Sign of the Times: State Provides $3.8 Million to Support Improved Regional Bus Stop Signs

By Aaron Fowler, AICP, Senior Transit Planner in ARC's Mobility Services Division

By Aaron Fowler, AICP, Senior Transit Planner in ARC’s Mobility Services Division

Bus stop signs throughout the Atlanta region are set for a major upgrade.

Currently, stops served by multiple transit providers have signs that feature a collection of agency logos, but little else to help riders navigate the system.

That will soon change. The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) will receive $3.8 million in state funds to enable regional transit providers to install improved bus stop signs throughout Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties.

The new signs will display key information about all of the routes and transit agencies serving a given location, with a fresh, easy-to-read design. The signs will also include important phone numbers and website addresses.

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Signage upgrades coming to regional transit stops

The funding is part of $75 million in bonds issued statewide as part of the State Road and Tollway Authority’s GO! Transit capital program. ARC’s Regional Transit Committee (RTC) applied for the funding on behalf of the region’s transit providers. The bonds were announced by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal in June.

“This new signage is a great example of a successful regional partnership at work,” said Tim Lee, RTC Chairman and Chairman of the Cobb County Commission. “The project demonstrates how local jurisdictions can work together to make things better for residents and visitors.”

Federal funding is already in place to pay for the installation of new signage at stops in downtown and midtown Atlanta that serve MARTA, GRTA, CobbLinc (formerly Cobb Community Transit) and Gwinnett County Transit. The $3.8 million in state bonds will expand the installation to other parts of the City of Atlanta, as well as all stops in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties. Installation is expected to begin in 2018.

“This project will go a long way toward solving one of the biggest problems our transit riders face – a lack of clear signage. The new signs make it easy for riders to make sure they are in the right place to catch their ride,” said Kerry Armstrong, ARC Chair. “We’re working hard to improve the customer experience.”

One project already underway aims to create a unified bus stop numbering system that eliminates any duplication among the region’s transit providers. This will make it easier for riders to navigate the system and plan trips through atltransit.org, the region’s unified transit information website.

Other Atlanta Region Transit Projects to Receive Funds

MARTA and several counties in the Atlanta region also received GO! Transit funding for the following projects:

  • Cobb County: Bus Expansion – Route 10X
    Purchase 12 buses needed to operate a new CobbLinc Route 10X, which will provide express service from Town Center to the Midtown MARTA station, with limited stops at major locations such as Kennesaw State University. This route will improve transit options along the I-75 corridor by reducing transfers among existing routes and decreasing travel times.
  • Cobb County: Bus Expansion – Cumberland Circulator
    Purchase six buses to create two new circulator routes within the Cumberland Community Improvement District. The circulators will improve transit access to jobs and key community resources such as Sun Trust Park, Cumberland Mall and the Cobb Galleria.
  • Gwinnett County: New Buses
    Purchase 20 new buses for Gwinnett County Transit, which will enable the service to run more efficiently, improving reliability and cost-effectiveness.
  • Gwinnett County: Sugarloaf Mills Park & Ride Upgrade
    Redesign and upgrade the Sugarloaf Mills Park-and-Ride lot to improve bus access and passenger amenities. Customers will have additional shelters and the ability to purchase fares on-site. Buses will be able to take a more direct route to the I-85 Express Lanes, decreasing travel times and improving reliability.
  • Henry County: Jonesboro Road Park & Ride
    Construction of a new park-and-ride lot near the intersection of Jonesboro Road and I-75 in Henry County. The lot will provide access to the new I-75 South Metro Express Lane for vanpools and Xpress buses, improving connectivity and reliability.
  • MARTA: Audio Visual Information System
    Upgrade public address and electronic passenger information system at MARTA’s 38 rail stations with enhanced audio and video displays, expanding transit user access to communications and emergency information. Enhanced features include multi-lingual signage, automated messaging that more quickly provides communications to riders, and the display of bus schedule and arrival time information for connecting transit systems such as transfers from rail to bus or to other regional transit operators.
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