After a major study, the Atlanta Regional Commission knows a lot more about who takes transit in the area and why. But the numbers, released Thursday, also beg the question: As the Atlanta region prepares for a referendum on funding regional transportation projects, is there really demand for regional mass transit?
While the ARC does not plan for Athens-Clarke or its surrounding counties (MACORTS does all that), its decisions will certainly affect us, especially as they relate to regional rail and other transit options.
I'm with MARTA CEO Beverly Scott on the crux of the issue:
"Part of the problem you’re looking at now is chicken and an egg," she said. With service that is more frequent, faster, more integrated and more convenient, "[transit ridership] numbers absolutely would go up."In cities that have well-planned networks of user-friendly inter-city rail, intra-city light rail, subways, buses, trolleys, and shuttles, people absolutely use them.
Connect these transit options to walkable, bikeable, and otherwise transit-oriented communities, and you've got yourself a sustainable place worth living in and visiting.