Dear Atlanta: Your Transit Bites

In an article from the Times of India (H/T to my buddy Sayan for this) they sum up a new research report about Transit around the world. The study was done by the International Association of Public Transport, and they ranked the various public transit systems in cities around the world. The best part is the International City of Atlanta made the list.

The top three best were Hong Kong, Stockholm, and Amsterdam. Though I think the results on Stockholm may be a little skewed because of the tram that serves beer.

The bottom three were Baghdad, Hanoi, and Atlanta. That’s right, Atlanta rates behind Baghdad. A city that has essentially been a warzone for the last decade.

Various leadership in Atlanta pride it being an “International City” and how competitive Atlanta is with the rest of the world. Well compared to the rest of the world, we aren’t particularly competitive for transit options. We don’t need to beat Stockholm, though beer on MARTA would be cool, can we at least move ahead of Baghdad?


  1. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    Atlanta ranked #84 out of 84 cities ranked around the world?…

    …How did Atlanta rank so high? Atlanta hasn’t ranked as high as #85 in a transit survey in years.

    Last I heard, Atlanta was ranked about #93 (and falling) out of 100 U.S. cities from what I recall.

    So one could conceivably see being ranked amongst the world’s top 84 cities on an international transit list as a sign of improvement.

  2. atlurbanist says:

    Technically this is a rating of the cities’ overall “mobility maturity and performance” (from the Arthur D. Little website) and not just of public transit systems, though those are part of the criteria.

    Also from the website: “North American cities rank bottom worldwide in terms of maturity. In terms of performance, they perform above average overall, but show poor results with regard to number of cars per capita and CO2 emissions.”

    So emissions are part of the criteria as well. But yeah, Atlanta ranks really low on this index.

  3. WesleyC says:

    The refusal of state lawmakers or suburban counties to do anything other than undermine transit-oriented solutions definitely has nothing to do with it.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      The state hasn’t exactly been lightin’ it up when it comes to the road network, either.

  4. AlpharettaGuy says:

    Marta is not consumer driven, and that is why it fails. If it cared about its customers and getting more customers it would do things differently. This is why it fails.

    If a consumer could have a map based App on their smart phone that would show the location of all MARTA buses and trains and an expected arrival and departure time for particular stops, consumers would spend less hours waiting for a bus. Consumers would be better able to time when they get to the bus stop. In the time not spent waiting at the bus stop, the consumers could be working, shopping, or enjoying it on activities other than just waiting. Consumers would have less stress because if a bus is late, they could at least see how late it is going to be.

    Frequent MARTA users likely know the details of their particular bus route. But, infrequently MARTA consumers do not. A map based smart phone App would allow all those infrequent MARTA consumers to use MARTA more.

    Considering that during non-rush hour periods, the average MARTA bus only has 4 to 5 passengers (and is being operated at a loss), MARTA needs to become consumer driven to get additional consumers to fill up the unused capacity.

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