TMA Council of NJ - Fall 2020
New Jersey's Transportation Management Associations
are busy working to improve mobility and sustainability where you live and work.
In this issue, we share how they are accomplishing these tasks during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
EZ Shuttle Services
At EZ Ride, the health and safety of our riders come first always and every time. To ensure your protection, we test our drivers regularly. In fact, after conducting more than 1,000 tests, not once did a driver test positive. We disinfect our shuttles several times a day using an Electrostatic Sprayer, which is also used by major airlines. To ensure everyone's safety, we require all riders and drivers to wear a face-covering in our shuttles and practice social distancing. Here is a short video that demonstrates our efforts to ensure your safety.
Please visit our shuttles page to confirm the operational status of your shuttle.
Hudson TMA: Fall of 2020
The Hudson TMA recognizes the impact that electric vehicles make in reducing emissions that contribute to climate change and smog. Our staff has been dedicated to assisting drivers in making the decision to trade-in for an eco-friendly vehicle. To help motorists make that change, the Hudson TMA has been providing the public with information on the benefits, as well as the ease, of making the transition to an electric vehicle. To learn more about EVs and to lessen your carbon foot print, go to www.hudsontma.org. There you can also allay any concerns you may have about charging stations available for your use. Use our interactive map provided by PlugShare.com, to locate EV charging stations not only in Hudson County, but throughout the United States.
To see additional information on making the transition from conventional vehicles, follow the Hudson TMA on FaceBook where the subject of plug-in electric vehicles have been a regular part of our social media campaigns. Watch a humorous video campaign on electric vehicles featuring comedian Tom Papa. Other weekly posts have highlighted topics such as the convenience of electric vehicles, locating charging stations as well as the sleek designs and features of new electric vehicles.
Consider reversing the course of climate change and green house gas emissions with clean air technology that also saves you money!
goHunterdon Program Teaches Students
About Electric Vehicles
goHunterdon’s Electric Vehicle Challenge program engages students to learn about alternative energy and electric vehicles by designing, building, and racing electrically powered model cars.
The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) aligned curriculum provides an opportunity for middle school students to learn about alternative energy in a “hands on” way.
Lessons on vehicle emissions, alternative fuels, aerodynamics, gears, and design are followed by students working individually to transform simple components (motor, wheels, axles, and a battery pack) into a unique and functioning model race car. Beyond the provided materials, students may use anything they like to build their vehicle.
Students learn about the environmental impacts of fossil fuels and how electric vehicles offer an alternative to the traditional combustion engine used in many cars. The EV Challenge supports New Jersey’s New Jersey Electric Vehicle goals. The EV Challenge Program is being offered as “in person” classroom lessons and remote learning approaches based on particular school needs.
For more information: https://www.gohunterdon.org/sustainable-hunterdon/ev-challenge
Reckless Driving Leads to Pedestrian & Bicycle
Safety Concerns During the Pandemic
Many people are driving less. Those places where you always seemed to hit traffic, no matter what time of day, may now not seem so dreaded. It also has been common to hear people have been walking and biking more. Bike stores are running out of stock. Local trails are packed with walkers. However, less traffic has not resulted in less deadly crashes on New Jersey’s roads. And with rising bicycle and pedestrian activity, this could be a significant concern to those who have embraced active transportation as a more regular part of their travel routine.
Crash fatalities have been rising during the summer and fall. In April, New Jersey traffic fatalities were 40% lower than the monthly average from 2015 – 2019. There were 26 traffic fatalities across New Jersey in April, the fewest for that month since 1968. As we moved into summer, this trend did not continue despite less traffic on the road. As seen in the table below, May and June both saw 48 deaths. This is an increase from 2019 fatalities for both months (44 in May 2019 and 45 in June 2019). Why has there been an increase in fatalities despite less cars on the road?
This problem could be caused by increased speeding seen throughout the state as a result of less vehicles on the road. New Jersey reported several cases of excessive speeding during the pandemic, including a driver traveling over 100 miles on I-80. While much of the evidence in New Jersey is anecdotal, other states have data to support the finding that instances of speeding are way up. New York City’s speed cameras issued 24,765 tickets during a single day on March 27, almost doubling February’s of daily average of 12,672.
