What do metro Atlanta residents feel is the best way to address metro Atlanta’s traffic problems?

The answer, according to this year’s just-released Metro Atlanta Speaks survey, is clear: expanding public transit. That’s just one of the insights found in the public opinion survey, which is commissioned each year by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

The full survey can be found here. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:

We’re Still Revved Up about Transportation

Yep, how we get from Point A to Point B remains top of mind in metro Atlanta. Perhaps that’s not a surprise in a region where one’s commute is even fodder for cocktail party conversation.

Here are the numbers: When asked to name the biggest problem facing the Atlanta region, the top answer for the fourth straight year was transportation, at 28%, followed by crime (22%) and public education (9%).

How We Roll: Support for Regional Transit Remains Strong, Especially in ‘Core’ Counties

MARTA’s expanding in the city of Atlanta, and we now have The ATL regional transit authority, courtesy of our state legislature. Transit, it seems, is having a moment in metro Atlanta.

This is reflected in this year’s Metro Atlanta Speaks survey, too. As noted above, when asked to name the best long-term solution to our region’s traffic challenges, 48% of respondents said expanding public transit. Improving roads and highways (28%) came in a distant second.

Metro Atlanta Speaks asks an important related question: Would you pay more in taxes to cover the cost of expanding public transit? Half of respondents said they would, with support strongest in the region’s largest jurisdictions: City of Atlanta (60%), DeKalb County (59%), Fulton County (56%), Gwinnett County (50%) and Cobb County (49%)

The Economy Fading Fast as Regional Concern …

Metro Atlanta’s economy is humming along, and that’s reflected in this year’s survey. Just 6 percent of respondents say the economy is the biggest problem facing our region,  compared to 9 percent last year and 24 percent in 2013, when the Great Recession was still fresh in our minds.

… Yet, Many of Us are Still Struggling

When asked how we’d handle an unexpected $400 expense, more than one in four of us would not be able to pay it without borrowing money or selling or pawning something. And one in six of us said they either skipped meals or reduced portions to save money.

On the Radar: Housing Affordability

Metro Atlanta has a reputation for being an affordable place to live, something that’s helped fuel the region’s growth in recent decades. But that’s changing, as housing costs are rising sharply – and much faster than wages.

In response to a new question on this year’s Metro Atlanta Speaks survey, nearly 90 percent of respondents said they’re paying more than they should for housing. How much should we be paying? Experts on this kind of thing say no more than 30 percent of your income.

Want to delve deeper into the data?

You can learn much more about the survey, including county level results, at atlantaregional.org/metroatlantaspeaks.

What’s Next ATL, produced by the Atlanta Regional Commission, is a community resource that explores how metro Atlanta is growing and changing, and how the region is addressing its most pressing challenges.