Public transit is a crucial component of the transportation system in the NJTPA region. This page provides an overview of key issues, trends and studies underway related to public transit. Further information can be obtained in the NJTPA's 2035 Regional Transportation Plan, Plan 2035. Appendix D is a Transit Investment Analysis (pdf - 118k)
The transit system in the NJTPA region, which consists of commuter rail, light rail, heavy rail, bus and ferry services, provides a fast and reliable means of moving 860,000 travelers each weekday. NJ Transit is the nation's third largest provider of bus, rail and light rail transit, linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia on 236 bus routes, 11 rail lines and three light rail lines. Private carriers also comprise a significant portion of the State’s bus network providing local and express service to a variety of intra-state and inter-state destinations, including New York and Philadelphia.
Numerous county and municipal transit services also operate to serve local work trips, connections to rail stations and other purposes (see NJTPA subregion page). Amtrak provides inter-city rail service in the Northeast Corridor linking New York, Newark, Trenton and points in between. The Port Authority of NY & NJ operates the PATH rail network, linking Newark, Harrison, Jersey City and Hoboken with Manhattan.
Investment in public transit remains a high priority in the NJTPA region, including strategic expansions to serve new markets. Every year, transit receives roughly half of the $2 billion annually allocated for transportation by the NJTPA. Most of this funding is used for maintenance and upkeep of existing transit vehicles, facilities and services. However, projects and programs to enhance and expand public transit play are allocated signficant funding.
As the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Northern New Jersey, the NJTPA plays a critical role in funding, managing and participating in various transit improvement studies and activities to ensure planning is done in context with the needs of the region.
Transit Studies Led by NJ Transit:
- Lackawanna Cut-Off Passenger Rail Study – The objective of the Lackawanna Cutoff project is to reinstitute passenger rail service on the abandoned rail right of way of the Lackawanna Cutoff from Roxbury, NJ to just over the Delaware River and over existing freight right of way in Pennsylvania. The reinstituted rail line would provide service from Scranton, PA to Hoboken, or to New York Penn Station via transfer to MidTown Direct service, by connecting to the existing NJ TRANSIT Montclair-Boonton and Morris & Essex Lines. More information is available on the Lackawanna Cut-Off Website.
- Central New Jersey/Raritan Valley Transit Study -This study provides an environmental and planning assessment of the possible extension of NJ Transit rail service to Phillipsburg, New Jersey, and several communities in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. The study is also analyzing potential bus service and shuttle enhancements, new park and ride locations, and bus priority treatments in the I-78 corridor as a follow-up to NJTPA's I-78 Corridor Transit Study (see below). The final report will be issued Spring, 2011.
Transit Studies Managed or Funded by NJTPA:
- Elizabeth Midtown Multi-Modal Integration Study - Conducted by the NJTPA, in coordination with NJ Transit, Union County and the City of Elizabeth, the study will develop a plan to integrate improvements being developed by NJ Transit for the Elizabeth rail station with the city’s ongoing redevelopment and revitalization efforts in the surrounding central business district. The station area includes busy roadways, a historic shopping district with significant pedestrian and bicycle activity, and eight local bus routes. The study will produce a conceptual plan for enhanced circulation, safety, and infrastructure for traffic, buses, pedestrians and bicycles on “gateway” corridors leading to the station. The plan will also identify opportunities to enhance transfers between rail and buses as part of an enhanced multi-modal transit center and improve the connection to current and future surrounding uses. The consultant for the study is AECOM. More information
- Flemington Corridor Transit Study - This study will look at developing initial concepts and evaluate the feasibility of instituting improved transit service in a busy east-west corridor roughly following US Routes 202 & 206 between Bound Brook in Somerset County and Flemington Borough in Hunterdon County. Both bus and rail options will be assessed in this study. One option that will be examined is a potential passenger rail service utilizing the Norfolk Southern Lehigh freight rail line and the Black River and Western freight rail line as far west as Flemington. Completion in 2012 is anticipated.
- Greater New Brunswick Bus Rapid Transit NJ Transit is studying the development of a Bus Rapid Transit system for the New Brunswick area in Middlesex County. This study will focus on two corridors along Route 18 and Route 27, crossing at the New Brunswick rail station. These corridors would connect residential areas with downtown New Brunswick, the Northeast Corridor rail line, the Rutgers University New Brunswick area campuses and other destinations, as well as potentially connecting to the proposed Route 1 BRT system to the south. A Phase I Summary Report and Study Fact Sheet have been completed. Click here to download the Final Report. A Phase II exercise to refine ridership estimates for the perspective BRT routes is anticipated for the summer of 2011.
