7 Things to Know About the Atlanta Region’s Plan, a 25-year Blueprint for the Region’s Success

The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) board in February approved The Atlanta Region’s Plan, a long-range blueprint that details the investments that will be made in the region during the next 25 years to ensure future success and improve our quality of life.

Students walking on sidewalk

The plan incorporates all of ARC’s program areas – transportation, community development, aging & health services, water resources and workforce development.

The ARC Board adopted a framework for the Atlanta Region’s Plan that focuses on a three-fold vision: providing world-class infrastructure; ensuring the region is comprised of healthy, livable communities; and building a competitive economy.

You can explore the plan at atlantaregionsplan.com. But here are seven things to know:

1. Incorporates Feedback from the Community

ARC engaged a diverse range of community members to get feedback, achieving more than 25,000 interactions including online surveys, a regional telephone poll and stakeholder interviews.

In addition, ARC took steps to better engage Millennials at the regional planning table through the creation of a Millennial Advisory Panel.

2. Accounts for Significant Population Growth in the Atlanta Region

ARC forecasts the Atlanta region will add 2.5 million people by 2040. That’s the equivalent of all of today’s metro Charlotte moving to metro Atlanta.

The Atlanta Region’s Plan takes this growth into account, programming funding for new transportation options and encouraging the development of connected, mixed-use centers and corridors that provide easier access to jobs and services.

3. Invests $85 Billion in Transportation Projects through 2040

That sounds like a lot of money, but nearly two-thirds of the funds will be needed to maintain existing infrastructure – such as paving roads and repairing bridges.

That leaves $28 billion available for expansion projects. Key projects include:

  • Constructing a network of managed toll lanes on area highways, promising better rides for those who ride transit, carpool or pay a toll ($7 billion)
  • Widening and improving arterial roads ($5.8 billion)
  • Building or improving 35 highway interchanges ($3.1 billion)
  • Potentially expanding transit, such as Clayton County, Ga. 400, Clifton Corridor, and I-20 East ($11.9 billion)
Managed toll lane construction

Managed toll lanes are being built on I-75 and I-575 in Cobb and Cherokee counties and I-75 in Henry County. Planned projects include Ga. 400, I-20 West and East and I-285 topside.

4. Meets the Needs of Atlanta’s Fast-Growing Aging Population

Metro Atlanta’s population of older adults is expected to more than double by 2040 as Baby Boomers age and life spans increase. The Atlanta Region’s Plan includes programs and policies to meet this growing need.

As the federally-designated Area Agency on Aging in metro Atlanta, ARC provides comprehensive services, such as in-home support services, transportation and home-delivered meals, to older and disabled adults, such as in-home support services, transportation and home-delivered meals.

ARC’s Aging & Health Strategic Plan, Live Beyond Expectations, is designed to deliver increased support services and provide greater impact, despite a reduction in resources.

And ARC’s Lifelong Communities initiative helps guide efforts at the local level to create communities that enable people to remain in their communities as they age.

5. Creates More Vibrant, Livable Communities

Across the region, residents of all ages and abilities are seeking more walkable communities, greater access to parks and greenspace and better connection to jobs and services. The Atlanta Region’s Plan includes a number of programs and investments to help make our communities better places to live, work and play:

  • ARC’s Livable Centers Initiative program helps fund community planning studies and the construction of transportation projects, such as sidewalks and intersection improvements. The goal: creating compact, mixed-use, walkable communities that help reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled and ease congestion.
  • The TransFormation Alliance, a group that includes ARC and community partners, such as MARTA and Enterprise Community Partners, seeks to promote pedestrian-friendly development near transit stations that includes affordable housing options.
  • The Atlanta Region’s Plan invests $1.8 billion in funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects to help build a regional-scale trail network, community-scale walking and bicycling networks, as well as first- and last-mile connections to transit systems. Learn more in ARC’s bicycle-pedestrian plan.
People running and biking on Cumberland trail

ARC’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan envisions the completion of a regional trail network.

6. Protects Water Supply and Quality

A clean, abundant water supply is vital to the continued prosperity of the Atlanta region. The Atlanta Region’s Plan includes innovative approaches for managing the supply and quality of our water resources to support economic growth, while preserving the region’s natural resources.

Per capita water use in the Atlanta region has dropped by nearly a third since 2000, thanks in part to conservation measures such as incentives for homeowners to install high-efficiency toilets and tiered rate structures that encourage conservation.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, which is staffed by ARC, is integrating strategies for water supply and conservation, wastewater and stormwater to provide a holistic approach designed to provide sustainable, comprehensive solutions to our region’s water needs.

Sidewalk and fountain at Ponce City Market

The Atlanta Region’s Plan encourages the use of innovative methods to manage stormwater runoff, such as those used in Historic Old Fourth Ward Park in the City of Atlanta.

7. Fosters a Strong Economy

Atlanta Region’s Plan features programs and initiatives designed to ensure that metro Atlanta’s economy remains competitive into the future.

Aerotropolis Atlanta seeks to transform the airport area into a world-class economic hub that is attractive to international corporations, logistics companies and others that can benefit from proximity to the world’s busiest airport.

The Atlanta Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy is working to ensure metro Atlanta’s prosperity through four volunteer-led committees: Educated Workforce, Prosperous Businesses, Innovative Economy and Livable Communities.

And the region’s federal Workforce Development programs provide services to ensure that the region’s workforce has the skills, tools and knowledge that employers need in today’s rapidly changing, technology-driven economy.