Hudson County recently completed a study to evaluate the feasibility and market demand for expanding ferry service.
The study identified six potential locations for ferry landings, based on bridge heights, water depths and existing transportation service, among other factors. This included Bayonne’s Newark Bay waterfront, the Bayfront Redevelopment Area in Jersey City, south Harrison, Hoboken, South Kearny, and West New York.
These initial locations were narrowed down to four sites for further analysis. Some locations were removed from consideration due to existing ferry operations or constraints, like shallow shorelines. In addition, travel through the Kill Van Kull would create logistical issues with barge traffic, and ferry travel from western Hudson County to existing landings in the Hudson River would not provide a time savings to passengers, so those locations were also eliminated.
The four sites selected for detailed modeling were Bayfront, west Bayonne, south Harrison, and South Kearny, with proposed routes developed to connect the sites and nearby destinations. Focusing on the west side of Hudson County, the study was also able to concentrate efforts on the potential to provide transportation options for Hudson County’s environmental justice populations, including low-income and minority residents, as well as intra-New Jersey ferry service, which had not been analyzed before.
Although the study found that there was public and stakeholder interest in expanding ferry service, it determined there was not sufficient ridership demand at this time to make any of the routes feasible financially. However, proposed land developments around the areas studied could increase the number of potential riders in the future. The study recommends monitoring ridership demands and costs associated with expanding ferry service, and revisit implementing new service in the future.
This study was completed through the NJTPA’s Subregional Studies Program, which provides two-year grants on a competitive annual basis to the 13 counties and two cities — known as subregions — represented on the NJTPA Board.
The program aims to help subregions develop recommendations for transportation improvements consistent with the NJTPA’s Long Range Transportation Plan.
Click here to view the final report.