Editor’s Note — Could tech fix what ails cities? Jonathan Landrum Jr. shows us the future of transportation via news, technology and video.
By Jonathan Landrum Jr. , CNN Written by
No surprise, considering the cost of keeping these rails up and running, given the challenges.
“To keep these guideways running on time, there is a lot of maintenance, there is a lot of labor, there is a lot of planning and forecasting. There is a lot of time spent on ways of effectively keeping these elevated guideways safe for both pedestrians and bicyclists to travel and (the) disabled, of course,” says Greene.
Downtown Atlanta is one of the busiest transportation hubs in the US. There are more than 7 million daily trips, according to Greene.
Despite the challenging history, however, construction of the lines on the northeast corridor is nearly complete.
According to Greene, the $2.37 billion project will encourage more people to make public transit a part of their daily lives. More than 16,000 people use public transit on the northwest corridor in the area around Peachtree and Piedmont Fulton. That number jumps to 34,000 on the Northeast Corridor, according to Greene.
“We really hope that this will provide a unique opportunity for people to have a commute that is significantly less expensive, provided they have a car,” says Greene.
“A car is usually a very expensive proposition for households with an income in the lower 30% of the income distribution. With more public transit options, more of our low-income residents will be able to participate more in the daily life of Atlanta — the economy, the cultural life and, most importantly, the health of our city.”
While the new lines will reduce the number of trips on highways, there are concerns that not enough people will use the new systems.
“The Southeast is home to plenty of high-speed rail ideas and promises to unleash the potential of transformative transportation,” notes Charles Bowser, director of the Regional Transportation Center at Georgia Tech.
“Some people want to see public transportation systems providing low-cost options for mass transit users in conjunction with highway expansion, without seeming to subsidize or at least dilute the effects of highway development. … Instead, why not go the way of building massive low-cost, high-capacity bus transit systems with smart use of public transportation?”