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Target is vehicular traffic congestion along I-78 corridor

September 10, 2007

NEWARK, NJ ó Initiatives to increase the use of public transportation along the increasingly congested I-78 and Raritan Valley Line corridors will be explored in a study approved today by the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors.

The study will build upon a North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) study and advance some of the NJTPA recommendations for non-highway solutions to meet the regionís current and future mobility demands.

"This study will help NJ TRANSIT identify opportunities as we look to offer transportation alternatives to residents and employers alike in a growing section of the state," said NJ TRANSIT Chairman and Transportation Commissioner Kris Kolluri.

Among the specific items to be evaluated and advanced to the conceptual design phase will be the creation of new or expanded multi-modal park-and-ride facilities and the potential extension of rail service on the Raritan Valley Line westward from High Bridge to Phillipsburg.

"As we move forward with our analysis of the regional transportation network capacity and needed improvements, we will continue to reach out to local communities to address their concerns as we help to shape solutions that will benefit residents, the economy and the environment," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles.

"Our regionís residents want to be able to ride buses and trains," said NJTPA Chairman and Union County Freeholder Daniel P. Sullivan. "The I-78 study will develop transit options to accommodate their complex travel needs. The result will be a more efficient transportation system for all."

"This study will provide an opportunity for the public to get involved and learn about the regionís transportation challenges and the range of mass transit options that could help alleviate congestion," said NJTPA board member and Hunterdon County Freeholder George Muller.

NJ TRANSIT awarded a $1.2 million contract to Systra Consulting Inc. of Little Falls after a committee consisting of NJ TRANSIT and NJTPA officials evaluated six proposals. Expected to be completed by the end of 2008, the study will be federally funded.

The initial NJTPA study, which was initiated in 2006, developed a program of recommendations that were released in Spring 2007, including:

  • New or expanded multi-modal transit hubs
  • New bus service from the western parts of the corridor to major employment destinations along Route 22
  • Bus operations on roadway shoulders along congested highway sections

NJ TRANSIT is the nationís largest statewide public transportation system providing 865,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.