With a population of 5,522,942 people, the metropolitan Atlanta region is the 9th largest metro area in the United States. A recent long-range forecast conducted by the Atlanta Regional Commission expects the population to exceed previous forecasts and reach 8 million people by 2040. Significant growth is expected in both existing suburbs and the region’s Buckhead/Midtown/Downtown core.
Atlanta is unique from other large cities in the United States as its size and growth was not significantly constrained by geographical features such as lakes or rivers. The absence of limiting geographical features has greatly contributed to the region’s sprawl, creating transportation challenges throughout the region.
While a robust interstate system and rapid transit system consisting of rail and bus routes serve the region, limitations in the region’s transportation network continue to plague residents. According to a recent poll by the Atlanta Regional Commission:
- 69% of the region considers it “very important” or “important” to have public transit options available where you live.
- 55% of the region has made a choice regarding employment, education, or housing based on access to transit.
- 86% of the region believes connections with a regional transit network are essential for existing/future job centers to grow and be successful.
The 2014 “Metro Atlanta Speaks” poll identified transportation as the biggest problem facing residents in Atlanta, followed by the economy and public education.
Transit is top of mind for individuals across the region, but this has translated to limited action. If metro Atlanta is to remain competitive as a region, it will need to provide residents with a comprehensive and unified transit system capable of moving people conveniently and efficiently throughout the region.