The recent recession slowed down metro Atlanta’s far-flung residential development, but hasn’t had the same effect on the spread of jobs away from the central city, according to a report by the Brookings Institution.
From 2000 to 2010:
- The Atlanta metro areas lost 119,301 of its private-sector jobs. The vast majority of the jobs lost - 105,071 or 88 percent - were in areas three to 10 miles from the CBD.
- There was an increase of 4.2 percent in the number of private-sector jobs located 10 to 35 miles from the CBD
- The number of private-sector jobs 3 to 10 miles from the CBD fell 3.8 percent.
- The number of private-sector jobs within 3 miles of the CBD fell 0.4 percent
- Only about 10 percent of metro Atlanta’s 1,864,067 jobs were located within 3 miles of the CBD. The average among the 100 metros surveyed was about 23 percent.
- About 25 percent of Atlanta area jobs were located three to 10 miles from the CBD.
- More than 64 percent were located 10 to 35 miles from the CBD. That figure is nearly 50 percent larger than the national average of about 43 percent.
One of the reasons the location of jobs matters, the Brookings researchers said, is that it’s one of the largest determinants of transportation development. If most of the daily flow of commuters is suburb-to-suburb or city-to-suburb, planners and policy makers will prioritize transportation projects that address those patterns.
With only so much money (and an ever-shrinking pot of it) to go around, cities will have to get creative with public-private partnerships and federal grants to make sure they’re not left behind. They’ll also have to do more with less, investing in relatively low-cost solutions like enhancing bicycle infrastructure so that city residents have more transportation options for short trips around town.