Millennials' growing desire for access to public transportation has been attracting them to core urban areas for years now. The huge shift in consumer spending habits has also largely been driven by this demographic, and among those changes is the abandonment of buying and owning cars. Atlanta has taken notice of this lifestyle choice and is responding with new transportation infrastructure.
A panel held last week on the city’s Downtown Development Day, called “Re-Shaping Atlanta Streetcar Neighborhoods for the Millennials,” brought together several local real estate developers to discuss the Atlanta Streetcar project. The project is a response to an influx of Millennials to downtown Atlanta in the past few years and will see the construction of a 2.7 mile stretch of new streetcar route with plans to run the streetcars every 15 minutes. Sort of a hop-on, hop-off idea to improve urban mobility.
But why cater to just one generation’s demands? Well, according to the panel, this demographic's turn-ons include walkability, transit, and robust data plans. Turnoffs include long commutes and soul-less suburbs. So Atlanta hopes the project, expected to be operational in a year, won't only attract more Millennials to the downtown area, but also provide a boost for local businesses by bringing their consumers directly to them.
Research from the group CEOs for Cities shows that since 2000, Atlanta has seen a 61 percent increase in the Millennial population in its close-in neighborhoods. And Payscale.com ranks Atlanta No. 17 on its list of the top 20 cities for Gen Yers to find work.
But the question remains: If you build it, will they really come?