Atlanta Aerotropolis Makes Strides to Test Automated Airport Passenger Transportation

Aerotropolis Atlanta CIDS, MARTA and the Atlanta-based Center for Transportation and the Environment are seeking a grant for the U.S. Department of Transportation to test automated buses to the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

If selected, Atlanta would provide the first automated airport passenger transportation on public roads worldwide, according to the announcement. Automated buses would travel between MARTA’s College Park station and the airport’s international terminal; while making stops at Delta Airlines Headquarters.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is awarding up to $60 million in federal funds for safe integration of automated driving systems. Each grant would be up to $10 million.

The City of Chamblee also applied for a U.S. DOT grant to implement its self-driving shuttle program. The self-driving shuttles would be 16-foot long rectangles carrying eight to sixteen passengers traveling at a maximum speed of 25 mph.  In the proposed pilot program, the autonomous shuttle would run along Peachtree Road — from the Peachtree Station shopping center to the Chamblee MARTA station, and further north near Chamblee City Hall. An additional route could be incorporated to the DeKalb–Peachtree Airport and to the Assembly Yards near the Doraville MARTA station.


The purpose of the pilot program is to create a more transit-oriented community. City officials predict that the emergence of self-driving shuttles could spur more mixed-used development projects and attract more millennials to reside within the city.

The City of Chamblee developed its Chamblee’s Self Driving Shuttle Feasibility Study & Concept Plan as a recipient of the Georgia Smart Community Challenge, a Georgia Tech program that provides seed funding and technical assistance to implement innovative solutions to address city challenges (i.e. traffic congestion, increased population growth, sea level rise…etc.).

The Council for Quality Growth applauds both Atlanta Aerotropolis and the City of Chamblee for developing innovative transportation projects to increase mobility options for its residents.