The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) held its State of MARTA 2022 virtual event on Wednesday, Jan. 12, celebrating state and federal funding, along with revealing the new railcar design as chosen by customers. The annual event was hosted this year by Council for Quality Growth and with backing from major sponsors VHB and WSP.
According to a prepared statement, MARTA General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker shared MARTA’s ongoing efforts to provide essential transit as the COVID-19 pandemic enters another year, the accomplishments, and goals of the Authority, highlighting projects that will improve the customer experience, and thanked partners for their support.
“The Georgia Delegation really became our very own transit force of superheroes this past year, and we wanted to recognize the ways in which they not only supported individual projects but also came together as a force to be reckoned with, placing transit front and center in the national infrastructure conversation,” said Parker. “Strong federal support, along with historic state support for transit is helping us continue to weather the pandemic while advancing expansion and enhancement programs and making upgrades to the system that customers will see immediately.”
The modern design of MARTA’s 254 new railcars is set to arrive in 2023 was unveiled during the event. With the help of transit riders and a series of public outreach and engagement efforts centered around railcar design, customers chose comfort and technology for the interior and a sleek minimalist design for the exterior.
The interior features an open gangway so riders can move freely between cars, seating options including facing forward and inward, spacious luggage and bicycle areas. In addition, the new trains, designed and built by Stadler, will have state-of-the-art technology providing convenient charging stations and digital system maps and service information, along with minor upgrades that make a significant difference on the daily commute, such as windscreens near the train doors and improved heating, cooling, and lighting systems.
The exterior of the new railcars will feature the “Minimalist” design as chosen by customers. The most prominent feature is a lighted “smile” on the front of the train that denotes the color of the rail line; Red, Gold, Green, or Blue, so riders will know from a distance that their train is approaching. The exterior design showcases MARTA’s iconic colors alongside the railcar, carrying your eye down the length of the train while highlighting the modern, aerodynamic design.
According to the update, the new trains are part of a busy year ahead for MARTA as the Authority advances the region’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) along Hank Aaron Dr., through Summerhill, high-capacity transit along the Campbellton Corridor and in Clayton County, and station rehabilitation projects at Airport, Indian Creek, and Bankhead rail stations.