407 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618  (609)695-3481
 NJLM logo 

William G. Dressel Jr, Executive Director - Michael J. Darcey, CAE, Asst Executive Director
Change Font Size
Larger
| Smaller
Transit Oriented Development...
New Jersey's Competitive Edge

  Kenneth E. Pringle George Warrington
By Kenneth E. Pringle
and George Warrington
See Caption Below
South Orange embraces transit-oriented design.

New Jersey is at the forefront of Transit Oriented Development (TOD). We have a rich heritage of “growing up” around a statewide rail system, with train stations situated in a wide variety of settings. A variety of social and economic trends are converging to fuel a growing market for mixed-use, transit-oriented development near these stations. Municipal, county and state leaders are recognizing the key role that mass transit plays in the creation and maintenance of livable and sustainable communities. By focusing resources and development in areas served by our statewide transportation system, we can not only help build better communities, but secure New Jersey’s competitive edge in the regional economy.

Why Do People Want to Live Around Transit?
Despite an across-the-board fare increase in July 2005, NJ TRANSIT’s overall ridership far outpaced projections during fiscal year 2006.

Fuel costs aside, studies show that people want livable communities with transit choices; this is especially true of single professionals, empty nesters and couples without children. Consumers are seeking attractive places to live, work and socialize where they have the option of using transit.

What Are the Advantages of Transit Oriented Development?
Economists forecast that within the next two decades, New Jersey’s population will increase by 1 million people. Today, with seven out of 10 current New Jersey residents living within five miles of a train station, the challenge is to accommodate both our existing and new residents with housing, employment and mobility choices so that the state’s economy remains robust. It makes sense to focus this anticipated growth around the existing transportation infrastructure in communities that are embracing transit-oriented development.

Housing near transit not only holds its value, it can even command a premium. In fact, according to a Columbia University study, between 1993 and 2003 residential properties within one-half mile of stations served by MidTOWN DIRECT trains (one-seat ride service to midtown Manhattan along the Morris, Essex, Boonton and Montclair Rail Lines) increased in value by 113 percent (adjusted for inflation), while properties farther away from these stations experienced only an 80 percent increase.

See Caption Below
A boy enjoys ice cream near the train station in South Orange

Employers are also recognizing the value of locating or expanding in places where the diversity of housing, recreation and transit choices play an important role in recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce. People who live near transit enjoy a healthier lifestyle with more walking and less stress. By choosing to use transit, they also help reduce greenhouse gases, alleviate traffic congestion, and lessen our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Transit Friendly Planning
Our Transit Friendly Planning Program involves engaging communities, collaborating with local, county, regional and state partners, building consensus, creating market-worthy plans and executing good projects. To date, we have successfully partnered with more than 40 New Jersey communities to create local economic opportunity around our transit facilities.

Last year, we partnered with West Windsor Township officials, residents, businesses and property owners and the New Jersey Office of Smart Growth to create a plan to convert the at-grade, regional park/ride at Princeton Junction Station to a transit-oriented Town Center. Highlights of the consensus plan include:

  • Consolidating commuter parking on NJ TRANSIT and township owned properties into structures;
  • Creating a central Town Green and “Main Street” at the rail station;
  • Developing a new, mixed-use Station Neighborhood, with retail, residential, office, civic and open space; and
  • Increasing access to and connectivity with the rest of the community and northeast region by implementing a new “east/west” connector.

Fostering Transit Oriented Development
NJ TRANSIT is the nation’s largest statewide public transportation system, providing more than 827,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country, with 162 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia. In fact, 1 in 4 New Jersey communities hosts a rail station. Thirty percent of New Jersey residents live within walking distance of rail stations, and 10 percent use mass transit for work trips, double the national average.


WE HAVE SUCCESSFULLY PARTNERED
WITH MORE THAN 40 NEW JERSEY COMMUNITIES
TO CREATE LOCAL ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
AROUND OUR TRANSIT FACILITIES


Beyond NJ TRANSIT’s individual role in assisting proactive communities with creating transit supportive plans, we work closely with other state agency partners to focus resources in an effort to implement transit-oriented development around the state. A good example of this collaboration is the Transit Village Task Force.

Created in 1999 by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and NJ TRANSIT, the Transit Village Initiative supports transit-friendly land use policies and practices in 17 designated municipalities. An 11-member state agency Task Force brings resources and technical assistance to the communities to sustain their efforts to grow “smart” around transit, reinforcing the principles of the State Development & Redevelopment Plan (www.state.nj.us/transportation).

Challenges and Opportunities
Transit Oriented Development is an important tool for New Jersey’s municipalities. However, there are challenges to fully integrating transit-friendly land use practices throughout the state. Chief among these is continuing to educate local leaders and volunteers on Planning and Zoning Boards about the benefits of TOD. We also need to provide local leaders, the media and the citizenry with the growing body of empirical data which shows that TOD has minimal impact on school and municipal budgets, while generating increased tax revenue. Equally important is a community’s ability to hold the private sector accountable for “good” project execution, while keeping pace with changes in the marketplace. Balancing parking needs with development and reinvesting in public infrastructure are also important.

The good news is that New Jersey’s focus on “transit supportive” growth and economic prosperity is stronger than ever. Consumer demand for livable communities has amplified interest among developers to build transit-oriented development projects. Strategic public investments in better transit equipment, more frequent and reliable service, and NJLM - Transit Oriented Development

407 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618  (609)695-3481
 NJLM logo 

William G. Dressel Jr, Executive Director - Michael J. Darcey, CAE, Asst Executive Director
Change Font Size
Larger
| Smaller
Transit Oriented Development...
New Jersey's Competitive Edge

  Kenneth E. Pringle George Warrington
By Kenneth E. Pringle
and George Warrington
See Caption Below
South Orange embraces transit-oriented design.

