Earn a Starbucks Gift Card for Participating in a MARTA Breeze Card Survey

May 7, 2014

georgia tech logo small

Do you ride MARTA? Researchers at Georgia Tech are looking for participants for a study about technologies used by MARTA riders and their potential impact on transit ridership. To participate in the study, fill out this short, online survey between now and May 12th.

As compensation for completing the survey, you will receive a $5 Starbucks gift card. Instructions to receive the gift card are on the last page of the survey.   The survey only takes about 5-10 minutes to complete. Survey  questions will inquire upon:

  1. Your use of the MARTA bus and rail system
  2. Your use of smartphones apps related to MARTA
  3. Information about you, for example, your age and ethnicity
  4. Your Breeze Card number, a 16-digit number on the back of your Breeze Card fare media. This number is anonymous and not linked to any personal information.

For more information about the survey, you may contact Georgia Tech PhD Student Candace Brakewood at candace.brakewood@gatech.edu or Professor Kari Watkins at kari.watkins@ce.gatech.edu.

DeKalb Seeks Input on the Draft Comprehensive Transportation Plan Recommendations

April 10, 2014


Draft recommendations for the DeKalb County Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) are now available for public comment. This multi-year effort offers a blueprint for improving the quality of life throughout DeKalb through thoughtful, community-supported transportation infrastructure investment over a 25 year horizon. This study is funded through ARC’s CTP program, which provides funding to help local governments identify transportation needs and solutions through an open, consensus-building planning process. The DeKalb CTP represents the 18th such study completed in the Atlanta region since 2005.

The public is invited to review the draft Comprehensive Transportation Plan and to submit comments during the 30 day comment period which ends on May 9, 2014. All comments should be submitted in writing to transportationplan@dekalbcountyga.gov or by postal mail to the following address:

DeKalb County Transportation Plan
c/o Sycamore Consulting, Inc.
195 Arizona Avenue, Unit LW-4
Atlanta, GA 30307

Click here to access the document or visit http://www.dekalbtransportationplan2014.com. Physical copies of the document can also be reviewed at the following locations:

DeKalb County Government

Board of Commissioners Office (lobby)

1300 Commerce Drive; 5th Floor

Decatur, GA 30030


DeKalb County Public Library

Stonecrest Branch (Reference Desk)

3123 Klondike Road

Lithonia, GA 30038


DeKalb County Public Library

Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Branch (Reference Desk)

5234 LaVista Road

Tucker, GA 30084


DeKalb County Public Library

Dunwoody Branch (Reference Desk)

5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road

Dunwoody, GA 30338


For more information on the project, please visit the project website  or contact the DeKalb County Project Managers, Sylvia A. Smith at sasmith@dekalbcountyga.gov or 404-371-2299; or Patrece G. Keeter, PE at pgkeeter@dekalbcountyga.gov or 770-492-5206.


GDOT Kicks Off Statewide Rail Plan Update

April 4, 2014


The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has begun a major update of the Statewide Rail Plan. This document, last updated in 2009, outlines long-range rail planning priorities in Georgia and  provides comprehensive data about the railroad industry within the state. The plan will enable GDOT to implement a more efficient and effective approach to integrate passenger and freight rail elements into the larger multi-modal transportation framework. It will cover the time period from the present to the year 2040 to better integrate with the Georgia Statewide Transportation Plan (SWTP) and Statewide Strategic Transportation Plan (SSTP).

The Department will conduct extensive outreach to the state’s railroads, shippers, ports, transit agencies, public sector transportation planners, neighboring states’ transportation officials, and the general public. This outreach will help the Department identify potential administrative and regulatory improvements to enhance rail-related economic development benefits to the state. Public input will also be fundamental in establishing the state rail vision and guiding goals, objectives and the proposed projects necessary to realize the established vision and goals.

The first round of public outreach begins in April, with meetings scheduled across the state. A public meeting in Atlanta is scheduled for April 16th at Atlanta Regional Commission Headquarters (40 Courtland Street, Atlanta GA 30303) from 5:00PM to 7:00PM. A formal presentation will begin at 5:30, while staff will be on hand to answer questions and gather feedback. For more information and contact information, please visit GDOT’s State Rail Plan webpage.


