Holiday Season is Near, Drunk Driving is the Wrong Kind of Cheer

9 Dec

From December 14th to January 1st, NHTSA will run the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign to raise awareness and prevent drunk driving.  New Jersey is cracking down starting today, December 9, until January 1!

Infographic source: NHTSA

Infographic source: NHTSA

Every year during the winter holidays there is an increase in the number of drunk-driving crashes and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2014 10,076 people died in drunk driving crashes, in 2015 10, 265 people died in drunk driving related crashes. Over a five-year period, close to 4000 died in drunk driving related crashes during the month of December. It is sad to see these figures and the fact that they are going up every year. It is very sad to think that 181 children 14 and younger were among those who died in a crash involving a drunk driver.

The most dangerous times are nights, weekends, and the holidays.  In December 2015, the number of fatal crashes that involved drunk driving was 4 times higher at night than during the day. Let 2016 be the year when the trend reverses.

You can help! Be prepared and have a plan in place before going out. Have a designated driver if you plan to drink, call a cab or try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or a friend by identifying their location so they can be picked up. The app is available at http://ow.ly/RWs3S for Android and http://ow.ly/RWs8h for iPhone users.

Another option for planning a night out, a company holiday gathering or other social events and trips, is to hire a professional driver to get you there safely and in comfort. Greater Mercer TMA members: A1-Limousine, Starr Tours, and Stout’s Transportation have limousines and buses available to ferry you and your guests to holiday festivities.

Other things you can do to keep the Happy in Holidays are: helping other people be responsible, if someone you know has been drinking, don’t let them drive and if you see a drunk driver, call the police.

Happy and safe holidays!

Source: http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov

Bicyclists Outnumber Drivers In Copenhagen

2 Dec

When we think bicycle friendly city, we think Copenhagen.   And these days Copenhagen is getting a lot of attention and envy because it just reached a milestone; the number of bicyclists surpassed the number of drivers.

You can’t help but wonder how did it get here?

It turns out Copenhagen started as a city of bicycles, and then people embraced car ownership in the 1920’s. In a simple twist, bicyclists were seen as slightly annoying to motorists and the number of traffic accidents involving bicyclist and motorists increased.

Copenhagen was headed in the same direction as many other cities, congestion, traffic accidents, and pollution. People riding bicycles kept being pushed to the side of the road or off the road and they took the streets; they wanted to be able to ride their bikes safely again. Copenhageners protested and asked for a change in street design, putting bikes first and cars second and asking for safe bicycle infrastructure.

There was, as you might expect, some back and forth about design, cost, and how to pay for the new bicycle infrastructure.

In the end, city planning gave space to bicycle lanes, bicycles experienced a comeback, and it is now once again seen as a symbol of health, freedom, and the symbol to clean and lively cities. Most people in Copenhagen, even kindergarteners and a large number of politicians, bike year round.

I guess the answer is good planning, starting young and keep the wheels spinning until it becomes such a big part of your life that you are no longer willing to tolerate pollution and traffic accidents anymore and would rather leave the car behind.

Sources:
https://cleantechnica.com/2016/11/28/people-bicycling-driving-copenhagen-now/
http://denmark.dk/en/green-living/bicycle-culture/how-denmark-become-a-cycling-nation
http://denmark.dk/en/green-living/bicycle-culture/copenhagen-bike-city-for-more-than-a-century
http://www.copenhagenize.com/2012/02/danish-bicycle-infrastructure-history.html
http://www.copenhagenize.com/
http://www.citylab.com/commute/2012/04/why-streets-copenhagen-and-amsterdam-look-so-different-ours/1849/

Thanksgiving Travel and Transit Tips

23 Nov

The AAA report is out and it looks like the number of people travelling this Thanksgiving weekend is even higher than last year, 48.7 million to be more exact.  With so many people on the roads and the possibility of wet and slippery conditions on Wednesday night into Thursday, we wanted to share a few driving safety tips.  If you don’t plan to drive, we have also included other helpful information regarding public transit and area airports.

If you plan to drive this Thanksgiving weekend here are some safety tips:

  • Get plenty of rest before you start your trip
  • Make sure that everyone is buckled up
  • Keep your focus on the road, and don’t drive distracted
  • Expect traffic and be patient
  • Make sure your car is ready, tires inflated, windshield wipers work, have a tune-up before you plan to travel
  • Check the weatherroad and traffic conditions
  • Keep a first aid kit in your car
  • Carry an emergency kit in case of inclement weather, flashlight, bottled water, blankets, food, flares, snow shovel, jumper cables, ice scraper

If you are planning to travel by train or bus, these are the Thanksgiving schedules:

Northeast Corridor Rail will be operating on Weekend/Holidays Schedule. Rail Schedule available here.

