Archive | July, 2016

What Do Transit Riders Want?

22 Jul

Transit Center recently released the results to the “Who’s on Board 2016. What Today’s Riders Teach Us About Transit That Works” study and there are some interesting findings and recommendations to note.  The foundation conducted the study with the purpose of better understanding the needs and the behavior of transit riders across the United States.

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Some of the Findings:

The terms “choice riders” and “captive riders” currently used to describe transit riders are not accurate. Many people use transit occasionally, 53% of the respondents indicated that they use transit between one day a week and one day per month. Fourteen percent of the interviewees indicated that they were commuters, and 32% said they were using transit for multiple purposes.

People who live and work in areas with better transit ride more frequently, whether they own a car or not. When transit service increases, people turn to transit more often and for multiple purposes.

In addition to good service, having stations within walking distance is seen as more likely to promote the use of transit for various purposes.

People who use transit for multiple purposes are also multimodal, meaning they ride a bike, walk, take a taxi, car share, and are more likely to use a non-car alternative.

The availability of “shared–use mobility” options increases the likelihood that more people will use transit.

The so-called “captive riders” (people who don’t have cars and are thought of as using transit regardless of quality) use transit less frequently when the service is poor.

People value service frequency and travel time the most; they value the condition of the stations and the stops, having real-time information, reliability, and care less about flashy design, and Wi-Fi on board.

Large numbers of Americans of all ages indicated that they would prefer to live in a mixed-use neighborhood with access to transit, but they don’t currently have that option.

Recommendations:

Enable more people to walk to reliable transit by making the walk safe and pleasant and concentrating developments around transit.

Have transit in walkable places with many residents and with destinations for people to visit.

Increasing frequency of service and reducing travel time.

How do we score?

We looked at how Mercer and Ocean counties score on AllTransit Performance by using the All Transit ranking tool which is available at http://alltransit.cnt.org/. The Ranking uses station, stop, and frequency of service for bus, rail for all major transit agencies.  It also looks at connectivity and access to jobs.

In Mercer County, we have 11.7 acres of walkable neighborhoods within half a mile of transit, 4.75% commute by walking and live within half a mile of transit. There are 254,247 people who live within a half of mile of transit and no one lives within half of mile of high-frequency transit.  The overall AllTransit Performance score for Mercer County (on a scale from 0 to 10) is 4.5., and 8.25% commuters use transit.

Mercer County total population in 2015 – 366,513

In Ocean County, there are 13 acres of walkable neighborhoods within half a mile if transit, .61% commute by bicycle, and 2.02% commute by walking and live within half a mile of transit. Overall there are 301,356 people who live within half a mile of transit and 2.18% commuters use transit. The AllTransit Performance score is 1.7.

Ocean County total population in 2015 – 576,567

More transit information is available at http://alltransit.cnt.org/ , including numbers of jobs near transit, the number of farmers markets, transit trips per week, etc.

As you can see, Mercer County scored much higher on its Transit Score than Ocean County. To put the scores in perspective to some other counties in New Jersey, both were far below the higher scoring counties like Hudson (9.08), Essex (7.67) and Bergen (6.57). Clearly, there is more work to be done to meet the needs of transit riders.

If you live in Mercer or Ocean County, and you need more transportation information check out Good Moves, a GMTMA program that offers personalized transportation plans.

Sources:

ma.org/pg-good-moves.php

http://alltransit.cnt.org/metrics/?addr=mercer+county%2C+nj

http://transitcenter.org/2016/07/12/what-makes-transit-successful-whos-on-board/

 

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Greater Mercer TMA Recognizes REI Princeton with the Employer Wheels Award

18 Jul

Greater Mercer TMA (GMTMA), League of American Bicyclists, and New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition staff were at REI Princeton for a celebration event on July 15. REI Princeton received two awards for their efforts to support bicycling in our community and among their employees.

GMTMA’s Employer Wheels Award was presented by Executive Director Cheryl Kastrenakes to REI for winning the Bike to Work Week Employer Challenge held from May 16 – May 20. A team of 13 REI employees participated in the Bike to Work Week challenge and together they biked 532.2 miles.  “REI Princeton’s support of biking to work makes it possible for their enthusiastic employees to commute by bike.  Encouragement and amenities for biking at the corporate level get more employees out of their cars.  We can’t wait to see how many miles they ride during bike to work week next year!” said Kastrenakes.

