Strategy Determination Process
For the Route 1 Collaborative, the crux of the study occurred within the strategy determination process. Through this process, the linkages between data and information, problems and causes, goals and objectives and public opinion and desires were forged, resulting in a comprehensive mix of short and long-term transportation and land use strategies that would be modeled, evaluated and selected for implementation.
The strategy determination process is also where other on-going study efforts, such as the Route 1 (Section 7L) Congestion Management System (CMS) Study; and, the Route 1 Corridor Bicycle and Pedestrian Case Study became integrated with the Collaborative study.
Finally, during the strategy determination process, several early action initiatives were developed, evaluated, modified and included in the strategy mix. At the beginning of the study, Collaborative members agreed that a few early action projects (developed and launched within a 12 to 18 month time frame) would not only achieve needed congestion relief and/or trip reduction, but would work to keep the Collaborative "high profile" and help it gain momentum towards implementing other strategies. These primarily transit-oriented strategies originated out of the key stakeholder interview process, and were further evaluated and shaped by the consultant team and the Transportation Subcommittee. In the final analysis, four early action strategies will be pursued through a partnership between the NJDOT and NJT . The following discussion details the Goals & Objectives, Problems & Causes, Performance Measures that, together with a later Strategy Screening Process, would determine what strategies would be modeled and evaluated.
Goals for the Route 1 Corridor Collaborative Study
Based on goal statements reviewed, on discussions at Collaborative Committee and other meetings, and considering stakeholder and public opinion, the following five goals were proposed and agreed to for the Route 1 Corridor Collaborative Study:
A primary goal is to increase the reliability and speed of the transportation system by reducing time wasted in congestion, as well as to expand and improve the options to single -occupant vehicle travel by improving other modes.
There are a significant number of accidents involving those driving, walking, or cycling along Route 1 and its adjacent roadways. An important goal is to increase the safety and sense of security in the transportation system.
Opportunities for work, shopping, recreation, education and all of the activities of a full life should be accessible to residents of and travelers to the corridor. Dependence on single -occupant auto trips should be reduced.
Preserve Communities of Place
Unnecessary traffic in residential and commercial areas should be reduced and adequate connections should be provided when traffic or transportation structures divide communities.
Preserve the Environment
Reduce the amount of motor vehicle emissions and the noise and vibration impacts of all transportation. Land use patterns that protect open space should be encouraged.
Objectives for the Route 1 Corridor Collaborative Study
The following objectives make the goals more specific in helping evaluate alternative strategies and actions to achieve goals. On the basis of the previous goals, and the objectives in plans reviewed, the following objectives were categorized into five groups, then proposed and agreed to for the Route 1 Corridor Collaborative Study:
Bicycle /Pedestrian Objectives
Land Use Objectives
Promote concentrated land use patterns by relating the density of development to the carrying capacity of the land, roads, and utility infrastructure constraints; and,Reduce the impact of through traffic in communities by enhancing opportunities for safe crossing of arterial roads.
Reduce visual clutter and access confusion by developing site development standards that encourage the use of common driveways, common rear parking areas, and uniform lighting and sign plans.
Information on the travel-related problems of the Route 1 corridor was obtained from many sources: Study participants brought out problems at a Charrette, in Steering Committee and Subcommittee meetings and during other contacts with the consultant team. Stakeholder interviews and the 1996 telephone survey yielded additional information. A review of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority Regional Transportation Plan, the circulation elements of the five municipal plans, and the Middlesex County Annual Report on Transportation were additional sources of information.
The study inventory of demographics, land use, travel and transportation also provided important data that was used to quantify problems and their causes. In addition, several NJDOT planning and project reports prepared for Route 1 were also used for problem identification and analysis.
From review of all the data, four main problems appeared to exist in the corridor: a) congestion; b) Accidents; c) Auto Dependence; and d) Environmental Impacts. The causes of these problems include: the amount of vehicle trips generated in the corridor; limited transit service and use; Saturday shopping travel; inadequate roadway capacity and design; temporary lane blockages; the number of truck trips; the current pattern and density of land use; proliferation of access; and impediments to pedestrian and bicycle travel.
Through this problems and causes identification process, the collaborative was able to structure a simple matrix that can be summed up in only one way; there exists multi-faceted problems that can only be solved through comprehensive, multi-faceted solutions. With this knowledge "in its back pocket," the Collaborative was better prepared to design a corridor plan that works.
To complete the third step in the strategy determination process, performance measures were developed to assess how well any proposed strategy addresses the five categories of study objectives: traffic; transit; freight; safety; bicycle/pedestrian and land use.
Eventually, the proceeding set of performance measures were presented to, and agreed upon by the Route 1 Collaborative Steering Committee.
For those strategies involving public expenditures, e.g., street and transit service improvement, an estimate of the capital and operating costs will be made. On that basis cost-effectiveness of strategies can be judged.
Many strategies involve stakeholders other than highway and transit agencies and actions other than expenditures. Changes to employer rideshare incentives; changes in traveler attitudes and behavior; changes in municipal land use policies and regulations; and changes in developer decisions in response to land use policies and regulations -- all of these are "inputs," the requirements other than public expenditure that are necessary for strategy implementation. Some of these "inputs" are problematic and a judgement will be made of the "cost" or difficulty of changing the attitudes and actions of these stakeholders, in order to make a more complete assessment of cost effectiveness.
The degree to which some objectives are met cannot be measured with transportation system models. The system is improved by these strategies and their effects are important but their success can be measured only in qualitative terms. For example, the degree to which bicycle and pedestrian improvements improve access and improve safety is not an outcome produced by the study's modeling. A judgement will be made of the relative improvement achieved by the specific strategy.
The study modeling task will produce three key outcome performance measures -- changes in VT, VMT and V/C ratios.
Changes in the number of vehicle trips (VT) generated in or attracted to the corridor reflect the success of various strategies in encouraging transit, carpool, vanpool, bicycle and walking trips.
Changes in the amount of vehicle-miles of travel (VMT) on the major routes of the corridor also reflect the success of various strategies. Vehicle-miles reflect the diversion effects on through traffic that may be affected by some strategies.
[Note: only VMT on arterial streets and road will be measured. A considerable amount of VMT in the corridor is on the Turnpike, I-287 and the Garden State Parkway; this VMT will not be affected significantly by strategies in the corridor and including it would overwhelm smaller but significant effects of the strategies on streets and roads, in the corridor].
Changes in the volume/capacity ratio (V/C) is a measure of performance for the Route 1 and other key arterial streets that relates to the two measures above but, in addition, reflects the impacts of some strategies that improve traffic flow but do not affect VT or VMT.
These performance measures show in quantitative terms the success or effectiveness of strategies in meeting all six of the objective sets, since reducing VT, VMT, and V/C is a primary or secondary effect
of each of the strategies. For example, reducing VT and VMT is a direct indicator of a carpool strategy's effect on congestion - a traffic objective. It is also indirect, but good indicator of a transit strategy's effect on expanding transit ridership - one of the transit objectives and, to a limited extent, an indicator the effect of improvements to bicycle and pedestrianfacilities.
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