On Nov. 1, the Atlanta Regional Commission released the results of the “Metro Atlanta Speaks” survey, described as “one of the most extensive in the region’s history.”
It revealed some interesting things about the 10-county Atlanta region. The A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research at Kennesaw State University surveyed over 2,100 voting age adults.
Here are some of the survey’s more surprising conclusions.
1) Metro residents want better roads and public transit. The survey reports that 56.8 percent of residents say traffic has gotten worse. The survey asked several questions about the state of the metro region’s roads and public transportation. Even though voters in this same 10 county region in 2012 overwhelmingly rejected a penny sales tax to improve roads and transit, the survey found 21.4 percent of residents think traffic is the region’s No. 2 problem, ranking slightly lower than the economy.
An overwhelming 71.3 percent responded that public transportation is “very important” for the region’s future. They also think building better roads and public transit is the best long term solution, with 40.9 percent supporting better public transit and 30 percent supporting better roads.
Only 2.7 percent of people who responded suggested doing nothing. In 2012, 63 percent of voters in the 10-county region rejected the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to pay for road and public transit improvements.
2) Metro residents are OK with their schools. Public education in the metro area has taken some serious credibility hits over the last couple of years. The Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal and the persistent dysfunction of DeKalb County Schools have dominated local news headlines. Turns out that most people who responded to the survey were satisfied with public education as a whole. The survey says 35.4 percent of people who responded think the quality of education in the metro area is “fair” and 29.7 percent think it’s “good.” The survey found 3.8 percent think the quality of schools is “excellent.”
At the local level, residents were even more satisfied with their public schools. The survey says that 19.5 percent of respondents think their local schools are “excellent,” and 35 percent think their local schools are “good.”
The survey respondents ranked education as the fourth biggest problem facing the region, behind crime, traffic and the economy.
3) The internet and television are the region’s top news sources. The decline of newspapers has been going on for several years, and the survey gives that trend some additional perspective in metro Atlanta. According to the survey, 38.7 percent of people get their news from television and 34 percent get their news from the Internet. The survey found 8.7 percent of respondents get their information from newspapers, which is slightly ahead of the 5.3 percent of people who get their news through word of mouth.