Archive | October, 2011

Desperately Seeking Coordinated Transportation

12 Oct

At its recent stakeholder meeting on October 6, the Mercer County Coalition for Coordinated Transportation – whose mission is to improve transportation services for senior citizens, people with disabilities, and low-income residents of Mercer County – announced new projects designed to improve transportation services for these underserved populations. GMTMA is a member of the coalition and, along with ARC Mercer, has been awarded New Freedom grants through the Federal Transit Administration and New Jersey Transit to plan projects to enhance transportation options available in Mercer County.

The meeting was attended by nearly 100 community members, including representatives from human service organizations, advocacy groups, transit planners, and users of the transportation system. Attendees listened to presentations on the county’s transportation coordination accomplishments and helped craft an action plan to move forward.

Kicking off the proceedings was County Executive Brian Hughes, who was recognized for his consistent support of the coalition’s efforts.  Hughes delivered a sobering reminder of the challenges posed by current economic conditions, but kept an encouraging tone in his discussion of how innovative collaboration and resource utilization can create successful synergies and effective outcome-driven programs.

Another highlight of the meeting was keynote speaker James McLary, our regional ambassador for the federal program, United We Ride. McLary, aided by years of experience and his easy Midwestern cadence, deftly unrolled the saga of mobility management before mentioning several nationwide projects garnering attention as successful coordination stories.

Following his address, participants joined small groups to outline their experiences with the transportation system and underscore its shortcomings.  The groups then worked to offer solutions on how those shortcomings might best be addressed.  Needless to say, the coalition will have some great insight moving forward.

The coalition has numerous initiatives on the horizon, including the continued effort to glean information about the transportation system and its users, the development of a series of targeted mobility projects, and the commencement of a more concerted outreach operation throughout the Mercer County community.  Without adequate information, stakeholders and consumers will never quite be able to utilize the transportation system or benefit from the coalition’s endeavors to the optimal extent. However, with events like the one that took place this past Thursday and the tremendous showing of support from the various communities involved, it is assured that the county’s commitment to improving mobility for each and every one of its residents will not waiver any time soon.

Win a Free NJ Transit Pass

4 Oct

It’s Customer Service Week at NJ Transit! Want a quick and easy way to win a free NJ Transit bus, rail, or light rail pass? All you have to do is fill out this short form on NJ Transit’s website. Entries must be received by Friday, October 14, 2011.

Biking: Not Just for Hippies and Hipsters

3 Oct

Noticing more two-wheeled vehicles out there lately? That’s because people of all stripes are increasingly hopping on their bikes to get around. Bike use has gone up 39 percent nationally since 2001, according to the League of American Bicyclists. In the seventy largest US cities, commuter bike use is up 63 percent.

Some additional interesting related data can be found in “Analysis of Bicycling Trends and Policies in Large North American Cities,” a relatively new report out by the University Transportation Research Center, authored by John Pucher at Rutgers and Ralph Bueler at Virginia Tech. Two points of interest: 1) white people remain somewhat overrepresented; but 2) bicycling appears to be trending toward racial parity. As of 2009, roughly 21 percent of all bike trips in the U.S. were made by people of color, and it looks as though U.S. cyclists may soon look pretty similar to the nation as a whole.

As noted in The Nation last month, bicyclists are an increasingly diverse group:

It’s certainly true that many of the bikers pedaling around the hipper city precincts appear to be of the bourgeois-bohemian persuasion. But take a look across the country and bicyclists are a diverse lot, including immigrants who lack the documentation to get a driver’s license and people who are too poor to own a car. These are disproportionately minorities. According to a 2006 report by the Brookings Institution and the University of California, Berkeley, 19 percent of blacks live in households without a car, compared with 13.7 percent of Hispanics and 4.6 percent of whites.

By income, here’s how the breakdown looks:

The biggest share of bicyclists isn’t yuppies, it’s low income people. In fact, the lowest-earning quarter of Americans make nearly one-third of all bike trips.