Transportation is Region’s Top Concern, Metro Atlanta Speaks Survey Shows

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Transportation remains the region’s top concern, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission’s third Metro Atlanta Speaks public opinion poll, which was released last week during the agency’s State of the Region breakfast.

According to the survey, 27 percent of respondents said transportation was the biggest problem facing the Atlanta region – the second straight year that transportation topped the region’s list of concerns. The economy, which was the second-most pressing issue last year, dropped to third as the region continued its recovery from the Great Recession. Crime replaced the economy in the number two slot.

Other key findings from this year’s poll include:

  • Support for public transit is strong, with 91 percent of respondents saying improving public transit is “very important” or “somewhat important” to metro Atlanta’s future.

  • 44 percent of respondents believe expanding public transit is the best long-term solution to the region’s traffic problems, while 31 percent preferred improving roads and highways.

  • Metro Atlanta residents are generally upbeat about where they live, with 67 percent of respondents rating the region as a good or excellent place to live and 76 percent rating their neighborhoods as good or excellent places to live.

  • Respondents had mixed feelings about the public education system. Of those surveyed, 53 percent rated public education in their local district as good or excellent, compared to 34 percent who said public education in the region was good or excellent.

  • Metro Atlanta residents are growing more optimistic. Just 14 percent of respondents said they expect things to get worse in the next 3-4 years, compared to 31 percent in 2013.

“This survey helps ARC and other decision-makers better understand this complex, fast-growing region,” said Doug Hooker, ARC executive director. “More broadly, Metro Atlanta Speaks will become an even more potent tool over time, as we’ll be able to track how the region’s views change on key topics.”

The 2015 survey, conducted by Kennesaw State University’s A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research, asked 26 questions of 5,029 residents across 13 counties about key quality-of-life issues such as transportation, education, the economy, the arts and aging. The survey is statistically valid to county levels and has a 13-county margin of error of 1.7 percent.

Several new questions were added to this year’s survey, thanks to a new partnership between ARC and United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta. Results from these questions included: 64 percent of respondents said they had attended a religious service in the past year, while 44 percent had volunteered to work a community event in the past year.
Supporters of the 2015 Metro Atlanta Speaks survey are the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, The Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, MARTA, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the North Fulton Community Improvement District and Invest Atlanta.

The full report includes county level results.