Regional Transportation Planning
As the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for metro Atlanta, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is responsible for developing and updating the Atlanta Region’s Plan, the region’s comprehensive, long-range plan. This comprehensive plan encompasses a range of elements and programs that are updated on various cycles.
The Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) is the transportation element of the comprehensive regional plan and is updated every four years. The RTP is a long-range blueprint that prioritizes spending on transportation projects in the 20-county Atlanta region. Transportation projects seeking federal funding must be included in the RTP, along with any projects that might impact air quality.
In addition, the ARC is responsible for developing and updating the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), which is the short-term portion of the RTP, covering a six-year period. The TIP allocates federal funds for the region’s highest-priority transportation projects. Projects included in the TIP must be fully funded.
Regional Transit Planning
The Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority (ATL) was created by the Georgia General Assembly in 2018 and is responsible for coordinated transit planning and funding for the metro Atlanta region.
The ATL is responsible for developing and updating long-range (20-year) and short-range (six-year) regional transit plans, which will be incorporated into the ARC’s Regional Transportation Plan. The Regional Transit Plan contains a list of transit projects that are prioritized to maximize available funding for the region. The ATL Board may select and recommend projects from this plan to the state for potential state bond funding each year.
The ATL’s Program Of Projects (POP) illustrates how local agencies anticipate using FTA’s formula grant funds (5307, 5337, and 5339) allocated to the Atlanta metro region. The ATL informs each agency of the amount of funds they will receive from the allocation. The projects and corresponding funding amounts are programmed in ARC’s TIP.
Statewide Transportation Planning and Studies
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is responsible for developing and updating a long-range Statewide Transportation Plan (SWTP) that outlines general investment policies over a minimum 20-year plan horizon and a short-range transportation investment plan (Statewide Strategic Transportation Plan) that identifies specific investment strategies to advance economic growth in the State. This short-range plan is updated every two years and includes ongoing monitoring of key strategies through an annual performance-monitoring progress report. GDOT has combined these plans into one document (SWTP/SSTP) which is updated regularly.
In addition, GDOT is responsible for developing and updating the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), which is Georgia’s four-year transportation and capital improvements program. The STIP lists federally-funded transportation projects that are located outside the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) boundaries. Each MPO develops its own Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The TIPs are included in the STIP by reference without modification once approved by the MPO and the Governor, or his designee. Projects include highway, bridge, public transit, bike, pedestrian, railroad, and other improvements.
Finally, GDOT conducts studies as needed to identify and address transportation needs throughout the state.
Statewide Transit Planning
GDOT is responsible for developing and updating the Georgia Statewide Transit Plan (SWTRP). The purpose of the SWTRP is to coordinate with local governments, planning agencies, and transit providers to document transit needs across the state and prioritize future investments. GDOT incorporates existing local and regional transit plans into this statewide transit plan.