Press Release Article


Date: Jun 20, 2012
Press Release Number: 91-2012

36 percent reduction agency-wide since 2000

The Port Authority today announced that motor vehicle crashes at its facilities decreased by 12 percent in the first quarter of 2012, compared with the first quarter of 2011. 

During the months of January through March 2012, the Port Authority reported 1,197 crashes, 158 fewer than the same period a year earlier. The biggest decrease occurred at the Holland Tunnel, with 139 crashes reported during the quarter, a 25 percent drop from the same period during 2011.

The first-quarter 2012 results continue the positive trend the Port Authority recorded in the numbers for all of 2011, when it reported 6,291 motor vehicle crashes, a decline of 252, or 5 percent, from 2010. The most significant decrease came at the Outerbridge Crossing, where accidents declined by 26 percent in 2011 to 74, down from 100 in 2010.

Since 2000, the number of motor vehicle crashes has decreased 34 percent at Port Authority bridges and tunnels, 39 percent at the airports, and 32 percent at the marine terminals. Overall, the agency has seen a 36 percent reduction at all its facilities combined.

The Port Authority attributes the improved numbers to aggressive implementation of new measures designed to make the crossings safer for all users. These measures include the broadcasting of highway advisory radio messages; the installation of fixed signage, pavement and crosswalk markings, and new traffic signals; and continued enforcement efforts carried out under a Traffic Safety Improvement Program first developed by the Port Authority’s Engineering Department more than ten years ago.

“We are committed to ensuring the safety of our customers who use our crossings, airports, and marine facilities on a daily basis,” said Executive Director Pat Foye. “We applaud our engineers who tirelessly work to make sure we properly assess and identify highly hazardous locations so we can continue to reduce risks to our travelers.”

“The safety of our customers, commuters, staff and police is our most important responsibility,” said Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni. “We will continue to work around the clock to reduce crashes and save lives.”

Some of the newly implemented safety measures are credited with noticeable improvements at the Lincoln Tunnel in the years following 2009 after studies showed the North Tube had a high number of rear-end crashes. In the two-year period after the Port Authority implemented new safety-measures, the number of crashes at this location decreased by 25 percent, to 163 in 2011 from 217 in 2010.

The Port Authority also made safety improvements at the Holland Tunnel in 2009 at the intersection of 14th Street and Marin Boulevard in Jersey City. The agency deployed left-turn traffic signals, new signs and pavement markings to help reduce the number of sideswipe and rear-end crashes. The number of crashes in the two-year period that followed decreased 19 percent.

The Port Authority also increased its police presence at Newark Liberty International Airport at the Terminal C arrivals level in 2009 after a high number of sideswipe crashes were reported. In the two-year period following implementation, the number of crashes decreased 27 percent.

The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) will award Port Authority Assistant Chief Traffic Engineer Rizwan Baig, one of the individuals responsible for pioneering the agency’s strategic traffic safety improvements, the international Edmund R. Ricker Transportation Safety Council Award during a ceremony in August. Each year, ITE honors individuals or organizations for outstanding contributions to the field of transportation safety.

Under Mr. Baig’s stewardship of the Traffic Safety Improvement Program, Port Authority facilities experienced a significant decline in crashes—from 11,344 in 2000 to 7,784 in 2008—a 31 percent decrease. This dramatic drop is a result of numerous projects targeted to improve safety at Port Authority facilities.

“Mr. Baig’s leadership, dedication, and professionalism are representative of the Port Authority’s commitment to safety and efficiency at its facilities,” said Port Authority Chief Engineer Peter Zipf.

“We applaud Mr. Baig and all of our engineers who put safety first by making sure we properly assess and identify hazardous locations so we can continue to reduce risks to our travelers,” said Port Authority Chief Traffic Engineer Jose Rivera.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Steve Coleman 212-435-7777

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which does not receive tax dollars from either state, operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. This includes John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, Stewart International and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; the Port Authority-Port Jersey Marine Terminal and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.