Maintaining the performance of the northern New Jersey transportation system in serving one of the nation's most densely-populated regions presents many challenges. Improvements in the transportation system must be made compatible with the achievement of other regional goals involving environment protection, quality of life, social equity, efficient land use and public safety.
In responding to these challenges, the NJTPA is guided by six goals:
- Protect and improve the quality of natural ecosystems and the human environment.
- Provide affordable, accessible and dynamic transportation systems responsive to current and future customers.
- Retain and increase economic activity and competitiveness.
- Enhance system coordination, efficiency, and intermodal connectivity.
- Maintain a safe and reliable transportation system in a state of good repair.
- Support the coordination of land use with transportation systems.
The NJTPA prioritizes proposed projects according to how well they meet criteria and performance measures related to each goal. The goals also provide direction for the NJTPA's planning activities and those of its member agencies. They were developed in 1995 based on discussions among members of the NJTPA Board, staff of member agencies and input received from diverse transportation "stakeholders."
NJTPA's goals are consistent with the priorities established in federal law. In particular, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), which was enacted in 2005, is the guiding legislation for the transportation planning process carried out by MPO's such as the NJTPA. It calls for integrating all modes of transportation into a single, efficient and "seamless" transportation system. It establishes seven planning factors, each of which are related to NJTPA's goals, as follows:
- Support the economic vitality of the metropolitan area, especially by enabling global competitiveness, productivity and efficiency. (relates to NJTPA goals 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
- Increase the safety of the transportation system for motorized and nonmotorized users. (relates to NJTPA goal 5)
- Increase the security of the transportation system for motorized and nonmotorized users. (relates to NJTPA goal 5)
- Increase the accessibility and mobility of people and for freight. (relates to NJTPA goals 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
- Protect and enhance the environment, promote energy conservation, improve the quality of life, and promote consistency between transportation improvements and state and local planned growth and economic development patterns. (relates to NJTPA goals 1, 3 and 6)
- Enhance the integration and connectivity of the transportation system, across and between modes, for people and freight. (relates to NJTPA goals 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
- Emphasize the preservation of the existing transportation system. (relates to NJTPA goals 1 through 6)