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US 1 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

Background

The Route 1 Corridor has experienced considerable growth and increasing traffic congestion during the last two decades. By the year 2020, traffic volumes are expected to increase by as much as 55 percent, vehicle hours of travel will increase by 118 percent and average roadway travel speed will drop by 29 percent. Presently, there is limited public transit in the area to provide an alternate means of travel. Analyses completed to date suggest that a BRT system together with smart growth land use development, implementation of travel demand reduction strategies and highway improvements could reduce the anticipated growth in roadway congestion.

A major early undertaking of the Forum involved testing alternative transportation and land use scenarios through the use of transportation simulation models. Forum members participated in a Smart Growth charette and selected light rail transit (LRT). Using input from the charette, NJ Transit staff developed a tentative alignment and modeled ridership potential for LRT with feeder shuttle services and changes in land use to increase densities near stations. This alternative still fell well below the minimum ridership criteria. The analysis led to the conclusion that BRT would be a more practical alternative as it has a lower ridership requirement and would better serve the dispersed pattern of ridership boardings characteristic of the corridor. This analysis is summarized in Central Jersey Transportation Forum: Executive Summary, published in July 2002.

Study Scope

The alternatives analysis was managed by NJ TRANSIT and advanced in close collaboration with its funding partners: NJDOT, DVRPC and NJTPA. The study is an outgrowth of the work of the Central Jersey Transportation Forum and the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association. The study evaluated route alternatives, including use of existing roads with improvements and new alignments, station locations, ridership, potential for coordination with private sector development, municipal plans and cost effectiveness.

Study Results

In March, 2006 NJ TRANSIT released the Executive Summary and Report on the BRT Alternatives Analysis Study. The Executive Summary [4.4 MB .pdf] (31 pages with graphics) is available for download. The full report is too large for reasonable downloading. To obtain a copy on CD, send an e-mail that includes mailing information and a phone number to Sheila Evans (SEvans@njtransit.com).

For questions about the contents of the study, contact project manager Thomas Marchwinski at Tmarchwinski@njtransit.com or 973-491-7751. Additional contacts for the project are Mike Viscardi at Mviscardi@njtransit.com, Terrence Sobers at Tsobers@njtransit.com, and Tom Clark, Manager, Government and Community Affairs at Tclark@njtransit.com.

Next Steps

In July, 2006 the Central Jersey Transportation Forum unanimously endorsed the Study and encouraged continuing progress on a US 1 BRT. The project has identified a short-term implementation plan for a smaller project focused on the next 2 to 6 years. Below are the latest materials presented at the Forum:

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Resources

This sample of information sources was compiled by DVRPC, NJTPA, and NJ Transit

  • The National Transit Institute (NTI) and SEPTA sponsored a workshop on BRT held in Philadelphia in 2005. Several people continue to speak highly of the presentation given by Alan Hoffman. His presentations on BRT and Transit Oriented Development are available at www.missiongrouponline.com.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has one of the oldest BRT/busway systems in the United States. See the Port Authority of Alleghany County web site for more information at
    Port Authority of Alleghany County.
  • Connecticut has multiple BRT projects in various stages of development. More information is available at www.ctbusway.com
  • Westchester County, New York has a BRT study underway with the same consultant who worked on the Route 1 BRT study, STV Inc. Information is available at www.westchestergov.com/transportation/bus_rapid_transit.htm
  • The National BRT Institute at the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida is a major clearinghouse. Their website is www.nbrti.org
  • NTI runs a course, "Characteristics and Planning of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)". As of 2007, they updated the exercises to use the Forum's Route 1 BRT maps. The course is free for public officials. Information is available at www.NTIonline.com
  • Recent relevant reports include: