According to data from The Brookings Institution:
• 81 percent of Georgians live in the state’s 15 metropolitan areas.
• 84 percent of the state’s jobs are in these metro areas.
• These jobs account for 89 percent of Georgia’s GDP.
• Macon and Atlanta — the two metro areas that will be linked by the proposed initial passenger rail line — account for 57 percent of the state’s population, 60 percent of the jobs and 70 percent of the state GDP.
A benefit of passenger rail stations will be the increase in “walkable urban” housing and neighborhoods, which appeals to singles and couples. According to The Brookings Institution:
• Two-thirds of all households today are singles and couples.
• This percentage is expected to increase during the next 20 years, with more than 80 percent of newly formed households expected to be singles and couples.
• The cost of transportation for drivable suburban households averages 24 percent of total income vs. 12 percent for walkable urban households.
• Metropolitan Washington, D.C., which is roughly the size of metro Atlanta, has the highest number of walkable urban places in the United States — 20 that are fully developed and 10 that are emerging. Atlanta has a total of four areas considered walkable urban: Midtown, Buckhead/Lenox Square, Decatur and Atlantic Station.