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A City Ranking List That Actually Matters

Regular readers are likely familiar with our love/hate relationship with the plague of "Top _____" lists ranking cities on often inane characteristics like, "Manliest." But when applied to serious issues, these lists can be valuable in assessing a city's strengths and weaknesses as perceived by the outside world. For example, the Brookings Institution is out with a report examining U.S. cities and the access their labor forces have to transit. Not surprisingly, Atlanta fares poorly- #87, with only 52.6% of Atlanta jobs located in neighborhoods accessible by public transit. Our fair city's love affair with the car and some portion of its citizenry's pride in it aside, this is a problem. The fact is, in the battle for jobs and economic growth, cities with functional transportation infrastructure equipped to handle population growth and the myriad problems associated with diminishing natural resources have an advantage. Atlanta has the opportunity to give itself this advantage via the T-SPLOST referendum- it remains to be seen if the city can set politics aside and take a proactive role in determining its own future. [Brookings Institution]