October 28, 2016 10:28 AM
The Atlanta Regional Commission is out with its annual look at the issues that are most important to the region. Metro Atlanta Speaks is a scientific poll measuring area residents opinions on education, transportation, livability, and more.
It’s perhaps not surprising that transportation was thought of as being the biggest issue facing the metro area, followed by crime, the economy, and public education. Looking at the crosstabs, and examining the responses to the other transportation related questions brings up some food for thought that transportation planners and the state legislature can consider moving forwward. While 24.5% of respondents said transportation was the biggest concern, that percentage was higher in Fulton, Cobb, Cherokee and Gwinnett counties (The highest was in Cherokee, with 29.8%.) Southside residents seemed less concerned. Butts, Rockdale, Henry, Clayton, Coweta, and Douglas county residents each had fewer than 20% of residents say transportation was the biggest issue.
43.4% of metro residents felt that expanding public transit was the best solution to fixing transportation problems, followed by 31.7% who want to improve roads and highways. 17.2% believe the adding “live-work” communities would be the best solution. The greatest support for expanded transit was sen in DeKalb, Fayette, and Fulton counties. Support for improved highways was strongest in the outer counties, including Butts, Cherokee, Douglas, Henry and Paulding. Despite widely accepted conventional wisdom that millennials strongly favor transit, 34-59 year olds were the biggest proponents of expanded transit, followed by 50-64 year olds. those aged 18-34 and those over 65 were less in favor of supporting the expansion of public transit than the region as a whole, however those two groups were the most in favor of live-work communities.
Looking at the importance of improving public transportation for the region’s future, 73.5% of those surveyed said it was very important. Residents of Clayton, DeKalb, Fulton, and Henry counties, along with city of Atlanta residents were the most likely to say that improved public transportation was very important. Counties with the highest percentage of those saying it wasn’t important at all to improve public transportation were Coweta, Douglas, Paulding, and surprisingly, Gwinnett. Those 35-49 years old felt improved public transportation was very important, higher than those less than 35 and between 50 and 65 years old.
Over two thirds of those responding disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement “I frequently lack the transportation I need to get to places I need to go.” Yet, a third of those between 18 and 34 years old and those above 65 years old were the most likely to agree or strongly agree with the statement.