Improve Transit & Non-Single Occupant Vehicle Options

More than two-thirds of Metro Atlanta Speaks regional survey respondents said that improved public transportation is very important for the future. Transit provides people with travel options, serves as the main source of transportation for thousands of residents, helps mitigate congestion and improves air quality. The Atlanta Region’s Plan policies prioritize transit expansion projects in areas with transit-supportive land use and regulations to ensure implementation of transit in the region.



Transit services – including bus, rail and streetcar – provide environmentally sustainable transportation options with reliable travel times that help people access jobs and essential services. Transit plays an important role in attracting economic development, with a growing number of employers choosing to locate offices near major transit stations.

The Atlanta Region’s Plan commits $11.4 billion for transit expansion projects. Most of these projects are programmed in the later years of The Atlanta Region’s Plan’s 20 plus planning horizon. The timing could be accelerated if additional local funding sources are found, such as a dedicated sales tax for transit. The cost to implement these projects would also be reduced considerably as a result.

Key Transit Expansion Projects

Details: MARTA Red Line Extension along Ga. 400 to Holcomb Bridge Road

Cost (Phase 1): $1.29 billion*

Cost (Phase 2): $1.09 billion*

* If constructed today

Details: Light rail service connecting Lindbergh Center and Avondale MARTA stations, serving Emory University and the Clifton Corridor area that includes the Centers for Disease Control.

Cost (Phase 1): $1.74 billion*

Cost (Phase 2): $656 million*

* If constructed today

Details: MARTA Blue Line extension from Indian Creek rail station along I-285 and I-20 to Stonecrest Mall area; bus rapid transit from Five Points station to Stonecrest Mall area.

Cost (Phase 1): $1.46 billion*

Cost (Phase 2): $1.35 billion*

* If constructed today

Details: High-frequency commuter rail service from East Pont MARTA station to Jonesboro. Concept is preliminary.

Cost: $415 million*

* If constructed today

Details:Bus rapid transit service connecting Town Center, Cumberland and Midtown Atlanta via dedicated busway on US-41 corridor.

To proceed, this project would require official action by the Cobb Board of Commissioners. The county also passed a resolution requiring that a referendum of Cobb voters.

Cost: $491 million*

* If constructed today

Details: Expansion of the city of Atlanta’s streetcar network and the construction of light rail on the Atlanta BeltLine.

Cost: $1.32 billion*

* If constructed today

Map - Potential Transit Projects through 2040 - Click to enlarge
Map - Beltline / Streetcar Projects - Click to enlarge

EXAMPLE: MARTA Expansion in Clayton County

Marta bus

MARTA buses are now running in Clayton County after county voters in 2014 approved a 1-cent sales tax to bring MARTA service to the area. The tax revenue may one day bring high-capacity transit to Clayton. MARTA is exploring building commuter rail line from Jonesboro to the East Point MARTA rail station, at a cost of $415 million, if constructed today. The concept is preliminary.

2015 Metro Atlanta Speaks Survey



The Atlanta Region’s Plan includes the construction of a network of managed toll lanes on key highway corridors. Transit vehicles, such as GRTA’s regional Xpress buses, will be able to use these new lanes, offering faster and more reliable commutes. The purpose of toll lanes is to offer a congestion-free alternative for people willing to carpool, ride a bus, or pay a toll.

Express buses breeze by traffic using I-85 Express Toll Lanes

GRTA Express buses breeze past traffic using I-85 Express Toll Lanes

Managed Toll Lane Projects in Metro Atlanta

The Atlanta Region’s Plan allocates $10.1 billion through the year 2040 to build, operate, maintain and pay debt service on the express lane network. Debt service on some projects will continue beyond the horizon year of this plan. Currently, approximately 69 miles of freeway lanes have managed lanes (including the untolled high occupancy vehicles lanes inside I-285), with another 39 miles under construction. The plan will add another 100 miles of freeway corridors within the region to the network.

