2018 Atlanta Streets Alive

The last Atlanta Streets Alive of the year took place on Peachtree Street, one of Atlanta’s hubs of activity. We wanted to study public support for a complete streets program on Peachtree, which might look a little like this rendering below:

 
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In this, you’ll see unprecedented pedestrian access to Peachtree Street, where all types of transit modes are able to work together. Even just removing a lane on either side of a 5-lane street like Peachtree and extending bike lanes + street-level retail could make a huge difference in the area.

 

Chord Diagram

You can interact with the Living Infographics project in any order, but for the sake of these results, let’s start with the complete streets chord diagram:

 

Mouse over the chord diagram below to see the results.

We saw huge public support for this right away – most people we talked to about Peachtree lamented the congestion and traffic.

 
 

Parallel Coordinates

Even before the event was over, we noticed a pattern: most of the people who participated at this event were between 25 and 34 years old, had a full-time job onsite (not remote), owned at least one car, and drove it around the city.

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Parallel Coordinate Breakdown

Because I’m a data nerd at heart, I reorganized the data a few ways to see if other pictures emerged.


 

Employment Type vs Age

In short: Most of the people who participated in this project work full-time jobs onsite. Also, most people between 25-34 have full-time jobs, either remote or onsite.

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Age vs Primary Mode of Transportation

In short: Most of the people who participated were between 25 and 34, and get around the city mostly by driving. The second most common transportation method was taking MARTA (and people in this age group also make up the highest percentage of MARTA riders). Pretty much, the bulk of any age group was driving.

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Primary Mode of Transportation vs Employment Type

I was curious about this one and how it relates to commuting habits. Since most people work full-time jobs onsite, and mostly drive a car to get around the city, I feel like we can safely assume you’ll see most of them during rush hour. Remember, you’re not stuck in traffic; you are traffic.

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Scatterplot

We found that a lot of people who regularly visit the Peachtree Street area come for work or they drive through as a commuter (okay, and a lot come for DragonCon). Most said that they usually get the heck out as soon as they’re done doing the thing they came for, but really loved the idea of being able to stay and spend time in the area if it was safer and more comfortable to exist as a pedestrian.

 
 
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Gallery

Check out some of our favorite photos from the experience.

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Atlanta Streets Alive + Renew Atlanta

For the first Atlanta Streets Alive of 2018, we partnered with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and Renew Atlanta to study one of the more hotly debated topics in the city: what to do with Dekalb Ave. 

 
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An industrial thoroughfare that connects sections of the city, Dekalb Ave is three lanes of trouble; there's a middle lane that changes traffic direction twice a day, potholes, and a general infrastructure that makes it unsafe for cyclists. One of the projects proposed in the 2015 Renew Atlanta Infrastructure Bond referendum was to update Dekalb Ave to better serve the people who use it.

 
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Parallel Coordinates

We found that most people participating in the project use Dekalb Ave on a daily basis – for commuting and for getting around on the weekends. 

 
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  May not add up to 100% due to rounding

May not add up to 100% due to rounding

Adding bike lanes is a major priority – most of the participants said they would add bike lanes, and a majority of those who said they would add bike lanes would then use Dekalb Ave for biking. One participant mused that he would use Dekalb Ave to bike all the way to the farmer's market in Decatur. 

 

Chord Diagram

We then wanted to ask about people's commuting habits and what they considered a commuter – to foster more of a sense of empathy around commuting. We found that, while there was some variation among different opinions on commuting, most people think of commuters as people who leave the house at all for work. We also saw that a majority of the 200 participants were from Kirkwood and surrounding neighborhoods.

Mouse over the chord diagram below to see the results.

 
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Scatterplot

We asked participants to grab a green dot and place it on a grid corresponding to how satisfied they would feel about Dekalb Ave becoming a complete street, compared to how safe they would feel. As predicted, most people would feel safe and satisfied with Dekalb Ave as a complete street.

 
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Gallery

Check out some of our favorite photos from the experience.

Want to host a Living Infographic at your next event? 

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2018 Midtown Alliance Annual Meeting

We worked with Midtown Alliance to bring a Living Infographic to their annual meeting and ask about two things: commuting, and retail. 



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Chord Diagram

The purpose of the chord diagram is to show how two variables influence each other. For this one, we asked where people lived in the metro Atlanta area and how long it took them to commute to Midtown (there was a space for people to say that they didn't work in Midtown and were only there for the annual meeting). We then asked how they get to work.

 
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As with other times that we've done a commute study, participants are always surprised to find out that so many people drive. Even people who live ITP and fairly near a MARTA station drive to work. Even people with commutes under fifteen minutes drive to work. Of course, there are many reasons you might drive to your office (especially in an Atlanta summer), but several participants walked away saying that they would be interested in trying to walk or bike in the future. 

Below: an interactive version of the data we collected.

Mouse over the different gray bars (or the colored squares at the bottom) to see isolated versions of the data. 

 
 

Below: A literal representation of the data we collected. Each line represents a piece of yarn tied to the infographic. You can see here that (luckily), most people who live and work in Midtown commute by walking to work. 

 
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Parallel Coordinates

Parallel Coordinates create a picture over several different variables. For this one, we wanted to ask participants questions about where they spend their time in Midtown and the types of retail they would want to see. 

Below: A direct representation of the data we collected. 

 
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Above: A visual breakdown of the data collected. 

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Above: The map referenced in the chart. Midtown is a big, bustling area of town and we wanted to specifically figure out where respondents spent most of their time.

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Interested in hosting a Living Infographic at your next event?

2017 Atlanta Streets Alive

Parallel Coordinates

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Scatterplot

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2017 Root City Market

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The purpose of this one was to examine the daily commutes to work or school for Atlanta’s residents (specifically, visitors to the summer Root City Market).

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Participants approached the project, and drew a piece of yarn from the glass that most closely represented their commute—usually we based this off of the length of time spent with each method. So, if you drive five minutes to a Marta station but spend 30 minutes on Marta, we’d consider you a public transit commuter.

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We then asked participants to tie one string to the neighborhood they live in, and the other end to how long it typically took them to commute.

I was expecting areas with Marta stations nearby to have high levels of public transit use, and for walking methods to have the shortest duration (with driving alone the longest).

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My favorite thing I love about these projects is how they continue to surprise me—there were so many people driving alone for a commute under 15 minutes. One guy smiled as he finished tying his on, and said, “I’m so lucky.” A French woman we talked to for awhile said she was disappointed that so many people with short commutes chose to drive. “Couldn’t they bike?”

Another thing that jumped out was a walking commute that lasted over an hour. Someone walks an hour to work every day? I wish I’d talked to them more about it.