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Emerging Centers


Artists rendering of future centerPlanning for Emerging Centers provides technical assistance to support municipal efforts to create more sustainable, transit-supportive and walkable communities. Through this program, the NJTPA provides consultant and staff support to municipalities to conduct various planning studies including integrating transportation into land use plans, transit area plans, multimodal (e.g. vehicular, bus, bike, pedestrian) circulation elements of master plans, climate change and sustainability plans and others. The program seeks to advance the goals of the NJTPA Long Range Transportation Plan (Plan 2050).   

A solicitation for funding proposals is conducted periodically. A committee of NJTPA staff and representatives of NJDOT, NJ TRANSIT, and RTAC reviews and scores municipal applications to select program participants.

Active Projects

Town of Harrison (Hudson County) – Complete Streets Policy and Implementation Plan
The Town of Harrison is seeking assistance to create a Complete Streets Policy and Implementation Plan, which will re-imagine Harrison’s streets to better accommodate residents and visitors of all ages and abilities and enhance the Town’s position as a vibrant, transit-oriented, walkable community. Complete Streets is an approach to building and maintaining roads to provide safe and adequate accommodation of all users of the transportation system, including pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation users, children, older individuals, individuals with disabilities, motorists, and freight vehicles. This study will create a Complete Streets policy, recommend updates to municipal procedures such as Subdivision and Site Plan Review, and produce a graphical street design guide containing specific recommendations and implementation steps. Community outreach will take the form of surveys, interviews, and in-person walkability workshops. This project is ongoing and will be completed in June 2024. Learn more and get involved at the project website:

Completed Projects

Borough of Raritan (Somerset County) - Sustainable Economic Development Plan (2021)
The Borough of Raritan sought assistance with creating a Sustainable Economic Development Plan to help maintain and expand existing employment and economic activity in the downtown. This project resulted in the creation of the Downtown Raritan Vision Plan and an Implementation Toolbox. The Plan is a 10-year economic, land-use and multi-modal vision for Downtown Raritan. The Implementation Toolbox will help guide the Borough and partners in implementing the Vision Plan. It includes specific action items and steps for completing them. The documents were created through extensive community engagement. Click here to read our NJTPA Update Blog post about this study. 

Borough of Keyport (Monmouth County) - Complete Streets Policy and Implementation Plan (2021)
The Borough of Keyport sought assistance in developing a Complete Streets Policy and Implementation Plan. Complete Streets are roads designed for users of all ability levels and all travel modes. They balance the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers, transit riders, emergency responders and goods movement. This study created a complete streets ordinance, which upon adoption would prioritize implementing complete streets in all design, planning, construction and maintenance projects. This project also created a Complete Streets Design Guide and Complete Streets Implementation Guide to help identify priority locations and potential improvements. Click here to read our NJTPA Update Blog post about this study. 

City of Hoboken (Hudson County) - Complete Streets Design and Implementation Plan (2019)
The City of Hoboken sought assistance with updating its five-year-old Complete Streets Policy with a new design guide, policy, ordinance, and checklists.  The Hoboken Street Design Guide is a road map that provides policy and design guidance to all parties involved in street design decisions, including governmental agencies, consultants, private developers, and community groups. The Design Guide provides information on the City’s adopted street typology and contains specific guidance on the appropriate bicycle, pedestrian, transit, and travelway treatments to apply within each street type. The guide will enable planners, engineers, and policy makers to identify context-sensitive street elements that are consistent with Complete Streets best practices and suitable for Hoboken’s unique context, while incorporating green infrastructure to address resiliency. The overall goal of this project is to support development of streets that are safe and accessible for all users.

Town of Boonton (Morris County) - Transit Village Initiative Planning (2018)
The Town of Boonton sought technical assistance to undertake planning efforts that would sharpen its focus on achieving Transit Village designation by NJDOT for the area surrounding the Boonton train station. Significant community outreach and engagement helped shift that vision and focus toward initiatives that will enhance Main Street businesses, improve pedestrian safety and parking, provide attractive new public spaces, and increase housing choices within the Study Area. Zoning and other regulatory changes are proposed as part of the Vision Plan that seeks to leverage the community’s overlooked and under-utilized assets and create a more pleasant experience for those who live, work or frequently visit the downtown.  The plan includes a variety of strategies such as parking management, downtown circulation and streetscape improvements, and public spaces that the town can pursue as it carries out its vision.
Borough of Freehold (Monmouth County)- Transit Village Initiative Planning (2018)
In pursuit of NJDOT Transit Village Designation, the Borough of Freehold wanted to build on its Freehold Center Core Revitalization Plan (2008) to explore the creation of a Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) zoning district around the Freehold Center Bus Station. The resulting Freehold Downtown Vision Plan outlines a comprehensive redevelopment plan for the Transit Gateway Area and the Courthouse Square Area. A “toolkit” section provides guidance on pursuing redevelopment that incorporates TOD strategies, economic and environmental sustainability, improved safety and mobility, parking management, creative place making, and redevelopment methods and opportunities. The recommendations for site design, architecture and parking guidelines not only align with Transit Village Designation Criteria, but also present the most viable pathways for redeveloping the downtown in accordance with the local officials and public visioning.

Green Brook Township’s project focused on zoning amendments to the existing Township Village Commercial District in order to facilitate successful development of a Village Center. The project team divided the Village Center into three districts with distinct functions: the Village Commercial District provides a concentration of commercial, mixed use and public realm improvements; the Village Gateway District better connects pedestrians and transit users from Route 22 to the Commercial District; and the Residential/Office District preserves the historic residential character while permitting more small scale office uses proximate to the Commercial District. The Final Vision Report also outlines recommendations within each district for public realm improvements, branding, regulatory changes, improving transit access and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and reducing traffic and congestion along Washington Avenue and Green Brook Road.

Pilot Projects

The Planning for Emerging Centers Program initially undertook two pilot projects and were successfully completed in 2014: 

Morristown: Morristown Moving Forward
Using the Mobility and Community Form model created by the NJDOT (  The NJTPA and the Town of Morristown, Morris County, worked together to create an innovative unified land use and mobility master plan element that addresses redevelopment opportunities and transportation with a single set of goals, objectives, actions and performance measures. Engaging residents, business owners, and public sector partners in defining a vision for Morristown, this effort developed an inclusive, innovative plan that will help create a more walkable, transit-friendly community while improving access to opportunities for residents, workers, and visitors. 

Adopted Plan

Bound Brook Urban Design Plan Implementation Project
Through this effort, the NJTPA worked with the Borough of Bound Brook, Somerset County, to develop a number of regulatory updates and planning recommendations to implement Bound Brook’s award-winning Urban Design Plan and make this state-designated Transit Village more attractive to residents, businesses, visitors, and others looking to invest in this historic borough.