I live north of Atlanta in Roswell, and the traffic situation in this city is truly horrendous, but there's so many factors at play that the solution you're talking about won't cut it.
We need to understand that by and large, most of the traffic problems in this city are caused by the poor planning and civil engineering, not by the number of cars. While Atlanta is, indeed, one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, it is currenly hosting a population of 4 million or so, and is much, much larger, spatially, than say.. New York, which has 12 million people or so.
And yet, despite having much less people with much more room, our traffic is still almost as bad (not quite) as theirs.
The problem isn't the number of cars.
So what IS the problem?:
1. Traffic lights.
This city throws traffic lights up like they're going out of style. Every two-bit intersection has one, no matter if it's needed or not, and the timing on them is horrendous. Quite often, the main road will get the green light only for a few cars to go through, and the insignificant sidestreet - where nobody ever comes out - is green for a full minute, maybe longer. (I'd like to think I'm being objective here and not merely overreacting to the annoyance.)
Traffic lights are ridiculously overused around here; sometimes you'll see them twenty feet apart, in groups of four or more. You'll watch as the lead one turns red and the rest turn green - so nobody can go anywhere, and by the time the lead turns green, the rest of them are red, so nobody goes anywhere.
I don't care if it costs the city extra to install "smart lights" - the traffic lights with magnetic sensors in the road to detect when a car is actually waiting at a red light. There are few things more infuriating than grinding your brakes down to stop at a light which just turned red even though nobody's coming the other way.
Atlanta should also consider timing lights like Chicago - if you hit one green light, you'll hit them all if you maintain the speed limit. This has the added benefit of reducing speeding.
Of course, the city's solution to any traffic problem is "add more traffic lights", not realizing or not caring that the lights are the problem to begin with. Instead of adding more, they should make the ones they already have more efficient, and get rid of the ones that aren't needed.
2. Curb cuts.
Once again, the city approves these willy-nilly, to anybody that asks and has the money. A curb-cut is the point at which a parking lot meets the road, and to make it accessible to the road, they literally cut the curb.
Problem is, Atlanta allows these without any regard for traffic flow, as many as someone asks for, wherever someone asks for. Now you've got cars dropping into the traffic flow at ten points instead of one, which of course causes problems.
3. No centralization.
When you live on the outskirts of the city, as I do, you get to witness the petty border disputes of counties. While this city is not unique here (or any of the other points I've made), it certainly does have it worse than most, especially given the sheer number of independant and autonomous counties in this state (one of the highest, if not THE highest, in the country).
For twenty years, I have watched Cobb and Fulton, two bordering counties, bicker with each other about a Johnson Ferry Road, which is a main artery of the area, conveying the majority of commuters who don't use the highway. Cobb wants to widen the road, Fulton doesn't. Cobb says the traffic is too bad, Fulton says it's Cobb's fault. Back and forth. For twenty fucking years; finally Cobb widened their side and Fulton didn't, so there's a lovely bottleneck at the border, slowing traffic down to an insane degree.
This sort of nonsense happens all the time. If there was less petty counties (why do we need 'counties' anyway? This isn't the 18th century where we need to localize everything!) to bicker with each other, or if Atlanta had the authority to tell them to quit behaving like children and widen the damned road, things would be a lot better.
4. Nonstop construction.
A week ago the road was fine, and then suddenly, there's a crisis at 5:15pm on Thursday afternoon that necessitates ripping apart a main road, while one guy with a shovel "works" and nine other guys sort of stand around and point? I don't fucking think so!
Construction should be limited to evening and night hours only, and if there's no construction going on, then get those fucking orange cones out of the lane. (No, I don't mean the lane they're working on, I mean the ones that were carelessly placed halfway into the neighboring lane, the one we're supposed to be driving on.)
6. People drive like jerks.
Yeah, that's right. The biggest problem is people. Of course I cannot truthfully state that we have more assholes here than other cities, but it certainly seems that way. People speed like demons on winding narrow roads, or travel under the speed limit for no discernable reason. They slow down to ridiculous fractions of a snail's pace so they can gawk and rubberneck - half the time it isn't even an accident, just someone getting pulled over.
A lot of this one could be remedied if people would follow these simple steps:
If you are passed by someone in the lane to your left, move one lane left.
Repeat as necessary.
7. No public transit.
You covered this one already, but I'd like to expound upon it. MARTA is a bloody joke, so useless that riding it is something of a new and exciting novelty to people. It has a very limited range and doesn't cover even a tenth of the city. For the suburbanites and those on the outer rim such as myself, it's even worse - MARTA doesn't come to us, or our counties, run by racist fucks, won't allow MARTA in (it will bring in the "bad element" from the city, they say, which is their code for "black people"). So Cobb has their own little bus system called CCT, which hardly ever runs anyway, and is supposed to connect to MARTA bus points, only it doesn't, and anyway, busses aren't much better than cars; they're sitting in the same stupid traffic.
Again, we have an example of counties having far too much power - unnecessary power - which they wield for antisocial and idiotic ends. Atlanta, again, should be able to step in, tell them to STFU, and put a fucking MARTA rail in, and zoom the commuters into downtown at high speed. It'd be great.
I think I should just take off to a safe distance and launch tac missiles at the city until I'm sure it's vaporized.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.