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The second award was the League of American Bicyclists “Bicycle Friendly Business” designation for providing safe accommodations and encouraging people to bike for both transportation and recreation. “The League of American Bicyclists is pleased to welcome REI-Princeton as a Bicycle Friendly Business.  In the short time REI has been in Princeton, the business has become an important asset to the surrounding community through its support for bicycling and the benefits it brings.  REI-Princeton joins hundreds of leading businesses across the nations that are transforming their communities by creating more bicycle-friendly destinations and workplaces. The League congratulates Colin Manning and Liz Usmiani of REI-Princeton for taking the lead by encouraging staff to ride their bikes to work and actively engaging with local advocacy organizations such a New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, Lawrence Hopewell Trail, and West Windsor Bike and Pedestrian Alliance, and Greater Mercer TMA; groups that working to make New Jersey a better place for all citizens.  ” said the League of American Bicyclists Board of Directors Chair, Karen Jenkins.

REI is one of the two businesses in Mercer County to receive recognition, and the only one to receive Gold level recognition from League of American Bicyclists and one of the 9 businesses who participated and logged their miles during the GMTMA Bike to Work Week event.  “At REI, we seek to inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. REI Princeton is proud to have a staff that lives these values everyday by bicycle commuting throughout the year. We support the local cycling community by volunteering at charity bike rides, offering free bike maintenance classes and supporting multi-use trails through our community grant program. We are honored to receive the Employer Wheels Award from Greater Mercer TMA and Gold Bike Friendly Business designation from the League of American Bicyclists. We hope it inspires more people to get outside and ride.” said the REI Princeton Outdoor Programs and Outreach Market Coordinator, Liz Usmiani.

NJ Bike & Walk Coalition congratulated REI- Princeton on becoming a gold level Bicycle Friendly Business and for receiving the Employer Wheels Award from Greater Mercer TMA. “REI joins only three other businesses in the state in becoming a BFB.  REI has clearly demonstrated that bike commuting to the Mercer Mall is safe, efficient, fun and a healthy alternative to driving. NJBWC is proud to have REI as a sponsor and congratulates them for setting an example for other businesses near the Lawrence Hopewell Trail.” said Cyndi Steiner Executive Director, New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition

Congratulations REI Princeton and keep it up!

10 Tips to Prevent Vehicle Theft

8 Jul

On a January morning this year a car was stolen from a Princeton driveway while it was left idling. Also in January, an idling car was stolen with a 5 year old inside from a parking lot in Trenton (the 5 year old  is safe).  Similar incidents occurred throughout the state. Many of these vehicles were left unlocked.

And according to NHTSA, half of car thefts happen due to driver error and most often during July and August. Since over 40% of stolen vehicles are never recovered, here is what you can do to avoid becoming a victim:

  1. Don’t leave your car unlocked
  2. Take your key; do not leave it in the car
  3. Don’t leave any windows open
  4. Park in well-lit areas
  5. Install an anti-theft device (learn more here)
  6. Don’t leave valuables in the car
  7. Don’t leave the second set of keys in your car
  8. Park with the wheels turned towards the curb to make the car harder to tow
  9. Don’t leave your registration card in the car
  10. Have your VIN stamped on your windshield

The most popular car with thieves in NJ was the Honda Accord followed by Honda Civic and Dodge Caravan. You can see the full ranking here. Fact sheets on vehicle thefts can be found here.

If your car was stolen call the police and be prepared to give them the following information:  a detailed description of your vehicle, the VIN number, license plate number. You can find more info on what to do when your car is stolen here.

We are aware that many of these tips are common sense and yet many people fail to take precautions, but we are sharing these tips in the hope that fewer people have their vehicle stolen due to a lack of awareness.

As always, if you have a story you would like to share, please contact us, our next blog post could be your story.

Sources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvNGiVuM6tY

http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/newtsm/VehicleTheftPrevention/2016/12095-Vehicle-Theft-Prevention-Infographic.pdf

http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Owners/Resources/Theft+Prevention

http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/july-is-national-vehicle-theft-protection-month-107624/

http://www.insurance.com/auto-insurance/claims/what-to-do-if-your-car-is-stolen.aspx