Race to Regional Connectivity: Expanding Transit Technologies

Following successful pilot programs this year, the Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority (ATL) has announced the completion of two pivotal technologies that will increase transit connectivity in our region.

Breeze 2.0, a payments app introduced to MARTA this year, has been rolled out to use with regional transit partners Xpress, Ride Gwinnett, and CobbLinc. Many aspects of the technology will not come as a surprise to users; you can buy tickets on the app, tap your phone at train/bus gates, and store tickets on the cloud. The most substantial addition, in our view, is the free transfers between MARTA and regional transit partners. Eliminating transfer costs between agencies will ease the experience for users and potentially increase public transit ridership between different parts of the region.

A seamless customer experience was the General Assembly’s goal when it created the ATL. Less obstacles to transit use between agencies means another step towards Regional Connectivity, a key initiative at the Council for Quality Growth.

For the last three years, ATL has been working on a transit planning application called “ATL RIDES”. The project was funded by $20.3mm from the Federal Transit Authority’s Integrated Mobility Innovation Program, as well as a supplemental $200,000 from GDOT and other sources. Last week, ATL RIDES launched. Its users can seamlessly plan transit trips using just one app for travel across 13 counties via six transit agencies – Xpress, MARTA, Ride Gwinnett, CobbLinc, Connect Douglas and Cherokee Area Transit System (CATS). ATL RIDES therefore eliminates the need for local agencies to maintain their own technologies internally; instead, transit agencies around Atlanta can work together on the same platform and provide a better experience for riders traveling across different parts of the region.

Technologies like Breeze 2.0 and ATL RIDES are an important part of the region’s transit puzzle, especially as expansive transit referendums in Gwinnett and Cobb are introduced to voters next year.