- Hudson County Jitney Study - This study will identify ways to better integrate and regulate jitney operations, and provide for a safer, more efficient transportation service in Hudson County. This analysis and the recommendations that result from the study will assist state, county and local policy makers in better integrating jitney services into the overall transportation system. It is intended that the findings and recommendation of this study be applicable to other counties in the region that have a significant jitney presence. This study builds on an analysis completed in the Hudson County Bus Circulation and Infrastructure Study in 2007. This study will undertake a more detailed analysis of jitney operations, including a review of interstate and intrastate operating authorities, and research into the legal options of regulating services operated by federally licensed interstate providers. More information
- I-78 Corridor Transit Study – Phase I of this study was completed in fall 2007 and a second phase was launched in 2008. Phase I assessed the need, impact and feasibility of various transit strategies along the I-78 corridor between Lehigh County, Pennsylvania to the west and Somerset County, New Jersey to the east. Phase I of the study aimed to address primarily bus transit mobility needs through recommendations for bus service and shuttle enhancements, new park and ride locations, and bus priority treatments. NJ Transit is conducting a Phase II study called the Central New Jersey/Raritan Valley Transit Study. (See description above). More information is available on NJTPA’s I-78 Corridor Transit Study Webpage.
- Greater Newark Bus System Study – NJ Transit lead a three-year study which aims to improve bus and light rail services in the greater Newark area. Newark is served by 47 NJ TRANSIT bus routes and four Coach USA bus routes and is a multi-modal transfer hub for the entire region. The study area focuses primarily on Newark, Elizabeth and urban Essex County, but bus service improvements in this core area will positively impact service in Union, Passaic, Bergen and Hudson counties. The final report includes recommendations for improving connectivity of NJ TRANSIT rail, light rail and bus service in core areas of Newark, including areas near Newark Penn Station, Newark Broad Street Station and the intersection of Market and Broad streets. The study develops a comprehensive package of short, medium and long-term recommendations, including service strategies, such as the speedier GoBus service (recently implemented), to improve reliability and provide needed service to existing and potential new bus riding customers. A final report is available at the link above.
- Northwest New Jersey Bus Study - In December, 2010 the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and NJ TRANSIT completed a comprehensive needs analysis of bus, shuttle and ridesharing options in a study area that includes large portions of Sussex and Morris Counties, northern Warren County, and western Passaic County. A final report is available at the link above.
- Pedestrian Safety at Bus Stops Study -The study is being conducted in close collaboration with the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), NJ TRANSIT, and other agencies.
The study seeks to improve safety for bus riders at many thousands of bus stops in the northern New Jersey region. Its centerpiece will be a safety educational awareness campaign to raise awareness about safety for both pedestrians and motorists. The study will also make recommendations related to physical improvements and design guidelines to create safer bus stops. The physical improvements will consider bus stop design and location, pedestrian signage/signals, pavement markings and area illumination. More information
- Route 1 Bus Rapid Transit - The NJTPA has joined with NJDOT, NJ Transit and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission in funding a study of a Bus Rapid Transit System along the US Route 1 corridor in Middlesex, Somerset, and Mercer Counties. The BRT plan involves a combination of dedicated roadways, priority for buses on major roadways and at intersections and other features. These improvements are expected to expedite bus service in the area and provide an alternative mode of travel. The study is an outgrowth of the work of the Central New Jersey Transportation Forum. An Executive Summary for the BRT Study released in March 2006 and more recent materials from the Forum can be found at on the Route 1 BRT Website.
- Route 440 Hudson Bergen Light Rail Extension Study - This NJ TRANSIT led study explores the feasibility of extending Hudson-Bergen Light Rail service farther west in Jersey City from its current western terminus at West Side Avenue Station to a redevelopment zone near Route 440 along the Hackensack Riverfront. The Final Alternatives Analysis Report is available to review on the project website.
The 13 counties and two major cities represented on the NJTPA Board – known as "subregions" – carry out transportation planning work that helps the NJTPA identify and address local and county-level transportation needs, including transit. More information on these studies is available on the NJTPA Subregions Page.