Corrections or additions?
These articles by Kathleen McGinn Spring were prepared for the
September 24, 2003 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Somewhat defensively, the New Jersey Department of
(NJDOT) introduces its newly enhanced website by stating: "Our
job at NJDOT is to help, not hinder motorists as they travel New
roadways." The website is indeed a help, and, what’s more, is
fun to play around with. Its address is
but a far faster way to access it is to simply type "NJDOT"
Using up-to-the minute technology, the interactive site provides a
real time, bird’s eye view of what is happening on all of the state’s
major roadways — and on local streets too. Look for the "Real
Time Traffic Information" icon to find the best maps and traffic
Strangely, there is another link, "New Traffic Cams," that
doesn’t appear to be working. It is helpful only in that it lists
the roads now covered by traffic cams — Routes 1, 4, 18, 29, 42,
and 73, and Interstates I-76, I-80, I-95, and I-287. The section looks
promising at first, showing, for example, all of the cameras on Route
1 as both big, red balls on a map and as addresses. But on a recent
sunny morning, camera after camera showed rain-covered roadways
a notation declaring that the shots are updated every 30 to 60
It may have been a temporary glitch, but in any case, the Real Time
Traffic Information section is more comprehensive. It is broken into
two major sections, "Live Traffic Reports" and "Live
On the left-hand side of the Live Traffic Reports section there is
a list of potential trouble spots, with icons denoting the nature
of the problem — construction or an accident — and the
of the delays, with orange indicating minor and red major. A pull-down
menu allows visitors to view only major delays or to view every
On the right-hand side of this section, there is a map. It is the
coolest thing on the site. It can show travel conditions for the
state, or for any section of the state. Take a look at the full view,
and a traffic accident near Atlantic City, shows up. Anyone traveling
in that direction can zoom in to pinpoint the site exactly. The map
provides views at the state, city, and street level.
The Live Traffic Cameras section also has a left/right split, with
the left-hand side providing text addresses of all of the state’s
traffic cameras, and the right-hand site featuring that same
map, but this time overlaid with video cam icons. Click on either
an address or a map icon and a real-time picture of the roadway comes
up in a little window. This section of the site brings home that fact
that for a small state, New Jersey has an awful lot of major roads.
There are more than 70 cameras picking up traffic 24/7.
The greater Princeton area is well covered. Cameras are watching all
of the major Route 1 intersections, including Scudders Mill Road,
Independence Way, Alexander Road, Quakerbridge Road, Baker’s Basin,
and Interstate 295. There are also cameras on Route 29 at six points,
including Cass, Lalor, and Lamberton streets, and at Route 18 at
Road and at the New Jersey Turnpike. But the eastern section of
New Jersey is not covered as well. There are no eyes pointed at or
near Hightstown, Cranbury, or Robbinsville. Nor is there isn’t much
coverage of the Garden State Parkway for shore-bound residents either.
In addition to help for motorists who tend to stay in-state, the
website links to sources of information on nearby destinations. In
its EZPass section, it is possible not only to buy the express
devices, and to reload them, and check their balances, but also to
link to at least two Smartraveler sites.
One, complete with an interactive map, gives detailed traffic updates
from Interstate 295 in western New Jersey, through Philadelphia,
the areas around Center City and the airport, and into Delaware. Click
on any portion of a roadway shown on the map, and its current traffic
condition is shown.
Another Smartraveler site, this one from the Delaware Valley Regional
Planning Commission, features information on conditions at Delaware
River Crossings, and on New Jersey interstates, Mercer County, Bucks
County, and many other areas. One especially helpful section lists
Events this Month. Arranged by date and time, it details the locations
of upcoming sports events, concerts, festivals, and other
For those who are leaving the car behind, NJDOT’s website provides
complete bus and train timetables — and even throws in a video
on how to read them. There are detailed timetables for drawbridge
openings throughout the state, which are primarily useful for
but also serve as alerts for drivers. In addition to serving motorists
and boaters, the site offers a section for bicyclists. There is also
information on carpooling, ride sharing, and the weather.
