Visions of transit: Atlanta’s transportation crisis and the promises of public transportation

Authors: Marcus Mohall*, Uppsala University
Topics: Urban Geography, Transportation Geography, Political Geography
Keywords: transportation, crisis, transit, Atlanta, mobilities, justice
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Empire Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In cities across the US and beyond, an extraordinary number of residents face significant issues in accessing adequate transportation options to get where they need to go on a daily basis. This paper is concerned with Atlanta’s transportation crisis which manifests itself in the form of highly racialized mobility issues following from a lack of affordable and accessible public transportation, massive traffic congestion and carbon emissions which flow from a widespread dependency on the automobile. The paper focuses on how transit agencies in Atlanta seek to address the transportation crisis in general and the issues transportation disadvantaged residents face in accessing adequate transportation options in particular. Drawing on interviews, analysis of planning documents and archival research, I analyze how and what kind of strategies transit agencies have sought to promote to address Atlanta’s transportation woes and, as these strategies have intersected with social, political and economic factors internal and external to transportation planning, how and to what extent they have ultimately shaped planning. The paper demonstrates that while transit agencies in Atlanta have undertaken significant efforts to improve the level of access for transportation disadvantaged residents, a wide range of factors and processes such as financial crises, racist sentiments towards transit expansion, urban displacement and fiscal conservatism have severely constrained the realization of these efforts. Taken together, the paper highlights the complex interplay of the formation and realization of planning practices aimed towards improving access to public transportation and other social processes taking place concomitantly in the same geo-graphical context.

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