The Atlanta region is a major hub for the movement and distribution of freight, providing access to the fast-growing Port of Savannah and major markets across the Southeast and the U.S.
Every day, millions of tons of freight head for destinations in metro Atlanta or pass through the region to points beyond. Meanwhile, the volume of goods moving in the region continues to grow. By 2040, ARC forecasts a 56 percent increase in freight traffic.
Global logistics trends that will have an impact on Metro Atlanta include:
- Demand for e-commerce fulfillment centers is growing with new next-day and same-day delivery options.
- Growth in online shopping is bringing freight delivery directly into neighborhoods.
- New sources of US oil and gas are reducing the costs for domestic manufacturing and distribution.
- Increasing global consumer populations provide markets for exports from Metro Atlanta.
The Atlanta region’s infrastructure must continue to develop in order to meet the growing demands on freight corridors and routes.
The primary purposes of the Atlanta Regional Freight Mobility Plan Update are to:
- Assess the current plan against the latest understanding of existing conditions and forecasts.
- Update the plan based on the latest federal, state, and Atlanta regional policies.
- Support the development of a FAST Act compliant Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) as it relates to applicable freight provisions.
- Identify projects of national, state, and regional significance.
- Define a path forward for project investment and establishment of responsive strategies and initiatives.
This update serves as a guiding document to support the region’s freight movement strategies. The plan builds on previous planning efforts, evaluates recent changes, and identifies potential future freight needs in the region.
Tiered Freight Projects
The Atlanta Regional Freight Mobility Plan Update creates a roadmap for projects stretching beyond the TIP period. Over 900 potential projects were collected from throughout the region, and 91 improvements emerged from the list after screening for duplicates, relevance and feasibility.
New funding became available at the end of 2015 through federal legislation, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation or “FAST” Act. For the first time, the FAST Act provided funds dedicated to freight. There are two key parts:
- $206.5 million to Georgia over five years for use on a roadway freight network with major facilities in Metro Atlanta. While this is statewide funding, Atlanta is a crucial location for Georgia freight.
- $4.5 billion is available through FASTLANE, a new competitive grant program that grants to shovel-ready projects of national or regional significance. Freight is one of the main FASTLANE focus areas, and Atlanta has eligible projects of significance.
Beyond project investments, next steps for the region’s freight fall into two categories, studies and initiatives:
Sub-area, Corridor, and Improvement Studies range from the assessment of highway access for new cargo areas at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to the evaluation of railroad grade crossings. Freight cluster plans will conduct detailed planning and engineering analysis in areas with the highest concentrations of freight activity.
Studies may vary but would seek to better understand and manage truck traffic, improve the interaction of freight with other uses, increase freight reliability and productivity, and reduce air emissions.
Strategic initiatives address broad problems and aim to integrate freight throughout the region. One of the key strategic initiatives is a regional truck parking study. A lack of parking spaces for long-haul truck drivers has been identified nationally as a significant safety issue for the trucking industry. This study will assess the truck parking needs of the Atlanta Region and will determine where additional parking may be needed.
Other recommended initiatives would address:
- Truck-friendly lanes
- Home delivery
- Industrial property redevelopment
- Off-hours delivery
- Resiliency planning
- Alternative fuels
- Freight pilot of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technologies
Atlanta Regional Freight Mobility Plan 2008
Identifying and programming effective improvements to accommodate increasing freight, goods, and services movement in the Atlanta region is vital to the economic vitality and quality of life of our region. To address freight in a comprehensive manner, ARC undertook the development of a data-driven, policy-based plan for the metropolitan area.
The identification and prioritization of improvements and strategies that accommodate and enhance mobility of both people and goods while mitigating the negative impacts on congestion, safety, environment and quality of life.