Smart growth means less time stuck in traffic and more time to enjoy family, friends, and fun things to do.

Our vision for metro Atlanta is a region filled with vital neighborhoods that blend residences, shops, offices and other workplaces, parks, and entertainment with easy access to public transportation and an interconnected network of sidewalks and bike routes. Easier access to daily needs and a wide choice of ways to get around offset traffic congestion.
There are three keys to making this vision real.
  1. First, put dense development where it makes the most sense – near job and activity centers, essential services, and major transportation corridors, especially transit corridors.
  2. Second, tie transportation investments to land use. Build dense developments where it makes sense, and then make it a priority to spend transportation dollars to serve such developments.
  3. Third, offer residents a choice of ways to get around inside their neighborhoods, between neighborhoods, and between home and work.
Other smart growth rules of thumb for linking transportation and development include:
  • Serve neighborhoods with complete streets – streets that make walking, cycling and riding transit an attractive alternative to driving.
  • Connect streets to connect neighborhoods. Streets that connect like the grids common in traditional neighborhoods give drivers a choice of routes to take, making it easier to dodge bottlenecks and traffic tie-ups.
  • Invest in transit (public transportation). It’s estimated metro Atlanta will add 2 million new residents between 2000 and 2025. Roads alone won’t serve everyone.
  • Offer a smart mix of transit serving urban, suburban, and even exurban needs. A regionwide mix of transit will include local bus service, express bus service, bus rapid transit, light rail (such as Atlanta’s BeltLine), heavy rail (MARTA), and commuter rail.
  • Offer more residents the option of finding good, affordable housing close to essential services and with easy access to jobs close by and transit that can take them to jobs farther away. (Close proximity to services is essential because it’s estimated that nearly three in four car trips are for non-work purposes.)

Density  Transportation  Housing   Greenfields  Environment

Further Reading
For more discussion, link to Surface Transportation Policy and the transportation section on Smart Growth America.

A case study that contrasts Atlanta with transit-progressive Portland, Oregon, is A Tale of Two Cities: Portland, Oregon and Atlanta, Georgia, by Professor Arthur C. Nelson of the Georgia Institute of Technology.