The Metropolitan Area Planning (MAP) Forum, a consortium of nine metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, met Dec. 6 to discuss common issues and concerns, and proposed projects affecting the region.
NJTPA Chairman Angel Estrada welcomed attendees to the annual meeting, held at NJTPA in Newark. He said the forum allows the MPOs to coordinate and discuss the “complex transportation challenges and related issues that cross our jurisdictional borders.”
He noted that during the NJTPA’s recent federal certification review, the U.S. Department of Transportation representatives recognized the MAP Forum’s effectiveness.
“This strong validation from our federal funding agencies gives us renewed energy and an even stronger sense of purpose as we continue our collaborative work together,” he said. This includes the advancement of trans-Hudson improvements, which has become “a pressing safety and security issue that must be addressed,” he said.
The meeting included a discussion of a work program to guide the forum over the coming year, followed by presentations and discussions of multi-state activities in three areas. First, Gerry Bogacz, New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, highlighted the activities of the Multi-State Freight Working Group, which has been focusing on the integration of freight and land use development, as well as changes in freight patterns due to growing e-commerce.
Next, Rick Cippoletti, NJTPA, spoke about MPO coordination in preparing for transformative technologies such as greater numbers of electric vehicles and the prospect of automated vehicles. He also highlighted MPO coordination in preparing federally required performance measures and improvements in transportation modeling.
There was also a discussion on resiliency. Jeff Perlman, NJTPA, addressed efforts to implement the findings of the federally sponsored multi-state study of impacts of Hurricane Sandy and other storms. The NJTPA, he said, is coordinating a resiliency study of the Passaic River Basin, which includes participation by New York representatives.
The meeting also included presentations on sustainability, including the results of federal sustainable communities grants in New York-Connecticut and in North Jersey. Shawn Brede, New York Department of City Planning, discussed efforts to build upon the New York-Connecticut sustainability plan by fostering transit-oriented development around four proposed new Metro North rail stations in the Bronx. Miriam Salerno, Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University, discussed the ongoing technical assistance provided by the Together North Jersey consortium, which was created with support from the federal grant. Becky Bradley, Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, addressed sustainability programs in Lehigh Valley.
The next meeting of the MAP Forum in planned for the spring.