Mercer County Bus Service

The following buses will operate on a Sunday Schedule: 600, 601, 605, 606, 607, 608, 609, and 613.

There will be no service on: 603, 610, 611, 612, 619, and 624 buses.

NJ Transit bus schedules are available here.

NJ Transit early getaway service information available here.

FreeB Commuter and FreeB Neighborhood will not operate on Thanksgiving Day

Ocean Ride

Will not operate on Thursday, November 24  Thanksgiving Day  and Friday, November 25 Thanksgiving Friday.

Riverline will operate on a Sunday Schedule .

SEPTA

Thursday, November 24
Thanksgiving Day – Thanksgiving Parade

Special schedules operated on Market-Frankford Line and Broad Street Line with Night OWL Express Bus service beginning at 12:00am

Regional Rail and Surface Transportation routes will operate on a Sunday/Holiday schedule.

Additional service will operate to King of Prussia Mall.

Friday, November 25
Black Friday

Regional Rail Trains will operate weekday service.

SEPTA schedules available here.

PATH

Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, November 24, 2016
Saturday Schedule

Day after Thanksgiving – Friday, November 25, 2016
Modified Weekday Schedule*

PATH schedules available here. 

Amtrak

Special Northeast Thanksgiving schedules available here.

 

Airport Information

Newark Liberty Airport or on Twitter @NY_NJAirports

Philadelphia International Airport  or on Twitter @PHLAirport

 

 

We wish you and your family a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!

World Day of Remembrance

18 Nov

This Sunday, November 20th is World Day of Remembrance, a day to remember Road Traffic Victims.

Observed in many countries around the world this day is dedicated to remembering traffic victims killed in road crashes, the families who are left to grieve the sudden loss of a loved one, and to pay tribute to the emergency response crews who respond to these crashes.

wdr

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and speed is involved in 1/3 of the traffic deaths.

The Vision Zero Network and the National Coalition for Safer Roads have released a National Speed Fatality Map to highlight the significant role that speed plays in road crashes. You can find the map here http://ncsrsafety.org/

New Jersey has adopted the national vision for highway safety – Toward Zero Deaths: A National Strategy on Highway Safety (Toward Zero Deaths). This calls for a national goal of reducing the number of traffic fatalities by half by the year 2030. Toward Zero Deaths is based on the principle that even one traffic death is unacceptable. More information on New Jersey’s plan can be found in the 2015 New Jersey Strategic Highway Safety Plan

We at GMTMA are doing our part to keep our roads safer, working with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority to coordinate Street Smart pedestrian and motorist education campaigns in communities in Mercer and Ocean Counties. In October, GMTMA completed the first phase of the campaign in Princeton.

How can you do your part? Make a commitment to safety, share the message, and please stay safe.

Sources:

http://worlddayofremembrance.org/

http://visionzeronetwork.org/

http://ncsrsafety.org/

New Jersey Electric Vehicle Incentives

11 Nov

Recent New Jersey electric vehicle incentives have made it more enticing than ever to invest in green transportation. Through a triple bottom line lens, or options that are good for People, Planet, and Prosperity, electric vehicles are a worthy alternative to typical fuel guzzlers. A NJ Spotlight article quoted a study that found “by 2050, the state could avoid more than $4B in healthcare and climate costs if it can convince motorists to switch to electric vehicles.” An October 31 conference hosted by St. Peter’s University Hospital and Keep Middlesex Moving delved deeper into the issue.

electric-car-1458836_1280

There are direct benefits from emission reduction. Over half of the state’s carbon dioxide output derives from transportation. Cleaner air will reduce both asthma and other poor air quality days within the state.

Evidence shows people want electric vehicles. Seen in a “State of the State” presentation, preference for electric is at a rate three times more than hybrids. Batteries are being produced more cheaply than ever and models like the Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and Tesla Model 3 are affordable enough to bring EVs to a wider market.

The state is striving to increase the number of charging stations available. Princeton’s Peacock Inn just installed a Tesla charger and Hamilton Marketplace has operated a Tesla Supercharger over the last two years. Last summer, Quakerbridge Mall unveiled the state’s first EVGo charger that can charge two vehicles within 30 minutes. Projects like these reduce “range anxiety” felt by drivers looking for sufficient charge for traveling.

A repeated theme of the conference was that public and private partnerships were essential for instilling electric car opportunities in NJ. PSEG spearheaded a utility effort and controls over 100 of the 400 current stations. The New Brunswick Parking Authority has incorporated a test “Juice Bar” in the Gateway Garage and St. Peter’s Hospital has provided electric stations for its employees. The Clean Communities Coalition aims to affect state policies. There is already a $7,500 federal tax credit for drivers of All-electric or Hybrid Plug-in vehicles. For companies in NJ wishing to upgrade their facilities, there is over $725,000 in grants in the “It Pay$ to Plug-In” program.

