Known as the southern commercial railway hub and also for it’s urban sprawl, Atlanta is in constant movement within the city and throughout the metro area.  Originally not the capital of Georgia, Atlanta was the center for rail traffic for the entire southeast.  As industry grew within the city, other, more public transit, emerged and connected industry workers with the various industrial centers, students with large universities, and residents to use for personal transit.

What resulted was a large and intricate trolley car line that connected the city, at one time having over 200 miles of  tract-  a system any metropolis would be proud of.  However, the early 1900’s introduced the age of the automobile and our emergence of the sprawling metropolis we see today.

The trolley lines were dug up, or paved over, to create an autocentric city dependent on individual transit.

The reason I bring up this part of Atlanta history, is that this week I was added to a workgroup that will focus on the progression, regression and reintroduction of public transit in Atlanta.  A small group of us SIF’s will be creating a storymap (curious?) to conceptualize the evolution of our transit system through a spatial and historic lens.

With the shift to more sustainable systems, urban centers are creating more vibrant and efficient public transit systems, and Atlanta is no exception.  Between the beltline, the “new” streetcar development, and talks of expanding MARTA to other metro cities, Atlanta is attempting to establish a more connected rail system that would enable the city to rival it’s turn of the century system (although most Atlantans are unaware of this fact).

I am excited about this new project and interested to see the development of our public transit system over the coming years.

Nicole Ryerson