It was a great pleasure to speak to the Atlanta Regional Commission this morning.
While I spent some time talking about the Recovery Act and stimulus success in Georgia transportation projects, I focused my remarks on the Obama Administration's Livable Communities Initiative and its relevance to the Atlanta region.Livable Centers Initiative since 1999, I may have been preaching to the choir.
In the Administration's Livable Communities program DOT, HUD, and EPA are working together, with the White House, to find ways to better coordinate and direct federal investments in transportation, housing, air quality, and water infrastructure.
And Atlanta already knows this. The 2009 Atlanta Regional Commission study of their Livable Centers Initiative shows a dramatic decline in the number of Vehicle Miles Traveled in communities that have coordinated land-use and transportation planning. Simply, the lower the Vehicle Miles Traveled, the more residents are able to get where they want to go without using their cars.
Now, I've talked about the importance of reducing miles traveled as a key part of reducing our dependence on foreign oil and reducing carbon emissions. Residents of the Atlanta area's Livable Centers are able to do both while enjoying the convenience of public transportation options; of jobs and services closer to home; of wider, friendlier sidewalks, and safer crosswalks.
Going forward, livability will be a watchword of federal transportation policy. Given its recent honors--a 2008 EPA National Smart Growth Award and a 2009 American Planning Association National Planning Excellence Award--we need look no further than ARC's Livable Centers for successful examples of the kind of well-researched, coordinated infrastructure planning this Administration has in mind.