Forum to Discuss Strategies for Improving Pedestrian Access to Transit

April 3, 2014


Approach sidewalks, raised islands and bicycle bypass improve safety at this bus stop in Sheffield, England

Approach sidewalk, raised island and bicycle bypass lane all help improve safety to and from this bus stop in Sheffield, England


Since the recent survey data shows that the majority of public transit trips include a walking component, improving the state of pedestrian facilities around stations and bus stops is a key means of supporting existing and potential users of transit services. PEDS, with the support of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Kaiser-Permanente and FHWA, has studied this issue and developed a toolkit to help local governments deliver safer routes to transit. Learn more about these issues at a forum scheduled tonight (April 3rd) at the Decatur Recreation Center from 6:30 to 8:00 PM. For more information about the PEDS safe routes to transit toolkit may be found here.

Public Open House Scheduled for Peachtree Road Projects in Buckhead

April 2, 2014



The Buckhead Community Improvement District (BCID) will host a public open house to gain feedback, present concept drawings, explain the project in detail and seek/answer questions and concerns regarding ongoing work on the Peachtree Road Corridor. All members of the public are encouraged to attend. The project is part of BCID’s Peachtree Transformation initiative, which aims to improve safety and accessibility of this important facility for all users.

The meeting will be held on Thursday (April 3, 2014) from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Peachtree Road United Methodist Church. To learn more about the Peachtree Transformation, please visit the BCID project website.

Help Shape the Future of the Medline Area at Upcoming Charrette

March 25, 2014

The DeKalb County Department of Planning and Sustainability is  partnering with the community to create a shared vision for the Medline area in North Decatur. This LCI study will seek to enhance the area’s long term economic viability, create a safer environment for active transportation and promote easy access to employment opportunities. In order to develop a long term vision for this community, the study team is inviting the public to attend an upcoming interactive design charrette:

Saturday, March 29th

Masala Indian Restaurant in the Patel Plaza

1713 Church Street, Decatur, GA

10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

The charrette will involve a brief five-minute walk to a nearby redevelopment opportunity, so attendees are asked to wear appropriate attire. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided. Space is limited so please RSVP at www.medlinedesigncharrette.eventbrite.com if interested. For more information about the Medline LCI, please visit the project webpage.

Apps by Georgia Tech, MARTA, Improve Transit Experience

March 11, 2014

Georgia Tech assistant professor Kari Watkins

The mobile app OneBusAway, which tracks public transportation in real time, now includes arrival times for MARTA trains in addition to the MARTA buses and Georgia Tech shuttles already featured in the app.

The app pulls GPS data from buses and trains and provides real-time arrival and departure data on users’ smartphones, computers or on large video displays in stores or public areas. The app was integrated into Atlanta’s transit network by Georgia Tech researchers last year. The app’s developers plan to add bus data for Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) Xpress, Cobb Community Transit (CCT), Gwinnett County Transit, the Atlantic Station shuttle, other local university systems and other systems equipped with GPS tracking capabilities.

“This app helps people who want the information before they get to the train station or bus stop,” said Kari Watkins, an assistant professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech. “For bus and shuttle stops where there is no sign for next arrivals this app is the rider’s only source of information.”

OneBusAway is free to download and offers information on transit systems in Atlanta, Seattle and Tampa. The app automatically recognizes which city the user is in, and captures data from the local transit source. The coding for the transit-tracking app was used to develop New York City’s MTA Bus Time.

The app gathers real-time location data by tapping GPS units already installed on buses and trains. Recently, MARTA made their GPS data publicly available so that software developers might use it to build apps and other tools to improve the rider experience. Riders can search OneBusAway for nearby train and bus stops and receive up-to-the-minute arrival and departure information.

MARTA also has a real-time transit-tracking app that provides information exclusively for its bus and train network.

“One of our priorities is improving the overall customer experience through the use of technology,” said Keith T. Parker, MARTA’s CEO. “That’s why we launched the On-the-Go mobile app providing real-time train and bus arrivals. We’re also excited to work with OneBusAway, and the metro Atlanta tech community, in developing solutions that will help retain and attract transit riders.”

OneBusAway’s ability to combine data on multiple transit agencies in the Atlanta region might be one way to attract riders, by helping them transfer more easily between transit systems.

The idea behind the app is to take a lot of the guesswork out of riding public transportation. When riders are still at their desks, at home or in a coffee shop, they can open the app on their smartphone or computer, search for nearby transit options, and know exactly how many minutes they have until the next bus or train arrives.

Someday, Watkins envisions, transit riders will have an app that knows their route to work, what time they want to arrive, and sends alerts if a bus or train is going to be early or late.

“We’re all figuring out how we can optimize what we have and make better use of the space that exists,” Watkins said. “Even those who aren’t environmentally minded recognize the congestion and space issues and are tired of it. We have to make all our modes function better, which includes providing better information.”

Download the free apps for AndroidiPhone and Windows Phone or visit atlanta.onebusaway.org for more information.