If this problem persists, pedestrians and cyclists will face additional danger when going from place to place. To prevent this, the state, counties and municipalities must implement measures to increase safe driving. What are some measures that could be implemented to promote safe driving? Both infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions can work.
State and local roadways are often designed in a manner that allows drivers to feel comfortable exceeding the posted speed limit. On top of that, less cars on our roadways could make streets feel wide open, causing high speeds through downtowns and residential neighborhoods. Implementing Complete Streets strategies along roadways designed for high speeds could potentially prevent fatalities even with less cars on the road.
To provide ample space for residents to social distance, some New Jersey municipalities have implemented Slow Streets programs. While this started out of necessity during the pandemic, it also provides the opportunity to improve walking and biking conditions on local roadways by slowing cars down. Jersey City’s Slow Street Pilot Program states that drivers on designated streets must drive at 10 miles per hour. The city is also limiting these roadways to local traffic only by placing barricades and “Road Closed to Thru Traffic” signs at the selected roadway’s intersection. These quick design and signage changes can make for a more comfortable experience for residents living on streets where motorists speed is a concern or areas without more substantial pedestrian infrastructure.
Infrastructure changes alone are not enough to curb fatalities. A targeted education campaign, making drivers and pedestrians alike aware of laws and behavior changes that could prevent pedestrian and cyclist fatalities can also help. NJTPA’s Street Smart NJ program provides an educational safety campaign through videos, guides, social media and campaign materials. Cross County Connection conducted successful Street Smart NJ campaigns in Vineland, Bordentown and Collingswood. With the Street Smart NJ program, municipalities can target high crash locations and roadways with a prevalence of speeding through safety materials and outreach.
Making streets safer as more cars return to the road calls for an integrated approach. Small changes, such as limiting through traffic on a few residential streets, can make a big difference. These differences can make residents feel more comfortable when walking and biking on their local roadways as they continue to stay healthy and spend more time at home this fall and winter.
Cross County Connection is here to assist South Jersey municipalities in planning and developing infrastructure recommendations and education programs to improve bicyclist and pedestrian safety. Contact Patrick Farley, Cross County Connection’s Program Director, by email or phone at 856-596-8228 to learn more about the Street Smart program and our Complete Streets and bicycle and pedestrian planning services. By working together, we can implement some simple but highly effective improvements to keep South Jersey pedestrians and bicyclists safer.
The TransOptions 2020 Annual Report
is Officially Here!
TransOptions’ latest annual report is now available for your reading pleasure and we are very excited to unveil it! Learn more about all our programs and their positive impact through testimonials and data and discover how we can help you and your community! Flip through and also take a look at our current New Jersey Smart Workplaces and Safe Routes to School Recognition Program winners. New this year are quick facts on how our organization transitioned to a more digital world in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. To read the complete report, please click here.
RideWise Presents Sustainable Jersey
Last month, RideWise began a Sustainable Jersey Webinar Series in partnership with the Somerset County Green Leadership Hub to encourage municipalities in Somerset County to pursue Sustainable Jersey actions related to Transportation, Health & Wellness, and Energy. The webinars, which are open to the public, are the latest in RideWise’s work to continuously promote safe and sustainable transportation while opportunities for traditional outreach are limited during COVID-19 closures and restrictions.
“These webinars provide a perfect opportunity to educate our municipal partners on the Sustainable Jersey actions we can help them with, while also highlighting and celebrating the many municipalities that are currently working on safe and sustainable transportation projects,” RideWise Community Outreach Coordinator Sara Catherine Lichon said. “This new form of outreach helps us reach multiple municipalities at once, and fosters new connections and collaboration.”
The first webinar in the series, “Electric Vehicles in Somerset County,” was presented on October 15 with ten people in attendance. Engaging presentations were given by Eve Gabel-Frank, Associate of ChargEVC and Gabel Associates who spoke about the NJ electric vehicle law and rebate and incentive programs; Paul McCall, Director of Somerset County Public Works who discussed the electrification of Somerset County’s fleet; and Andras Holzmann, Senior Planner for Somerset County Planning who discussed the county’s Electric Vehicles Readiness Plan.
