Georgia Smart Communities Challenge


Chamblee is one of four Georgia communities that have developed and will implement smart design solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing the state. The projects, which tackle housing, traffic congestion, sea level rise and shared autonomous vehicles, are supported through the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge. This new Georgia Tech-led initiative brings together industry and public agencies to help local governments implement smart development for a more resilient future. The Smart Communities program provides seed funding and access to technical assistance, expert advice, and a network of peers. A Georgia Tech researcher works with the cities to advise and conduct research in support of each group’s goals.The strategies developed by the selected communities will serve as models that could be implemented elsewhere across Georgia and beyond.

Chamblee has partnered with Ellen Dunham-Jones, a professor and Director of the Urban Design Program for the College of Design at Georgia Tech. Ellen and her students are collaborating with the city to envision the potential impacts of autonomous vehicle technology on land uses, attracting next generation residents and employees, expanding access to MARTA, prioritizing of pedestrian and bicycle mobility to maintain a human scale in city streets, and on improving public health. Chamblee, additionally, has partnered with MARTA, the City of Doraville, Assembly CID, and Stantec to use this opportunity to build on the Self-Driving Shuttle Feasibility Study and Concept Plan (images of core route location and shuttle below) adopted in April 2018. The Smart Communities project, which kicked off in September 2018, will result in a communications plan, system operations plan, preliminary engineering and supporting network concepts, funding model, and best practices manual.

The research is important to achieve the city’s overall vision as it is transforming from a more automobile-oriented community to a more urban, transit-oriented, and multi-modal community. It focuses on how Chamblee can leverage Shared Autonomous Vehicles (SAVs) and the redevelopment opportunities they may provide to achieve the broader goals of livability and sustainable urban design. Ultimately, the research deliverables will produce a set of recommendations for Chamblee as well as best practices for other local governments to follow as they introduce SAVs onto public streets. City staff and Professor Dunham-Jones and her PhD students presented information from the draft Self-Driving Shuttle Operations Plan and Best Practices Manual (image of draft core route stops below) to the public at an open house on April 16. The Plan will be presented to City Council for adoption in May. Concurrently, staff will be presenting the Multi-modal Transportation Plan, the city's first ever comprehensive transportation plan for review and adoption. Read more about that effort, and past and upcoming public input opportunities on the Chamblee Mobility page.

The project recommendations were presented at a public open house on April 16th . The presentation board with an overview of the plan can be downloaded at the following link: Automated Shuttle Operation Design Plan.

We are currently seeking public comment on the final draft that will be presented for adoption at the Mayor and City Council meetings in May. Please download it here: Chamblee Operations Plan - Final Draft

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Area map showing SAV core route with connection to the City Civic Complex in downtown

Area map showing SAV core route with City Civic Complex route and all route extensions

Core route and city civic complex
Core route and all alternate routes

        Concept image of SAV on Peachtree Road at City Civic Complex facing east

Concept image of the intersection at Peachtree Road, Malone Drive, and the north MARTA station entrance
Chamblee SAV Peachtree Rd Concept
Peachtree Rd at Malone Dr Concept
Below is the core route (in green) with its five stops, as identified in the draft Operations Plan. The first extension is shown on the right. The extension would take the SAV to the Assembly Yards mixed-use development and Third Rail movie studio.
SAV Core Route

If you have any questions concerning the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, please contact Rebecca Keefer, City of Chamblee Special Projects Manager, at