Survey: Traffic Still Top Anxiety For Atlanta Residents

Transportation was ranked the top concern for 24.5 percent of residents the Atlanta Regional Commission surveyed in the 13 county Atlanta area.
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE
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Here’s a huge surprise: traffic is still the top concern for metro Atlanta residents.

In an annual survey by the Atlanta Regional Commission, transportation was the top concern for the third year in a row. 

In Atlanta, even the rapper Ludacris has trouble getting to his concerts on time.

But Ludacris isn’t the only one complaining.

The Atlanta Regional Commission’s Mike Carnathan said 24.5 percent of residents it surveyed in the 13 county Atlanta area said transportation was their top anxiety. 

This was followed by crime, the economy and public schools.

The survey polled 5,416 people and 43.4 percent said expanding public transit was the best way to “fix traffic”.

Traffic Solutions

The Atlanta Regional Commission predicts the Atlanta area will grow by 2.5 million people by 2040. 

“Traffic is not going to go away,” said Georgia State University professor Joseph Hacker, who teaches urban and regional planning. “As you start adding more and more people, more and more jobs, and you have land uses that require you to take a car for anything you do, you’re going to have congestion.”

Part of the problem is a comprehensive public transit network other large cities have. Hacker said the best solution is changing land use practices.

“You can’t build out of it. Transit won’t solve it. You would have to change the land use so that the jobs, the activities and the residents are closer together so that something other than a car is necessary,” Hacker said.

He said building more dense communities in metro Atlanta would make public transit expansion more viable and make cities better candidates for federal funds to expand light rail.

MARTA, which is trying to get support for half-penny sales tax to expand its system in Atlanta, was one of the sponsors of the survey this year.

Atlanta and Fulton County voters will also decide on a $0.75 sales tax (also called a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax or T-SPLOST) for improving roads and bridges.

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