City Departments of Transportation: How Can They Benefit Public Infrastructure?

The City of Atlanta is currently considering a proposal by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to create a municipal Department of Transportation. Such a move would put Atlanta in the company of peer cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Seattle, all of which have created entities to facilitate coordination between city departments that control assets in or near the street. By creating a dedicated oversight body, the Mayor hopes to eliminate duplication of efforts by different departments not only to save money but to also increase bandwidth of the city to address projects currently on hold. In the past, the Department of Watershed Management may have torn up a street recently repaved by the Department of Public Works to fix aging sewer infrastructure because their schedules were not properly aligned.

In other cities, the benefits have gone further than simple elimination of redundancies. For example, Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (oTIS) and New York’s DOT have both leveraged major infrastructure projects like water main replacement as an opportunity to complete critical road safety projects. These initiatives make the road more inviting to all modes, including active transport and public transportation. If Atlanta successfully implements this initiative, it could have a positive impact on congestion relief while saving valuable taxpayer dollars.  

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