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Mobility Project - State-by-State Analysis of Future Congestion and Capacity Needs - New Jersey

August 1, 2006

 
     
 


Reason Foundation
Mobility Project

Traffic Congestion in America's Cities

 
 


How bad will traffic congestion be in 2030? How much construction and how many new lane miles will each state and major city need to add over the next 25 years to prevent severe congestion? And how much will it all cost? The Reason Foundation study Building Roads to Reduce Traffic Congestion in America's Cities: How Much and at What Cost? and its addendum, A Detailed State-by-State Analysis of Future Congestion and Capacity Needs, provide in-depth answers to these questions. An interactive map ranking the states by congestion and costs to reduce traffic is here and a map of the most congested cities is here.


 
 

New Jersey

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To significantly reduce today's severe congestion and prepare for growth expected by 2030, New Jersey needs just over 388 new lane-miles (outside of the New York City and Philadelphia metro areas) at a total cost of $650 million, in today's dollars. That's a cost of approximately $32 per resident each year. New Jersey ranks 36th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of most lane-miles needed and 40th in the total costs of those improvements. If the state made these improvements, it would save almost 4 million hours per year that are now wasted in traffic jams.

As noted above, this total does not include the New York City-Newark metropolitan area. This region is the tenth most congested urbanized area in the United States, sharing this 'honor' with Las Vegas. Here, the Travel Time Index (TTI) is 1.39. This means that driving times during peak traffic are 39 percent longer than during off-peak times. Only nine cities in the United States have worse traffic, and unless major steps are taken to relieve congestion, drivers in this region can expect to see a TTI of 1.74 by 2030. This means they will experience travel delays similar to those in present-day Los Angeles.

New York City-Newark needs about 2,400 new lane-miles by 2030 at an estimated cost of $38.5 billion in today's dollars. (This includes the costs of adding 15 percent of the new capacity by building elevated roadways and tunnels, which will be necessary in a densely settled location like NYC.) This investment would save an estimated 1,248 million hours per year that are now lost sitting in NYC traffic, at a cost of just $1.24 per delay-hour saved. This does not account for the additional benefits not quantified in this study, including: lower fuel use, reduced accident rates and vehicle operating costs, lower shipping costs and truck travel time reductions, greater freight reliability, and a number of benefits associated with greater community accessibility, including an expanded labor pool for employers and new job choices for workers.

The New Jersey totals also do not include the Camden region, which falls in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, the 25th most congested urbanized area in the United States. The Travel Time Index (TTI) here is 1.32, and unless major steps are taken to relieve congestion, Philly drivers can expect to see a TTI of 1.61 by 2030. This level of congestion is worse than any present-day city in the United States with the exception of Los Angeles, which has a TTI of 1.75.

The Philadelphia region needs about 1,900 new lane-miles by 2030 at an estimated cost of $19.6 billion in today's dollars. (This includes the costs of adding 5 percent of the new capacity by building elevated roadways and tunnels, which will be necessary in a densely settled location like Philadelphia.) If they would make this level of investment, city leaders would save an estimated 209 million hours per year that are now lost sitting in traffic, at a cost of $3.75 per delay-hour saved.

As Table 36 suggests, the picture is somewhat better for the other cities in New Jersey with populations over 50,000. But while less congested, the relative increases in delay projected over the next 25 years are all 100 percent or more, as compared to increases in the Big Apple of 90 percent and Philly of 91 percent. (The 'delay' in the travel time is the portion of the TTI over 1.0.) Such dramatic increases in traffic will be sharply felt by local commuters. With projected TTIs of 1.08�1.12, cities like Hightstown, Atlantic City, and Trenton are facing future traffic delays similar to those currently experienced in the much larger cities of Dayton, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, respectively.

New Jersey can significantly reduce these severe congestion problems by adding about 388 new lane-miles by 2030 at an estimated cost of $650 million in today's dollars. (Again, this excludes New York City-Newark and Philadelphia, which are included in the New York and Pennsylvania state totals, respectively, and reflected in Table 37.) This investment would save an estimated 3.9 million hours per year that are now lost sitting in traffic, at a yearly cost of $6.72 per delay-hour saved.


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» Return to Index Page: Study, State-By-State Data, Maps
» Return to Interactive Map of Traffic U.S. Congestion Statistics and Construction Needs


This information is excerpted from A Detailed State-by-State Analysis of Future Congestion and Capacity Needs and Building Roads to Reduce Traffic Congestion in America's Cities: How Much and at What Cost?

Additional Resources:
» Reason Foundation's Mobility Project Main Page
» Reason Foundation's Transportation Research and Commentary
» Reason Foundation's Press Room

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