Impressive as an easy-to-use information source, the NJDOT site is
a good mood elevator, too. Check in after the morning commute on Route
1, and no matter how much traffic there was, a check of NJDOT’s cams
quickly shows that the jams are generally bigger — and more
— in the northern half of the state.
Everybody has something to say about clogged roads and
crowded trains. An opportunity to express frustrations and suggest
solutions is taking place on Wednesday, October 22, at 6 p.m. at
Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, at Civic
Square, 33 Livingston Avenue.
The meeting is part of a series established by Governor McGreevey’s
executive order establishing the Blue Ribbon Transportation Commission
to examine and make recommendations on the pressing transportation
issues facing New Jersey over the next 10 years. The commission is
charged with providing a final report of recommendations to the
by the end of the year. The report will then be made public.
At the October 22 meeting, anyone can submit verbal or written
to the commission, which asks that verbal comments be limited to five
minutes. Those who are unable to attend, and present their views for
five minutes, can still get their five cents in. Written input is
being accepted at BRTC@dot.state.nj.us. and at Box 600, Trenton,
For more information, call Anna Farneski at 609-530-4280.
In an effort to get New Jersey commuters involved in
a healthy commute, the Greater Mercer Transportation Management
(GMTMA) has introduced Workout to Work — a customized commute
incentive program that promotes bicycle riding as a primary means
of commuter transportation. The program, while designed to relieve
traffic-related congestion, primarily proposes a healthy alternative
to sitting in a car on a daily basis.
Workout to Work is geared toward commuters who live within five to
ten miles of the worksite or public transit. Upon registration,
are provided with commuter tips, a customized map of their commuting
area, suggested routes, discount coupons, and safety information.
Participants are given further incentive to track their miles on a
monthly basis and submit them for a monthly drawing featuring prizes
donated by local merchants and healthcare professionals.
Registration and mile tracking can be done online at www.gmtma.org
Recent studies show that 15 percent of the average American’s annual
income is spent on transportation-related costs — an expense that
exceeds that of annual food costs. Officials have also found that
tail pipe emissions are the number one source of air pollution in
the country. Pollution levels are found to be higher for short car
trips because cars emit three times more pollution at ignition.
the program is geared toward commuters who live close to the worksite,
the goal is to reduce high-toxin, short-commute emission levels.
Biking or walking to work helps reduce the risk of coronary heart
disease, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes. It also
helps in controlling weight, relieving depression, and developing
healthy bones, muscles, and joints. For more information visit
or call 609-452-1491.
There are lots of reasons why commuters don’t want to
leave their cars at home and travel to work via bus, train, or
One of the biggest is a fear that they will be stuck should the school
nurse call or a toothache strike. Another worry is that a late client
call or an urgent request from the boss will mean a missed ride.
Keep Middlesex Moving (KMM) is easing that fear so that more people
will consider mass transit or ridesharing. The organization has
Emergency Ride Home.
To qualify for the program, the commuter must work in Middlesex or
Monmouth County, and travel to work by carpool, vanpool, or mass
at least once a week. Once registered, the commuter is entitled to
three free rides home per year in instances of unexpected overtime
or personal emergency.
One early member of the Emergency Ride Home network is Christine
Budrik, who uses public transportation to travel from Howell to
Marlboro each day. She is quoted by KMM as saying, "There have
been times when I got stuck at work without transportation home. I
also have had family emergencies and had to take taxis great distances
at a considerable expense. The Emergency Ride Home put my mind at
ease, knowing that I could get a ride in an emergency."
KMM worked with Enterprise Rent-a-Car and A-1 Limousine to set up
the system. It offers commuters two options: a rental car for one
day or a trip home via A-1.
Commuters interested in learning more can call KMM at 732-745-4368
or can visit the organization’s website at www.kmm.org
— Kathleen McGinn Spring
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.