The NJTPA bases planning decisions on the performance of the transportation system, particularly how well it provides accessibility and mobility to the region’s travelers. Fundamentally, this is about questions such as: How reliable is the transportation system? Can people readily access employment? Do they have access to transit? How bad are highway delays? Is freight movement efficient? How safe and convenient is travel by bicycle and on foot?
To address these issues, the NJTPA analyzes a wide variety of data and identifies beneficial types of improvements throughout the region through an established process that includes Strategy Evaluation, Strategy Refinement, and other planning work by NJTPA member and partner agencies that are incorporated in Plan 2035.
Strategy Evaluation is the NJTPA’s process for systematically investigating complex accessibility and mobility issues and needs around the region. Congestion is one of the key focuses of Strategy Evaluation. Indeed, because of the prevalence of congestion in metropolitan areas, Congress has mandated that Metropolitan Planning Organizations like the NJTPA establish a Congestion Management Process (CMP) to address the issue. The Strategy Evaluation process is the core of the NJTPA's designated CMP.
However, in addition to assessing congestion on the roadway system, Strategy Evaluation also assesses needs involving bus and rail transit, ridesharing, walking and bicycling, and freight transportation. And since these types of issues deal with the fundamental nature and capacity of the transportation system, Strategy Evaluation intrinsically considers the connections with related travel markets, development, land use and environmental concerns.
Strategy Evaluation is followed by Strategy Refinement. Strategy recommendations are further analyzed and developed in Strategy Refinement, crystallized as concepts for future improvement projects on the highway and transit networks. Each concept includes an assessment of specific needs and strategies, anticipated benefits, basic consideration of environmental issues in the area, cost estimates and recommendations for implementation.
While concepts emerge through many avenues in the NJTPA process, those developed in the performance-based Strategy Evaluation and Refinement are important candidates for future project development and implementation.
The Strategy Evaluation study is rooted in the broad priorities set out in the NJTPA’s Regional Capital Investment Strategy. Numerous focused studies conducted by the NJTPA, subregional agencies, and partner implementing agencies investigate accessibility and mobility for particular corridors, travel modes and markets. From a systems-wide performance perspective, NJTPA Regional Safety Planning and Freight Planning are complementary planning efforts,. The NJTPA has also partnered with the NJDOT on the statewide Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan, and continues to coordinate with NJDOT on operation of the pavement and bridge infrastructure management systems.