Alternatives Analysis

A Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) for the project was previously adopted by the MARTA Board of Directors in 2012. In December 2018, an LPA was recommended but not adopted. However, due to changing conditions in the corridor and new funding and technology opportunities, MARTA Leadership is performing a multi-stage Alternatives Analysis with public engagement to evaluate several new project alternatives. The goal is to identify an LPA that is based on maximizing community and stakeholder support, minimizing environmental and community impacts, increasing the potential for federal funding, and supporting community needs and the project purpose as listed below.

Community Needs / Project Purpose

  • Frequent and reliable high-capacity transit is needed to serve the Clifton Corridor, a major regional population and employment center
  • Better transit access and connectivity within the corridor
  • Improved Access to the MARTA Rail System
Bus Rapid Transit – Omaha, Nebraska
Light Rail Transit – Salt Lake City, Utah
The Alternatives Analysis will consider, as seen above, bus rapid transit (BRT) alternatives and light rail transit (LRT) alternatives. The analysis will also consider an east terminal located at the Decatur MARTA station in addition to the Avondale MARTA station. The steps involved in the Alternatives Analysis are as follows:

Screen 1 Evaluation

10 Alternatives

MARTA evaluated 10 alternatives in the Screen 1 process, including 4 bus rapid transit (BRT) and 6 light rail transit (LRT) alternatives. BRT is a transit service that provides premium, rail-like service that operates primarily in dedicated running ways. LRT is a transit service that operates on embedded tracks in dedicated lanes and exclusive guideway.

BRT Alternatives

LRT Alternatives

More details for each alternative can be found in the PDF Below.

Screen 1 Evaluation Results

Click the button below to see results from the Screen 1 evaluation, including key themes that emerged from public and stakeholder outreach.
MARTA has removed all options that include dedicated transit lanes along Clairemont Avenue due to public and stakeholder feedback. Other options removed include alternatives with operations outside of CSX railroad right-of-way and those requiring full CSX acquisition. Other options contain elements that will be removed, like LRT options with subway segments.
Eight alternatives will be removed, and two alternatives will advance to Screen 2 with modifications.

Screen 2 Evaluation

3 Build Alternatives

MARTA evaluated 3 alternatives in the Screen 2 process:
  1. Alternative 1A: BRT from Lindbergh to Avondale
  2. Alternative 1B: BRT from Lindbergh to Avondale, BRT and Arterial Rapid Transit (ART) from Lindbergh to Decatur station
  3. Alternative 2: LRT from Lindbergh to Avondale
  4. All alternatives would include a new shuttle connection to the VA Medical Center
Arterial Rapid Transit (ART) is similar to local bus service but includes improvements like traffic signal priority, ADA-accessible stations and shelters, real-time information screens, and more frequent service. ART would operate in mixed traffic and would not require any roadway modifications or property acquisition.

Clifton Corridor Screen 2 Alternatives

Screen 2 Evaluation Criteria

MARTA is working to achieve a high project rating from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which increases the likelihood of federal grant funding. The graphic below shows the criteria is used by FTA to rate transit projects across the country.
Federal Transit Administration (FTA) New & Small Starts
Grant Evaluation & Rating Process
FTA evaluates and rates all individual criteria, summary ratings,
and overall ratings on a 5-point scale from “Low” to “High”.

Screen 2 Evaluation Update

MARTA is advancing bus rapid transit (BRT) for the Clifton Corridor Transit Initiative Project. Alternatives 1A and 1B feature BRT from Lindbergh to Avondale rail stations; Alternative 1B includes arterial rapid transit (ART) to Decatur rail station

The graphic below has a comparison of route and mode similarities, differences, and evaluation results. Please visit the Project Materials page for more information.