For immediate release:
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Contact: Michelle Ernst, Damien Newton
Tri-State Transportation Campaign
212-268-7474

1 in 10 New Jersey Residents Taking Transit to Work

Transit Use Growing Faster than Driving

A new report from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign finds that more than 1 in 10 New Jersey residents is taking transit to work, and that mass transit use is growing at twice the rate of driving. From 1997 to 2004, the number of miles traveled by transit (including commuter rail, light rail and buses) grew 30 percent. During the same period, the number of miles driven by car and truck grew 15 percent.

“Ten percent is an important benchmark for New Jersey, making it the leading transit riding state after New York,” said the Campaign’s Executive Director, Jon Orcutt. “New Jersey’s investment in rail and buses is paying off.”

The report, The State of Transportation 2006: Benchmarks for Sustainable Transportation in New Jersey, examines trends in 25 different measures of transportation in New Jersey, including infrastructure, service, travel choices, congestion and crowding, reliability, and impacts on the state’s economy and environment. The report is illustrated with more than 50 graphs, tables and maps, and is intended to set clear measures of the state’s progress toward a more balanced, environment-friendly and reliable transportation system.

“New Jersey has made real strides in getting its transportation policies right. This report will help us measure the impacts of those policies on people riding and driving in New Jersey,” said Mr. Orcutt.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Economic growth in New Jersey has proceeded without corresponding gains in mileage driven – economic growth in the state has decoupled itself to some degree from steep increases in traffic and is becoming more “transportation efficient.” The number of miles driven for each dollar of economic output produced in the state has fallen 5 percent from 1997 to 2004.
  • Freight movement, and particularly truck travel, is growing much faster than passenger travel, and managing this trend looms as a major challenge for state transportation planners and municipal officials.
  • The state has made little or no progress on reducing roadway deaths, with total traffic fatalities averaging about 740 and never dropping below 720 annual deaths.
  • New Jersey has made some improvement in road and bridge conditions over the period from 1997 to 2004, though in recent years roads and bridges have begun to deteriorate again. At 13.5 percent, New Jersey has the nation’s highest percentage of lane miles in “poor” condition.
  • As of 2004, energy consumption for transportation, especially gasoline, continued to increase as residents traded cars for SUVs and light trucks. This trend may be moderating today due to recent increases in gasoline prices.
  • Transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions are growing at a rapid rate. Even as emissions of federally-regulated pollutants from cars and trucks has declined.
  • Bus and light rail reliability – measured by the frequency of vehicle breakdowns – has deteriorated even as the fleet grows younger.

The Campaign plans to update “The State of Transportation” on a biannual basis, monitoring the state’s progress on each of the included metrics.

Click here for the HTML version of the full report.

Click here for the PDF version of the full report.

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The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is an independent, non-profit policy and advocacy group promoting environment-friendly transportation policies in the New York metropolitan region.