What is now the Madison Athens-Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study (MACORTS) was formed in 1969 to provide a transportation planning mechanism for the urbanized area. Through the years, the area included in MACORTS has been expanded to include the northern half of Oconee County and the southernmost portion of Madison County, as well as all of Athens-Clarke County. Small portions of Oglethorpe and Jackson Counties were added in 2013, though they opted not to participate in the planning process.
As one of 16 federally mandated metropolitan planning organizations in Georgia, MACORTS is the conduit through which federal transportation funds come to the urbanized area. The Governor of Georgia designated the Athens-Clarke County Planning Department as the home of the administrative office of MACORTS.