MARTA Board Advances Bus Rapid Transit in the Campbellton Community Investment Corridor
The MARTA Board has voted to advance Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) for Campbellton Road, as part of a $300 million overall investment in public transit and infrastructure in Southwest Atlanta.
“It will be a benchmark BRT system, with stations, platform-level entrance at both gates and dedicated tracks, very similar to a rail system, but at a lower cost and with a completion time of faster construction,” said MARTA Interim. Managing Director and CEO Collie Greenwood. “Centralized BRT also allows us to invest more money in the corridor with pedestrian and cycling amenities and infrastructure features that benefit the whole community.”
The BRT will travel six miles on Campbellton Road, connecting key destinations such as Oakland City Station, the new Greenbriar Transit Center and Barge Road Park & Ride, with nine stations planned along the route. Central BRT is reportedly a high-capacity rapid transit system that operates in dedicated lanes in the center of the road and will reduce transit travel time along Campbellton Road to 18 minutes, 35 % faster than current Route 83. Other BRT amenities offered include train-like off-board fare payment, level boarding platforms, electric BRT vehicles, and transit signal priority to improve transit travel time and reliability.
Campbellton Road Rapid Transit was adopted as part of the More MARTA Atlanta program in 2018. Since the fall of 2019, MARTA has conducted an extensive analysis of the corridor and community outreach. Extensive community and stakeholder engagement included in-person, virtual meetings, town halls and roundtables, open houses, neighborhood and system-wide polls and polls, site visits, information at community and senior centers, libraries and schools, and a bus tour of the proposed route. Almost half of respondents preferred the BRT, with 90% of respondents citing the need for improved infrastructure and improved access for cyclists and pedestrians along the corridor.
“We’ve heard from some who see BRT as an inferior investment and are concerned that transit-led development isn’t as robust. It is simply not true. BRT is a premium public transport service that can be delivered faster, for less money, operate more affordably and is far more flexible than fixed rail transport, making it the obvious choice for this corridor and the best use of taxpayers’ money,” MARTA’s Board of Directors said. President Rita Scott. “And I’m confident that when this project comes to fruition, the people who live and work in this hallway will agree.”
The project will be paid for through the halfpenny More MARTA Atlanta sales tax, but additional federal funding is essential to fill the gap. The immediate next step is to seek participation in project development through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Small Starts Discretionary Grant Program. The city of Atlanta supports the project and recently submitted a mega grant (National Infrastructure Project Assistance Program) for the BRT which operates the center.
Additional next steps to move the project forward include submitting a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) checklist to the FTA, initiating preliminary engineering studies, and commencing planning activities for the center of Greenbriar transit. The aim is to start operating the central BRT on Campbellton Road in 2028.