Princeton Future co-founder Sheldon Sturges.

The Future of Transit in Princeton

Can Transit on Demand work in Princeton? That will be the fundamental question addressed at a public workshop on Saturday, September 28, from 9 a.m. to noon in the Community Room of the Princeton Public Library, 65 Witherspoon Street, Princeton.

Organized by Princeton Future, the non-profit, independent community group studying issues related to planning, development, and affordability, the workshop will consider the capabilities of a transit-on-demand system, using several small vehicles that could be summoned by a smartphone app to a location within walking distance of a user’s home.

Among the goals of such a program would be a system robust enough to make Princeton an accessible community anyone, including those who cannot or choose not to own or drive a car.

Five neighborhood breakout sessions will be held to consider what routes would be most valuable for residents. Speakers at the event include Alain Kornhauser, professor of operations research and financial engineering and director of the Program in Transportation at Princeton University, and Jerry He, an urbanist with a background in computer science who is pursuing a master’s of architecture at Princeton.

“Developers of electric cars and autonomous vehicles are eager to see how their technologies can be applied in the real world,” says Sheldon Sturges, administrator and co-founder of Princeton Future. Because the transit on demand system would operate over fixed routes, the variables presented to autonomous vehicles would be minimized. “We want to explore the possibility of leveraging this interest to gain support — possibly including the vehicles — for such an on-demand system.”

Sturges said that such a system, if implemented, would begin with safety drivers in control. Piloted autonomous shuttle buses are already operating on fixed routes in downtown areas of Detroit, Denver, Las Vegas, and Columbus, Ohio. For more information visit www.princetonfuture.org.

Forum Scheduled on Alexander Road Bridge

The New Jersey Department of Transportation will hold the second of two scheduled public meetings on the upcoming Alexander Road Bridge replacement on Wednesday, September 25, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the main meeting room at Monument Hall in Princeton. State and county officials will answer questions, and attendees can view plans for the new bridges.

Two simultaneous projects scheduled to begin on Wednesday, November 6, are expected to shut down Alexander Road — a heavily trafficked thoroughfare that connects to Princeton to Route 1, the Princeton Junction Train Station, and West Windsor — for six months.

During that time the State of New Jersey will replace the aging span over the D&R Canal, at the Princeton-West Windsor border, that dates to 1948. The cost for that project is an estimated $4.9 million.

At the same time Mercer County will replace the smaller bridge over Stony Brook, on the Princeton side of the canal.

For more information contact Kimberley Nance of the state Department of Transportation at 609-963-1982 or Kimberly.Nance@dot.nj.gov.

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