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The One-Sixth Opportunity for Georgia

Metro Atlanta as with most major metropolitan areas suffers from traffic congestion. Sitting in traffic impacts economic competitiveness, air quality, fuel efficiency, family time and safety. Let me share my vision for disrupting this pattern and changing the game.

The issue is something I like to refer to as “The One-Sixth Opportunity”. Between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., the majority of us begin our commute to work and school. Then, between the hours of 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. we begin our commutes home. These two blocks of time equal four hours (1/6) of each day where it consistently takes more time to commute. I can argue we don’t have a capacity problem as much as a timing issue. We cannot add unlimited lanes to our roads and need to be creative.

For example, for me to drive from Roswell to the Capitol during rush hour traffic can take an hour or more. However, if I alter my commute; it only takes about 35 minutes. Let’s talk about the solutions and great opportunity for businesses and families.

Most companies have their employees work a standard shift of 8-4 or 9-5, Monday through Friday. In Metro Atlanta, that results in millions of people flooding the roads at the same time each day. One solution to easing congestion is alternative work schedules. These include: flextime, telecommuting, compressed work weeks, staggered shifts, etc. If employers would implement just one of these options, we would not only see a reduction in traffic congestion during peak times, but we would also see reduced tardiness, a boost to employee morale and improved productivity. Families would have more valuable time together improving the overall quality of life.

During the summer months, we all enjoy reduced traffic with school out of session. In 1969, almost half of school aged children walked or biked to school. Now, that number is down to 13 percent according to Safe Routes to School National Partnership (SRTSP). The significant decrease in students walking or biking to schools has resulted in 20 to 30 percent increase in traffic and with so many parents driving their kids to school versus taking the bus the problem compounds exponentially.

An option is for some schools to delay or begin their start times to not directly impact rush hour and encourage parents to carpool or have their children take the school bus. Hundreds of cars line up for miles to drop off and pick up students in school zones clogging the roads along with the school provided transportation.

I am calling on my fellow leaders in government, business and education to collaborate and enact innovative solutions to make a meaningful impact to Metro Atlanta businesses and families.

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Sen. John Albers serves as Chairman of the State and Local Government Operations Committee. He represents the 56th Senate District which includes portions of North Fulton and Cherokee counties. He may be reached at his office at 404.463.8055 or by email at john.albers@senate.ga.gov.