March 21, 2017

Livable Centers Initiative Report

The Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) is a grant program that encourages cities and communities in the Atlanta region to develop strategies that link residents to shopping, dining and other activities via sidewalks and bike trails.

The idea is to get people off the roads, and it’s working.

The Atlanta region is a vibrant collection of bustling neighborhoods, historic communities, and urban spaces that millions of people call home. Many of these communities have improved the quality of life for their residents with help from the LCI program for nearly two decades.

If people can walk to more places, fewer vehicles are on the road, and the air is cleaner. Since the LCI program began in 2000, the vehicle miles traveled per capita each day has dropped 13 percent, from 32.1 miles to 28 miles.

Since 2000, the ARC Board has allocated approximately $184 million in federal funds, helping pay for planning studies and the construction of transportation projects like sidewalks and intersection improvements.

The LCI program is funded with federal transportation dollars. The grants cover 80 percent of the cost of each study or transportation project, with the recipient making a 20 percent match.

Development Inventory Survey

The Development Inventory Survey assesses the strength of development in LCI communities, recording the type (residential, commercial, office, or open space), square footage and location of the reported development in the reporting LCI areas.

Over time, this inventory tracks how quickly development progresses and what kinds of developments are built in LCI areas.

  • 74% of developments were in Fulton, DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties
  • 76% of residential units developed in LCI areas were either apartments or developments that included multiple types of housing
  • More than 43 million square feet of new commercial spaces were built in LCI areas since 2000.

Transportation spending

Transportation improvements are a critical component of the LCI program because they allow for direct implementation of a community’s LCI plan. LCI transportation projects focus on reducing vehicle miles traveled and creating healthier, more vibrant communities by increasing bicycle, pedestrian and transit use.

The LCI program has provided $172 million in federal funding for transportation projects. Project funding by type:

  • Pedestrian facility:50%
  • Bike-Ped facility:17%
  • Operations & Safety:11%
  • Capacity Reduction:8%
  • Transit Facilities:8%
  • Side paths and Trails:5%
  • Bicycle Facility:1%

Livability features

LCI strives to provide metro Atlanta residents with a higher quality of life by encouraging local governments to re-imagine public spaces. The Livability Survey measures how local jurisdictions believe the LCI program has fared at achieving the LCI goals.