North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority is Seeking Public Input for Long-Term Transportation Plan

Image © ntjpa.org

How will people get around 30 years from now? What are the best ways to make transportation safer and more efficient? How will autonomous vehicles, new apps and other emerging technologies affect how we get around? These are just some of the questions the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) is asking the public as it creates Plan 2045: Connecting North Jersey, the region’s next long-range transportation plan.

The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for 13 northern New Jersey counties. Under federal legislation, MPOs provide a forum where local officials, public transportation providers and state agency representatives can come together and cooperatively plan to meet the region’s current and future transportation needs. It establishes the region’s eligibility to receive federal tax dollars for transportation projects.

The NJTPA Board consists of one local elected official from each of the 13 counties in the region (Bergen, Essex, Hudson (County Executive, Thomas DeGise), Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren), and the cities of Jersey City (Mayor Steven Fulop) and Newark. The Board also includes a Governor’s Representative, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the Executive Director of NJ TRANSIT, the Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and a Citizen’s Representative appointed by the Governor.

Each year about $1 billion in federal funds is invested into the transportation system in northern and central New Jersey. Metropolitan Planning Organizations, like the NJTPA, must update their regional transportation plans every four years so that their regions can obtain and invest federal transportation funding. This reflects the need for transportation investments to be based on a comprehensive assessment of long-term needs, rather than piecemeal responses to current problems. This long-range plan serves as a blueprint for these investments over the next 25 years. The last update, Plan 2040, was adopted in September 2013.

The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority is holding events throughout the coming weeks to solicit public input for Plan 2045.

Upcoming Events Include:

Jersey City: Information table and interactive survey at the Journal Square Farmers Market (Kennedy Blvd. at Journal Square Plaza – at the Fountain & Kiosk) on Friday, May 19 starting at 11 am.

Bergen County: Information table and interactive survey at Westfield Garden State Plaza, 1 Garden State Plaza, in Paramus on Saturday, April 29 starting at 10 am.

Union County: Information table and interactive survey at Wild Earth Fest/Touch-a-Truck at the Trailside Nature Preserve, 452 New Providence Road, in Mountainside on Sunday, April 30 starting at 11 am.

Morris County: Information table and interactive survey at the Chester Food Truck Festival at the Municipal Field, 134 Main Street, in Chester on Saturday, May 6 starting at 11 am.

Warren County: Information table and interactive survey at Warren County Preservation Day at the Van Nest Hoff Vannatta Farmstead, 3026 Belvidere Road, in Harmony Township on Sunday, May 21.

Middlesex County: Presentation and interactive polling exercise at the County Transportation Coordinating Council Meeting in the County Administration Building, 75 Bayard St., in New Brunswick on Tuesday, May 23 at 7 pm.

Hunterdon County: Public workshop featuring the interactive survey at the Route 12 County Complex, Building One, 314 State Route 12, in Flemington on Thursday May 25 from 6 to 8 pm.

Preliminary forecasts for population and employment for the NJTPA region have been released. They will be used in the preparation of Plan 2045.

Population Growth by County

Chart © North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority

Regional Trends Include:

  • The region’s population will grow from 6.7 million to 7.7 million by 2045 (+17%), requiring additional housing, jobs and transportation.
  • The number of people employed in the region will increase from 3 million to 3.4 million by 2045 (+13%), leading more people to rely on transit for their commutes.
  • Fewer young people are driving, instead they rely on mass transit (vehicle miles traveled per capital by 16-34 year olds is down 23%) placing further demand on a system that is already operating close to capacity.
  • The region’s transportation infrastructure is aging. By 2045, many of the nearly 4,900 bridges in the region will be nearing the end of their life expectancy, requiring a significant investment to maintain these critical connectors.
  • The region remains vulnerable to severe weather events and this will worsen as sea levels rise. By 2100, overall sea level is expected to rise 6.6 feet making it more important than ever to make the transportation system more resilient.
  • The need to advance new trans-Hudson rail tunnels remains a top priority. Nearly 238,000 residents in the region commute by bus or train to New York City and that is expected to increase significantly by 2045.

Additional events are being planned and will be posted online. Northern and Central Jersey residents interested in participating can also take an online survey on the NJTPA website. For more information, visit ntjpa.org.

Catherine Hecht

is the owner of Harmony Media, NJ, the publisher of Jersey City Independent and blogs about urban gardening at dig a path. She’s lived in Jersey City since 1999 and resides in the Heights section with her wife Beth Achenbach, they were the first couple to file as legal domestic partners in Jersey City. Cat has over 10 years experience in communications, marketing and publishing, she’s studied anthropology, art history, woman & gender studies, botany, ethnobotany, and herbology and she is a graduate of the Rising Tide Capital Community Business Academy. She is also is a community activist, registered voter, gay rights activist, art lover, gardener, environmentalist, and an animal advocate.