New Jersey is at the forefront of Transit Oriented Development (TOD). We have a rich heritage of “growing up” around a statewide rail system, with train stations situated in a wide variety of settings. A variety of social and economic trends are converging to fuel a growing market for mixed-use, transit-oriented development near these stations. Municipal, county and state leaders are recognizing the key role that mass transit plays in the creation and maintenance of livable and sustainable communities. By focusing resources and development in areas served by our statewide transportation system, we can not only help build better communities, but secure New Jersey’s competitive edge in the regional economy.

Why Do People Want to Live Around Transit?
Despite an across-the-board fare increase in July 2005, NJ TRANSIT’s overall ridership far outpaced projections during fiscal year 2006.

Fuel costs aside, studies show that people want livable communities with transit choices; this is especially true of single professionals, empty nesters and couples without children. Consumers are seeking attractive places to live, work and socialize where they have the option of using transit.

What Are the Advantages of Transit Oriented Development?
Economists forecast that within the next two decades, New Jersey’s population will increase by 1 million people. Today, with seven out of 10 current New Jersey residents living within five miles of a train station, the challenge is to accommodate both our existing and new residents with housing, employment and mobility choices so that the state’s economy remains robust. It makes sense to focus this anticipated growth around the existing transportation infrastructure in communities that are embracing transit-oriented development.

Housing near transit not only holds its value, it can even command a premium. In fact, according to a Columbia University study, between 1993 and 2003 residential properties within one-half mile of stations served by MidTOWN DIRECT trains (one-seat ride service to midtown Manhattan along the Morris, Essex, Boonton and Montclair Rail Lines) increased in value by 113 percent (adjusted for inflation), while properties farther away from these stations experienced only an 80 percent increase.

See Caption Below
A boy enjoys ice cream near the train station in South Orange

Employers are also recognizing the value of locating or expanding in places where the diversity of housing, recreation and transit choices play an important role in recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce. People who live near transit enjoy a healthier lifestyle with more walking and less stress. By choosing to use transit, they also help reduce greenhouse gases, alleviate traffic congestion, and lessen our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Transit Friendly Planning
Our Transit Friendly Planning Program involves engaging communities, collaborating with local, county, regional and state partners, building consensus, creating market-worthy plans and executing good projects. To date, we have successfully partnered with more than 40 New Jersey communities to create local economic opportunity around our transit facilities.

Last year, we partnered with West Windsor Township officials, residents, businesses and property owners and the New Jersey Office of Smart Growth to create a plan to convert the at-grade, regional park/ride at Princeton Junction Station to a transit-oriented Town Center. Highlights of the consensus plan include:

  • Consolidating commuter parking on NJ TRANSIT and township owned properties into structures;
  • Creating a central Town Green and “Main Street” at the rail station;
  • Developing a new, mixed-use Station Neighborhood, with retail, residential, office, civic and open space; and
  • Increasing access to and connectivity with the rest of the community and northeast region by implementing a new “east/west” connector.

Fostering Transit Oriented Development
NJ TRANSIT is the nation’s largest statewide public transportation system, providing more than 827,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country, with 162 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia. In fact, 1 in 4 New Jersey communities hosts a rail station. Thirty percent of New Jersey residents live within walking distance of rail stations, and 10 percent use mass transit for work trips, double the national average.


WE HAVE SUCCESSFULLY PARTNERED
WITH MORE THAN 40 NEW JERSEY COMMUNITIES
TO CREATE LOCAL ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
AROUND OUR TRANSIT FACILITIES


Beyond NJ TRANSIT’s individual role in assisting proactive communities with creating transit supportive plans, we work closely with other state agency partners to focus resources in an effort to implement transit-oriented development around the state. A good example of this collaboration is the Transit Village Task Force.

Created in 1999 by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and NJ TRANSIT, the Transit Village Initiative supports transit-friendly land use policies and practices in 17 designated municipalities. An 11-member state agency Task Force brings resources and technical assistance to the communities to sustain their efforts to grow “smart” around transit, reinforcing the principles of the State Development & Redevelopment Plan (www.state.nj.us/transportation).

Challenges and Opportunities
Transit Oriented Development is an important tool for New Jersey’s municipalities. However, there are challenges to fully integrating transit-friendly land use practices throughout the state. Chief among these is continuing to educate local leaders and volunteers on Planning and Zoning Boards about the benefits of TOD. We also need to provide local leaders, the media and the citizenry with the growing body of empirical data which shows that TOD has minimal impact on school and municipal budgets, while generating increased tax revenue. Equally important is a community’s ability to hold the private sector accountable for “good” project execution, while keeping pace with changes in the marketplace. Balancing parking needs with development and reinvesting in public infrastructure are also important.

The good news is that New Jersey’s focus on “transit supportive” growth and economic prosperity is stronger than ever. Consumer demand for livable communities has amplified interest among developers to build transit-oriented development projects. Strategic public investments in better transit equipment, more frequent and reliable service, and even intelligent information systems, will continue to make mass transit a more attractive option than driving.

 

Article published in October 2006, New Jersey Municipalities

 

 

 

 

Click Here to return to the League's Home Page