Two webinars on walkability & bikeability were presented to twelve people on October 29 and November 5, focusing on audits and travel plans. During Part 1: Audits, James Sinclair, Research Manager for the Bicycle and Pedestrian Resource Center presented on how to conduct walk and bike audits; Angela Knowles, Director of Planning Service for Van Cleef Engineering Associates, Inc., discussed the Borough of Raritan’s walk audits for their Circulation Plan Element to the Master Plan; and Somerset County Planning Director Walter Lane spoke about the county’s Walk, Bike, Hike Plan and conducting public outreach. Walter and Angela returned for Part 2: Travel Plans, expanding on the Raritan Circulation Plan Element and the county Walk, Bike, Hike Plan. They were joined by Leigh Ann Von Hagen, Senior Research Specialist at the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, who discussed how travel plans impact public health.
“I think this is fantastic and wonderful. This is a good time to have these conversations,” David Kois, Hillsborough’s Business Advocate and Sustainability Director, said of the webinar series. “Many of the Sustainable Jersey strategies require a lot of legwork in advance before they can materialize. I think this is right on.”
The last scheduled webinar in the series is on November 12 – Community Wellness and NJ Smart Workplaces. This roundtable-style webinar will be led by Leanne McGowan, Business Development Manager at RideWise, and David Kois, Business Advocate / Sustainability Director / Deputy Zoning Official at Hillsborough Township. Plans to present a webinar on Complete Streets are currently in development.
To learn more, view recordings of the past webinars and register for the next webinar, please click here.
KMM Launches Facebook Live Series!
As in person events and meetings came to a complete halt in March of 2020, Keep Middlesex Moving's team launched a new webinar series that was made available and conducted completely online using the online platform, Zoom. But by mid summer, Zoom fatigue kicked in. Quickly, KMM pivoted and launched its Facebook Live Series. This series provided interactive and real time questions and answers on Facebook. Below is a list and links to all Facebook Live Podcasts.
August 2020 – Walk Safe. Bike Safe. A Children’s Webinar
Crossing the street, traffic signals, crosswalks, and more are covered in this 45-minute live webinar incorporating slides, videos, and audience participation. The bike safety component covers helmet use and fitting, basic traffic rules, and parts of the bicycle. Primarily for grades 1 - 2, it's presented by KMM’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Christopher Gonda.
September 2020 – Adapting Community Spaces
Laura Torchio of Project for Public Spaces discusses how communities can re-imagine public spaces to benefit local businesses and attract residents, and visitors. Pamela Stefanek of New Brunswick City Market presents a case study showing how local officials, and downtown restaurants and businesses worked together to transform George Street into a public plaza on weekends and expand dining and entertainment opportunities during these uncertain times.. Podcast Link
September 2020 – Ready to Buy an Electric Vehicle?
Over the past decade, Plug-in Vehicle Specialist Tom Moloughney has driven over 300,000 miles in electric vehicles. NJ Assemblyman Dan Benson (LD 14) has sponsored legislation to make vehicle ownership and charging stations more accessible. In a conversation aimed at those considering switching to an EV, Moloughney and Benson discuss the benefits and logistics of driving electric, NJ’s clean energy goals, and recent state incentives to encourage drivers to buy electric.. Podcast Link
October 2020 – The Evolution of Work in a Post-Covid World
The nature of work — where we work, how we work, and the tasks we perform — has, in many cases, changed dramatically over the past 6 months. Our panelists Kevin Kurdziel of the NJ Department of Labor and Brian Dashew Assistant Professor of Practice, of Adult and Continuing Education at Rutgers University Graduate School of Education, will discuss the rapid evolution of work and what we can expect in the future. (please note, due to technical difficulties, a portion of the recording is missing) Podcast Link
RISE to the TASK
Kudos to two local non-profits that have increased their work throughout the pandemic to assist the growing number of people in need of food. In October, RISE of Hightstown and the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) partnered for a food distribution program that provided food for 1000 families. Mindful of transportation limitations, the distribution took place at two locations; a drive through location and a second walkable location for those without access to a car in Hightstown.
GMTMA has been working with both organizations on developing employment transportation solutions for underserved residents to unserved employment locations. GMTMA attended the event and surveyed participants on transportation issues. Exercising precautions for Covid, the survey was completed on the participants’ cell phones and submitted electronically. Over 100 surveys were completed. Thank you RISE and TASK!