MARTA has tweaked plans for an extensive, bus rapid transit route planned for south metro Atlanta to include direct access to the world’s largest airport and Georgia’s biggest employer.

MARTA’s Board of Directors has adopted an amended locally preferred alternative route, or LPA, that will link the authority’s planned Rapid Southlake system directly with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s Domestic Terminal—and thousands of airport-related jobs.

Previously, plans called for the 15-mile BRT route to snake up through Clayton County and a corner of Fulton County before ending at MARTA’s College Park transit station.

The Rapid Southlake route, which MARTA calls the first BRT system of its kind in the region, will link Southlake Mall to the airport. In between will be what MARTA calls “rail-like stations”—with seating, digital signage, and off-board fare payment—at key stops such as Southern Regional Medical Center, the Shops of Riverdale, and the Riverdale Mobility Center.

MARTA’s revised map shows 16 stations dotted along the BRT route. The system’s high-capacity buses are expected to run in a mix of new, dedicated right-of-way and traffic lanes mixed with regular vehicles on today’s roads.

Courtesy of MARTA

Example of a planned BRT stop on MARTA's future Southlake route. Courtesy of MARTA

Collie Greenwood, MARTA general manager and CEO, said the project will provide “generational impacts” for people working, living, and traveling around Clayton County, while the direct airport connection will “strengthen the project’s federal funding competitiveness,” according to a MARTA announcement.

The revised route is also expected to allow for more dedicated BRT lanes along Riverdale Road near the airport. 

The project has advanced to the 30-percent design phase following the board’s LPA adoption. MARTA leaders plan to submit an application for Federal Transit Administration, Capital Investments Grants, and Small Starts funding this summer. 

Courtesy of MARTA

Courtesy of MARTA

According to MARTA’s timeline projections, the Rapid Southlake route is expected to be fully constructed and open for service in 2030.  

Find more context for the BRT project in the gallery above.


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Clayton County news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)