Trucks carried more than 90 percent of the domestic freight that travels through Hudson County in 2020, a level that’s expected to continue through 2050. While that can be a boon for employment and jobs, it can also present challenges when it comes to traffic, congestion and safety.
The Hudson County Truck Routes Assessment, funded through the NJTPA’s Subregional Studies Program, aimed to establish a comprehensive understanding of trucking’s impact on the infrastructure, economy and communities while also making recommendations to help trucks move more efficiently and reduce negative impacts on residents.
"A coordinated, long-term, strategic truck movement plan helps prioritize projects and ensure resources are used efficiently,” the study noted. “A combination of policies, regulations, infrastructure improvements, and enforcement aid in improving efficiencies, sustainability, and reducing impacts.”
Recommendations in the recently completed 331-page study ranged from the seemingly simple, such as designating curbside loading zones, adding signage and boosting enforcement on residential streets, to more innovative, like designating flexible shared space to serve as loading/unloading during peak commercial hours and general parking at other times, to encouraging the use of new technologies like e-cargo bikes to reduce truck deliveries.
The recommendations are organized by commercial, industrial, and residential.
The study also developed truck circulation and safety recommendations for nine geographic focus areas that were identified through stakeholder and public input as having significant truck traffic:
- Harrison Avenue and Newark-Jersey City Turnpike (Harrison and Kearny)
- Fish House Road/Pennsylvania Avenue/Central Avenue (Kearny)
- North Bergen and Union City
- North Hudson (consisting of West Side Avenue, US Route 1&9/Tonnelle Avenue, JFK Boulevard, and Bergenline Avenue)
- Journal Square (Jersey City)
- Global Container Terminal (Bayonne)
The study acknowledges that many of the recommendations will require coordination with municipalities while some may not be applicable or desired in certain communities.
Although crashes involving trucks represent a small proportion of total crashes within the County, specific areas see high frequencies of crashes, in particular sideswipe crashes, according to the study.
Enforcement and signage can help to keep large trucks off local roads and on more appropriate larger regional roadways, according to the study. Heavy trucks generally remain on the large truck network, however, medium-sized trucks use roads throughout the county for local deliveries. Medium trucks are defined as Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of 7 to 13 tons and heavy trucks are those with GVW of more than 13 tons.
While the demand for goods continues to increase, the available space for roadways and infrastructure is static,” the study notes. “To meet the needs of goods movement, the efficiency of existing facilities and infrastructure must be increased while improving safety and preventing harm to our communities and residents – something that can only be achieved through strategic planning, design, policy, and investment to enhance the current system without disruption.”
The final report is available here.