Healthy Livable Communities

Improve Public Health

Improve Public Health2016-10-12T12:49:18+00:00


Improve Public Health through the Built Environment

The design of communities can impact health. For example, access to parks and greenspace improve air quality and promote exercise. The Atlanta Region’s Plan policies seek to better integrate public health impacts into the planning process through public safety, encouraging walking and bicycling, identifying opportunities for local food production and planning for the expansion of green infrastructure.



ARC’s Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) is a grant program that incentivizes local jurisdictions to re-envision their communities in a way that increases walking and biking options, encourages healthy lifestyles and provides improved access to transit and jobs. The goal: to reduce car trips and improve air quality in the region.

Since the LCI program began in 2000, the vehicle miles traveled per capita each day has dropped 13 percent, from 32.1 miles to 28 miles. Since 2000, LCI has helped fund $8.2 million in planning studies and provided $172 million for transportation projects, including sidewalks, bike lanes and roadway and intersection improvements.

people walking on sidewalk by roundabout in Emory Village

An LCI study helped fund a roundabout and new streetscapes in Emory Village. Today, it’s a less congested, safer area, bustling with shops and restaurants

PLAN IN ACTION: Douglasville Growing Healthier

Downtown Douglasville

Downtown Douglasville

The city of Douglasville received its first LCI grant in 2001. Since then, the city has steadily implemented its plan with an eye toward creating a more walkable downtown – and providing healthier lifestyle options for Douglasville residents.

The city’s has built sidewalks and made other pedestrian-related improvements. But the city also realized that residents needed interesting places to walk to if the Douglasville was to build a pedestrian culture. With business and redevelopment partners, the city built a conference center, reconfigured Highway 92, and redeveloped several downtown properties, most recently turning an historic car dealership into a co-working space called the Station Loft Works.

By the Numbers

13 percent

Amount per capita vehicle miles traveled each day has dropped since LCI was created in 2000.

51 percent

…reduction in carbon dioxide automobile emissions per household in LCI areas compared to non-LCI areas

… of household income spent on transportation in walkable areas, compared to 19% for the average household and 25% in auto-dependent areas



The Atlanta region’s Community Improvement Districts (CID) have made significant investments to make their communities more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly. Projects include bike lanes, wide sidewalks separated from travel lanes by buffers, improved crosswalks, multi-use paths, pedestrian plazas, lighting, and covered transit pavilions.

Most of the region’s major employment centers are covered by CIDs, including Midtown Atlanta, Downtown Atlanta, the Perimeter Center, Cumberland, North Fulton and Town Center. Many CIDs have received grants from ARC’s Livable Centers Initiative (see above) to help turn their visions into reality. CIDs are self-taxing districts that raise additional property from participating businesses to pay for transportation and infrastructure projects.

car driving on road with sidewalks in the Perimeter Community Improvement District

The Perimeter Community Improvement Districts in Fulton and DeKalb counties have built a pedestrian-friendly network of sidewalks that features improved crossings and enhanced signage.



Bicycling and walking provide healthy ways of getting around metro Atlanta. ARC is currently working on an update to its Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan that envisions the completion of a regional trail network that will link many existing trails. The goal is to create active communities where bicycling and walking are safe, healthy, fun, and normal daily activities, as well as to connect nearby housing to job centers.

The Atlanta Region’s Plan includes funding for the completion of this network as well as for other regionally significant pedestrian, bicycle, trail and transit-access projects. Overall funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is projected to be $1.5 billion through 2040.

Bikers on trail

ARC’s new bicycle and pedestrian plan, which is under development, promote the creation of a regional network of multi-use trails.

By the Numbers

40 percent

of communities have a complete streets policy requiring pedestrian and bicycle facilities with all new road construction or reconstruction

have a comprehensive, connected and well-maintained pedestrian network

have implemented a Safe Routes to School program

 It is the policy of ARC to:

  • Integrate public health into initiatives, programs and investment priorities
  • Identify opportunities for local food production, access to healthy food options and nutrition education
  • Support regional greenspace networks, which may include green
    infrastructure, to foster improved conservation and recreation spaces
  • Promote public safety efforts to create vibrant 24-hour communities