Focus Area 6: Transportation


Emissions from transportation are evident to nearly everyone in the City of Atlanta. Besides emitting greenhouse gases, transportation that uses fossil fuels also produces a host of criteria air pollutants when combusted, reducing local air quality and affecting our health. Transportation accounts for 31% of City of Atlanta’s total GHG emissions. This chapter focuses on programs and policies to reduce emissions from transportation and includes design-oriented approaches as well as expansion of alternate modes such as walking, biking, or public transportation to and from the most common destinations in the city.

Objectives Reduction


Reduce emissions from transportation by 20% from 2009 baseline by 2020 high-impact
Strategies Supporting Actions Supports Adaptation Community/Government Reduction Potential
TR1 -Reduce Emissions from VMT A. Fuel Economy Standards

B. Promote AFV purchasing

C. Provide a reliable AFV infrastructure

Y Government high-impact
TR-2 Reduce VMT A. Atlanta BeltLine and other Transit Oriented Development (TODs)

B. Parking  Pricing

C. Parking Cash-Out

D. Pedestrian Facilities

E. Transit Investment

F. Bicycle Support Strategy

G. Telecommuting

H. Compressed work weeks

Y Community/Government high-impact
TR 1-Reduce Emissions from VMT high-impact
Reduce emissions from vehicles traveling through the Atlanta area by following national and regional regulations on fuel economy standards and promoting the purchase and use of Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV) by providing economic incentives and an adequate infrastructure.
TR 1-A Fuel Economy Standards moderate
The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) is a federal regulation enacted to improve the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks sold in the USA. CAFE standards will require an increase in the efficiency of vehicles of 25% by 2020.
TR 1-B Promote AFV purchasing moderate
Atlanta is one of the largest national markets for Electric Vehicles sales thanks to economic and transportation incentives provided previously by the State such as a $5,000 tax credit for the purchase of a new Zero Emissions Vehicle and access to HOV lanes.

State legislators terminated these incentives in 2015.

The City of Atlanta is monitoring closely how this termination will affect the EV market and based on the results, it will initiate conversations with State legislators to reinstall these incentives to encourage more drivers to purchase and drive zero emission vehicles.

TR 1-C Provide a reliable AFV infrastructure moderate
The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority offers rebates up to $40,000 to organizations interested in installing EV charging stations in the state. The city should continue the promotion of these types of incentives to ensure that users have adequate access to an AFV charging infrastructure.
TR 2-Reduce VMT Miles high-impact
VMT in Atlanta has been increasing during the past decade from 5,663 million VMT in 2010 to an expected 6,122 million VMT by 2015; however, an urbanization trend is emerging across the country as young educated professionals are moving back to urban centers that offer walkability, proximity to work, and cultural density (; ).

Achievable strategies to reduce VMT in Atlanta are classified in: Land use (such as the Atlanta BeltLine and other TODs), parking management strategies (such as mandatory parking cash-out), alternative modes (such as bicycle infrastructure), , and other (such as telecommuting and compressed work weeks).

The Atlanta Regional Commission is currently doing a study on the emissions benefits of parking strategies with EPA. Results of the study will be available by September, 2015.

TR 2-A Atlanta BeltLine and other Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) moderate
TOD is a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use community infrastructure that provides access to public transportation for residents and workers. TODs provide people with options so they can choose where to live, work, play, and socialize. The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), in partnership with MARTA, is working to promote TOD at each MARTA station to ensure that these transit stations will have the necessary infrastructure and land uses to support planned and future TODs.

MARTA will be moving forward to partner with private developers to implement its 2015 Transit Oriented Development (TOD) strategy at Brookhaven, King Memorial, Avondale Estates and Oakland City stations.

An important strategy to develop TOD projects is to alter zoning in the city, when it is necessary, to support more mixed land use (to improve jobs-housing balance and shorten trip distances)

The Atlanta BeltLine is a TOD that is transforming the city with a combination of rail, trail, greenspace, housing and art. It will ultimately connect 45 intown neighborhoods, provide first and last mile connectivity for regional transportation initiatives, and put Atlanta on a path to 21st century economic growth and sustainability. The beauty of the Atlanta BeltLine is that it offers not only modern conveyances and exciting new development, but it is a living, breathing part of our community; not simply a means of getting somewhere, but a destination unto itself. It offers a chance for Atlanta to redefine what it is to be a neighbor, to be a community, to be a region, and to share all that it has to offer (



TR 2-B Parking Pricing early
Parking pricing includes increasing fees at municipal facilities or adding parking meters to previously free on-street spaces. Taxing private-parking operators can also raise the prices of parking in the region. Case studies have shown significant decrease in vehicles usage in the range of 26 to 81 percent ( )


TR 2-C Parking Cash-out early
 A mandatory parking cash-out policy would require employers who provide subsidized parking to also offer their employees the opt of receiving taxable income instead of parking. By having this alternative, employees may option to receive the taxable income instead of parking. Cash-out policies may result in significant reductions in VMT such as the case of Los Angeles Central Business District. A regional example of parking cash-out is taking place in Athens, GA:


TR 2-D Pedestrian Facilities early
Pedestrian-oriented measures can have an immediate effect in encouraging pedestrian activities and reducing VMT.

Connect Atlanta, the city’s first Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP), includes guidelines for the location and design of sidewalks and other pedestrian amenities in new developments. There will also be guidelines for developed areas that reflect current land use and proximity to community facilities

TR 2-E Transit Investment early
Connect Atlanta includes ninety-five (95) miles of rail transit and high-frequency bus transit. It also includes existing proposals to extend MARTA’s West rail line to I-285, to construct a Bus Rapid Transit line from the HE Holmes station to Fulton Industrial Boulevard, and to implement the planned BeltLine transit facility and the Peachtree Street Streetcar. In addition the study team is proposing high-frequency bus service, streetcar and light rail lines in several other major corridors in the city.

TR 2-F Bicycle support strategies early
Connect Atlanta, the city’s first Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP), includes 200 miles of bicycle lanes. A core set of bicycle lanes is proposed that will link key travel corridors to activity centers; a secondary set of bike lanes will link neighborhoods. The bicycle network will be developed by restriping existing streets and by creating bike lanes as part of new construction and street widening.

TR 2-G Telecommuting early
Despite some countervailing effects, such as exacerbating trends toward increased geographical dispersion of residents, the US DOE suggests that the net benefits of telecommuting are positive. Some additional positive effects of telecommuting are employee effectiveness and productivity, higher morale and job satisfaction, decreased absenteeism and sick time, and decreased overhead costs such as office space.
TR 2-H Compressed Work Hours early
This program allows individuals to work more hours per day and fewer days per week. For example, working 10 hours during 4 days a week. This program can be as effective as telecommuting because workers can reduce their emissions by reducing their round-trips to work.

Cross Reference Table between CAP Initiatives and ARC Transportation Study*


Olivares, E. (2010). Taking the Temperature: Transportation Impacts on Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Atlanta Region. Atlanta Regional Commission.

Questions? e-mail Jairo H Garcia, Sustainability Management Analyst at jhgarcia@AtlantaGa.Gov