Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Appoints Commissioner to Lead Newly Created Atlanta Department of Transportation

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the appointment of Josh Rowan to lead Atlanta’s newly formed Department of Transportation (ATLDOT). Josh Rowan is currently General Manager for the City of Atlanta’s Renew | TSPLOST Programs and has more than 24 years of experience delivering capital construction programs. He will lead the agency created this year by the Bottoms Administration to significantly accelerate and diversify the projects that the City delivers for residents—including better options for getting around Atlanta safely, affordably and equitably, and delivering on a key pillar of Mayor Bottoms’ One Atlanta agenda.

“Creating this Department gives Atlanta the transportation leadership it needs in our rapidly growing region,” said Mayor Bottoms. “Josh Rowan will lead this new agency as we work to improve mobility in every neighborhood. Historically, we have had three departments working in silos from their own plans. Today, we have one team and one plan focused on building streets that safely serve every Atlantan, no matter how they choose to get around.”

The Department of Transportation was officially legislated in June 2019, delivering on a goal of the Bottoms Administration and efforts by Councilmember Andre Dickens, who sponsored legislation to study the creation of a Department of Transportation.

"I want to thank Mayor Bottoms for allowing me this opportunity to serve the people of Atlanta in this capacity,” said newly appointed Department of Transportation Commissioner Josh Rowan. “I've been building roads and implementing transportation policy for nearly 25 years in the region and I look forward to helping plan for Atlanta and the region's mobility future."

The new agency will manage a range of transportation improvements—from roadway repair and maintenance to sidewalk and bike lane construction to upgrading streetlights and traffic signals. ATLDOT’s mission is to make streets more accessible to people of every age, background, and ability. Combining multiple functions into a central unit with a common vision will enable the new agency to streamline its funding and project delivery pipelines, and to ensure that all roadway projects meet Atlanta’s long-term economic and mobility goals.

“Strong cities have strong transportation systems and strong transportation leaders,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, transportation principal with Bloomberg Associates, which collaborated with Mayor Bottoms on recruiting a transportation commissioner and developing the strategic plan. “Josh brings the vision that Atlanta needs and also the proven ability to turn big ideas into results that people will be able to see on the streets in every neighborhood.”

With this announcement, the Administration has also released Atlanta’s first ever strategic transportation plan calling for a Vision Zero policy to eliminate traffic deaths, expanding transit and creating more options for people to get around without a car—all while improving road repair and delivering city services more equitably.

The Bottoms Administration’s One Atlanta: Strategic Transportation Plan focuses on the first three years of the new agency, translating the Mayor’s platform to transportation deliverables. The document includes 27 goals for ATLDOT that outline a roadmap of outcomes for the agency’s first year and by the end of 2022.

Key goals include:

Adopting a Vision Zero policy and designating strategies, policies and resources to deliver projects to eliminate traffic deaths;

Making it easier to get around without a car by making it safer to ride a bike by tripling protected bike lanes and piloting new protections on the street;

Making it easier to walk by increasing sidewalks and crossings citywide;

Improving city roads by resurfacing 200 miles of roads annually and accelerating pothole repair efforts;

Reducing the footprint of parking in Atlanta and implementing new parking strategies; 

Working with MARTA to increase bus service and connecting neighborhoods with transit stops and hubs, and establish a high-frequency bus network to increase the number of Atlantans who live and work within a 15-minute walk of frequent transit; and 

Implementing more reliable bus service with transit signal priority for buses and real-time bus arrival information and other enhancement at bus stops.