public transportation system in the country is economically sustained by the fares paid by riders; all are subsidized by taxes. That public transit must be subsidized with tax dollars is recognized by virtually all transportation professionals, but the justification for creating or expanding a transit system is economic development. In essence, “If you build it, few will come but many will spend.” That point is well documented with the Charlotte, N.C., light rail system. A ride on the city’s 18.6-mile long LYNX Blue Line leaves no doubt that there is development along the system.   Construction of housing and commercial buildings is rampant along the newly… View Article

Express Toll Lanes: What you need to know

Express lanes: WSB Radio held an information session with transportation leaders this week about the metro area express toll lanes. With the Northwest Corridor reversible Express Toll Lanes (I-75/575) expected to be operational by Labor Day, the learning curve is steep. Listen to the program podcast here; read the highlights below. Highlights of the Northwest Corridor Reversible Express Toll Lanes on I-75/575 Pricing: A uniform pricing approach. During non-demand hours, (about midnight–5AM), the toll will be a flat 50 cents per trip,  regardless of length. Otherwise, a minimum charge of 10 cents per mile. Speed: The goal is to keep traffic moving at a minimum of 45 mph. Access: There are 10 new points of entry.… View Article

Bus Rapid Transit: Fast, Flexible, Forward-thinking

By Benita M. Dodd Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s Bus Rapid Transit plan for SR 400 is a breath of fresh air amid stale and misguided transit proposals for the metro Atlanta region. Unlike Atlanta’s costly, failing, fixed-rail Streetcar System – which MARTA plans to expand – Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) vehicles have the appealing appearance of light-rail cars but have rubber tires and travel on roads. Trips can be sped up by off-board fare collection at stations along the route. BRT in densely populated areas often uses exclusive lanes. The SR 400 project, planned as part of a $1.8 billion express toll lanes project on SR 400, has BRT sharing the road with automobiles in the toll lanes. The governor… View Article

Governor Announces BRT Funding for SR 400

On June 19, 2018, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced $100 million in General Obligation bonds for Bus Rapid Transit infrastructure, part of the SR 400 Express Lanes project. The plan includes four BRT interchanges as part of a $1.8 billion project for express toll lanes up the highway. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has long promoted BRT as a cost-effective alternative to rail. In the Foundation’s Agenda 2002: Guide to the Issues, for example, the Transportation section noted: Traditional train-type transit can be very effective in the downtown ares of certain cities. London, Paris, Tokyo and New York City fit this description. In these densely pupulated cities, rail-based transit provides a high-capacity, convenient transit solution that makes… View Article
By Dave Emanuel As the hue and cry for expanded public transit in metro Atlanta reaches a crescendo, many options are being discussed, but chatter about extending heavy rail predominates. You have to wonder why. The only thing lacking in the proposals to expand heavy rail is a specification to use steam locomotives. Add that, and you have the perfect 19th-century solution to a 21st-century problem. An outmoded form of transportation at best, heavy rail (defined as rail service elevated, subterranean or otherwise separated from street traffic) is expensive to build, operate and maintain, and inefficient in its use of resources. Consider that a single MARTA passenger car weighs 89,000 pounds and accommodates 64 passengers. Consider, further, that the typical… View Article
By Daniel Sperling and Steven Polzin This commentary is based on, “Three Revolutions: Steering Automated, Shared, and Electric Vehicles to a Better Future,” by Daniel Sperling, published February 2018 (Island Press) Bad news for transit keeps rolling in. Transit ridership declined in 34 of the 40 largest metropolitan areas over the past three years. New York’s subway woes continue, Washington Metro struggles with funding and maintenance and, even in Los Angeles with its massive rail system buildout supported by $120 billion in tax increases over 40 years, ridership is declining. Explanations for declining ridership include low gasoline prices, economic growth, increasing car ownership, immigrants’ fear of using transit, homeless loitering, and safety and security concerns.  While ridership routinely… View Article

Time is On Our Side in Transforming Georgia Transit

By Baruch Feigenbaum The Georgia General Assembly deserves praise for working to improve transit in Georgia. Two bills, one in the House and one in the Senate, focus on the funding and structure of Georgia’s transit systems. Both bills would create a regional board to oversee transit in 13 metro Atlanta counties, allowing the counties to impose sales taxes for transit projects if approved by voters. The regional board would approve the project lists for any county transit referendum but the taxes could only be spent in the county in which they are raised. Metro Atlanta commuters often live and work in different communities, making an oversight board critical. Many regions, including Denver and Washington D.C., have boards that help… View Article

Move Transit Policy in the Right Direction

By Benita M. Dodd When the CEO of the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority resigned last year, he left MARTA in a good place. The agency was in the black. A new 40-year, $2.5 billion transportation sales tax had been passed. Clayton County bus service had been added to the system. Big plans were in the works with the new money: Expand the struggling Streetcar system. Expand heavy rail into Clayton County. Expand rail in the Emory corridor. Expand heavy rail along Georgia 400 to Alpharetta. Add bus rapid transit. Add buses. With the money part in place, now comes the heavy lifting. Keith Parker has moved on, and before the dream became reality. Legislation currently under consideration is intended… View Article
Metro magazine takes a comprehensive look at the game-changing ride-hailing and ride-sharing services, including Lyft and Uber, that are meeting the needs of commuters and reducing operating costs for public transportation. The article by Michaela Kwoka-Coleman, “Mobility-On-Demand: The Future of Transportation,” was posted on December 26, 2017, and can be accessed online here. It examines examples around the nation of how transit agencies are partnering with on-demand services, for first-mile/last-mile transportation, paratransit and carpools.  Public transportation ridership rates have been decreasing for years, and unless transit agencies adapt their service to embrace this innovation, they will lose even more riders. The University of California, Davis Institute of Transportation Studies reported in October that urban ride-hailing passengers decreased… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has been a catalyst for common sense proposals—and elected officials are listening and reacting.

U.S. Senator Bill Frist more quotes