In the near future, plugging in your car overnight will become as routine as charging your phone.

Note: A few days ago, we learned from a NJ Spotlight article that NJ will be part of “Charging Corridors” and locating chargers every 50 miles on I-80 and I-95.

GMTMA Recognizes Businesses, Schools, Municipalities, and Celebrates the 10th Anniversary of RideProvide

2 Nov

Greater Mercer TMA held the 32nd Annual Meeting and Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Princeton, on Friday, Oct 28, 2016. During the event, GMTMA recognized 21 businesses with the 2016 New Jersey Smart Workplaces Award and six Municipalities and eight Schools with the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Recognition Award. GMTMA also celebrated the 10th anniversary of its RideProvide transportation program for seniors and visually impaired adults.

njsw

Guest speaker at the event was Scott Bogren, Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) Executive Director. Bogren talked about the need to broaden the definition of public transit to make sure that people understand that trips to healthcare, education, and not just to work, are part of the network of what we think of as transit. Bogren also underlined the importance of supporting services such as RideProvide, given the fact that in the United States, “10,000 people will turn 65 every day, for the next 20 years and that almost 1 in 5 people in the U.S. have a disability.”

Also speaking on the importance of transportation to our communities, GMTMA Executive Director Cheryl Kastrenakes said to the attendees: “Whether your business is healthcare, education, finance, or pharma, we understand the importance of transportation to your business, to employees, clients, students, patients, and to our communities. We know that is so necessary to have a safe, efficient, and equitable transportation system, for the health of our economy and livability of our communities.” Kastrenakes also, highlighted the increase in demand for services like RideProvide, and the need for more options for people who cannot drive and talked about how much the demand has increased over the last few years: “Ten years ago, we started with a couple of donated used vehicles, volunteer drivers and a handful of riders. Today we have 11 staff drivers, a fleet of 7 cars, and last year we provided over 15,000 trips and demand just keeps growing. “

Kastrenakes and Board President Jack Kanarek then recognized the following Schools and Municipalities for their efforts to implement SRTS programs with the Safe Routes to School Recognition:

Gold Sneaker Award: City of Trenton, Lawrence Township, Princeton Township, West Windsor Township, and Bay Head Borough.

Silver Sneaker Award: Brick Township, Lawrence Intermediate Elementary, Johnson Park Elementary (Princeton), and Riverside Elementary (Princeton).

Bronze Sneaker Award: Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary (Trenton), Paul Robeson Elementary  and Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School (Trenton), Slackwood Elementary (Lawrence), Community Park Elementary (Princeton), and Wicoff Elementary (Plainsboro).

Every year, GMTMA recognizes employers who demonstrate leadership by providing and promoting quality commuter benefits to their employees, therefore reducing congestion and improving air quality with the prestigious New Jersey Smart Workplaces Awards.

The 2016 awardees are:

Platinum Level: A-1 Limousine, Albridge, an Affiliate of Pershing, Amazon, Bank of America, Bloomberg LP, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Educational Testing Service, Horizon NJ Health, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Johnson Controls, Munich Reinsurance America, Naval Airfare Center Aircraft Division Lakehurst, New Jersey Department of Transportation, Princeton University, SRI International, and The College of New Jersey.

Gold Level: Municipality of Princeton, Princeton Healthcare System, REI Princeton

Silver Level: Greater Mercer TMA

Bronze Level: Johnson & Johnson

Congratulations to all the awardees!

October 16- 22 is Teen Driver Safety Week

20 Oct

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) designated October 16 to October 22 Teen Driver Safety Week. NHTSA is spreading the message on social media, through web videos, and other types of media that make it more likely to reach teens. Statistics show that car crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers, 15 – 19 years old. Many of these fatal car crashes have these causes in common:  cellphone use while driving, speeding, drugs and alcohol, having extra passengers in the car, and not wearing a seat belt.

16-22

Source: trafficsafetymarketing.gov

That is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that parents impose the following rules:

  1. No cell phone use while driving – When you are distracted, your reaction time slows down,  you can’t execute emergency maneuvers, and you are less likely to be able to avoid collisions with other vehicles.
  2. No speeding– Every time you increase your speed, the stopping distance increases, and your chance of being able to control the car decreases.
  3. No alcohol– Driving impaired impacts your reaction time, your judgment, your vision, and it is not legal.
  4. No extra passengers – No more than one passenger at all times. When you have more than one passenger in the car, the risk of getting distracted increases and so is the risk of getting into an accident.
  5. No driving or riding without a seatbelt– Wearing a seatbelt can significantly reduce your chances of being seriously injured or even killed in a car crash. You and your passenger have to wear a seatbelt.

For more information, resources, and statistics regarding teen driving, please visit www.safercar.gov/parents .

And as always, stay safe!