I-85 North (DeKalb and Gwinnett counties)

  • Length: 16 miles
  • Toll: Variable, minimum $0.16 and maximum $13.95 (entire length)
  • Usage: 24,000+ vehicles per day

I-75 South (Henry County)

  • Length: 12 miles
  • Toll: Variable; minimum $0.50 and maximum $10.80 (entire length)
  • Usage: 7,000+ vehicles per day

Northwest Corridor (I-75 & I-575, Cobb & Cherokee counties)

  • Length: 30 miles
  • Cost: $834 million
  • Completion: Summery 2018

I-85 North Extension (Gwinnett County)

  • Length: 10 miles
  • Cost: $178 million
  • Completion: Summer 2018
  • Ga. 400
  • I-285 – West, North and East
  • I-20 West
  • I-20 East
  • I-85 North (additional lanes)
  • I-75 South (gap closure)
Plan Details
ARC Managed Lanes thumb



The Georgia Department of Transportation in a joint effort with ARC’s Mobility Services Division operate the Georgia Commute Options program in the Atlanta region, a program designed to increase the use of alternative commute options, including:

  • Carpooling
  • Vanpooling
  • Biking and walking
  • Teleworking
  • Flexible work schedules

The Georgia Commute Options program helps employers establish and operate commute option programs for their employees. The program includes measures that make it easier for solo car commuters to make a change, such as guaranteeing up to five free rides home from work per year if an unexpected event occurs.

Georgia Commute Options logo

By the Numbers

29 million

Reduction in vehicle miles traveled by metro Atlanta participants in the Commute Options program (2014)

17.7 million

Savings in fuel and vehicle maintenance costs by metro Atlanta participants in the Commute Options program (2014)


Number of people participating in Commute Options program (2014)



Bicycling and walking are critical transportation modes throughout the Atlanta region, and not just for short trips. When combined with public transit, walking or biking provides a viable option for many longer trips.

The 2015 Atlanta Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan, Walk, Bike, Thrive!, envisions the completion of a regional-scale trail network, community scale walking and bicycling networks, and first- and last-mile connections to regional transit systems.

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 $1.8 billion through 2040.

The 2015 Atlanta Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan includes the following strategies to increase the share of trips made on foot or by bike:

These are areas where the built environment already supports walking and biking for short trips to some extent. These are generally places with a variety of destinations such as parks, schools, and commercial areas; a connected street grid; transit service; and a mix of housing types. These areas include the region’s existing and emerging WalkUPs, Livable Centers Initiative areas, CIDs and activity centers.
ARC will work closely with transit providers to improve access to transit stops and improve the quality and quantity of transit service between “mode shift opportunity zones” so that walking and bicycling can be easily combined with transit for longer regional trips.
ARC will adopt a strategy of “relentless incrementalism” to identify barriers to walking and biking in these areas and work to address them as opportunities arise.
ARC will pursue the creation of a regional trail system in partnership with state and local government agencies and non-profit organizations that are focused on trails, such as PATH Foundation. Importantly, some parts of the region that are not particularly conducive to walking or biking also have urgent safety and equity needs that ARC can help address immediately. These improvements should focus on decreasing pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and serious injuries as well as providing sidewalks and bikeways for populations that rely on walking and biking.
Plan Details
Projected bike lane along 10th st. in Atlanta

The Atlanta Region’s Plan supports the development of bicycle infrastructure projects, such as this protected bike lane along 10th St. in Atlanta.

Map - Regional Trail System Concept

ARC’s Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan envisions linking many existing trails to create a regional trail network.

By the Numbers

42 percent

…of people work within a 5-minute bike ride of an existing trail.

33 percent

…of people live within a 5-minute bike ride of a transit stop.

5 percent

…percent of all trips in the Atlanta region are made by bicycling or walking.

 It is the policy of ARC to:

  • Establish effective transit services that provide regional accessibility
  • Prioritize transit projects in areas with transit-supportive land use, plans and regulations
  • Promote bicycle transportation by developing safe and connected route options and facilities
  • Promote pedestrian-friendly policies and design
  • Enhance and expand Transportation Demand Management (TDM) programs