"From 1995 through 2008, public transportation ridership increased by 38%—a growth rate higher than the 14% increase in U.S. population and higher than the 21% growth in the use of the nation’s highways over the same period."

Poking Holes in the WSJ’s Transportation Editorial by Janet Kavinoky Apr 16, 2012

"For the first time in two generations, there has been a significant shift in how many miles Americans are driving each year…America needs to understand these trends when deciding how to focus our future transportation investments, especially when transportation dollars are so scarce."

New Report: Long-Term Drop in How Much People Drive, Youth Desire More Transportation Options

"Right now, four billion of your tax dollars subsidize the oil industry every year. Four billion dollars…As you watch those numbers rise, know that oil company profits have never been higher. Yet somehow, Congress is still giving those same companies another four billion dollars of your money. That’s outrageous. It’s inexcusable. And it has to stop."

— President Obama, Weekly Address

Yet another list to show how bad ATL traffic is

Texas Transportation Institute has released a new list of the top ten most congested highway corridors in the US.

Atlanta highways (sections of 400 and 75) take the top two spots on the list.

As I’ve said before, ranking lists of all varieties are overly popular with the media and are seldom a reliable source of quality info about complex topics. But reliable or not, this is the press that the city of Atlanta is getting on a national level.

The county is learning through these lists that Atlanta continues to have a bad traffic problem — one that poses a threat to both quality of life and productivity. The information is being absorbed by companies and residents considering where to relocated and by entities of all types weighing the decision to invest in ATL.

When it comes time for us to vote for transit alternatives in Atlanta, it’s worth thinking about what kind of signal we want to send to the rest of the US about our priorities and our commitment to progress.

Atlanta business executive points out the need for rail

There’s an interesting article in today’s Atlanta Journal Constitution about the ongoing conflict among regional leaders over funding new transit lines with a regional tax. Most of the article focuses on some bad blood that has developed around the amount of money being marked for Atlanta Beltline transit and a rail line going into Cobb County.

To me, the most important statement in the article comes at the very end. There’s a quote from an executive at Manhattan Associates — a business that is, incidentally, looking to hire about 100 new people — that I’ve copied below:

The transit opposition by Cobb’s local and state leaders is “deeply concerning,” said Joe Howard an executive with Manhattan Associates, a global technology solutions provider with offices in Cobb County.

"The absence of rail is one of Cobb’s greatest unfulfilled needs and puts Cobb and it businesses, at an extreme disadvantage, not only in comparison to our nearest counties, but nationally as well," Howard wrote to Cobb leaders in a letter also shared with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "[Rail access] is a necessity for today’s corporations and a necessity in today’s competitive business environment."

It seems very significant to me to have this call for rail transit from an executive at an (obviously thriving) local office— one that offers much-needed jobs to the area. My guess is that employers in Atlanta are beginning to realize that having an office in an area that offers no alternative to personal-car transportation is limiting their pool of applicants for new hires.

Read the full article here.

A train is moving successfully under this snow

I’ve enjoyed reading all the posts about people having good experiences with MARTA today on this Atlanta Journal Constitution blog. Though the highways and surface streets are dangerous or just plain impassable (I just watched a dude slide backwards on a Peachtree Street hill in his truck), the MARTA train is getting it done. Providing transportation alternatives is a good idea. Putting all your eggs in one asphalt-covered basket is a bad one.

I took the above photo out of my window when the snow started last night. Directly underneath these empty, frozen roads is a smooth-running train.