Press Release Article


PORT AUTHORITY BOARD RECEIVES TRANS-HUDSON COMMUTING CAPACITY STUDY

Date: Sep 22, 2016
Press Release Number: 175-2016

The Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners today received the results of a Trans-Hudson Commuting Capacity Study, which recommends the agency work with its regional partners to reduce long-term demand at a midtown bus terminal by at least 10 percent while proceeding with plans for a new facility that could accommodate projected 2040 passenger volume.

The study was conducted by a team from engineering firm WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff that included specialists in emerging technologies, transportation planning, ferry transportation and other disciplines. A summary report is available at http://www.panynj.gov/about/pdf/Trans-Hudson_Commuting_Capacity_Study-Summary_Report_9-21-16.pdf, while appendices to the report can be accessed through http://www.panynj.gov/about/pdf/Trans-Hudson_Commuting_Capacity_Study-All_Appendices_9-21-16.pdf

Working closely with Port Authority staff, the team also solicited input from NJ Transit and other regional agency partners in both states, and independent experts on technology and transportation policy. Planning and technical issues affecting future demand at the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT), through the Lincoln Tunnel corridor and across other trans-Hudson transportation modes were examined in detail.

“The Trans-Hudson Commuting Capacity Study provides the Port Authority with useful recommendations on emerging technologies and other innovations that can help improve conditions for trans-Hudson commuters,” Chairman John Degnan said. “This will be instrumental in our planning for the replacement of the existing midtown terminal.”

“The study offers a clear analysis of key trends and important ideas on how we can prepare for and manage those changes,” Vice Chairman Steven Cohen said. “It will provide significant benefits as we move forward with a project that will require extensive collaboration with partners on both sides of the river.”

One key study finding is that increased capacity might result in additional demand, lessening the prospect of reduced bus terminal utilization and thereby supporting a recommendation for construction of a new West Side terminal.

The bus terminal currently serves approximately 232,000 daily customers. It is over capacity during peak hours and will be unable to meet future passenger growth projections, now forecast to reach up to 337,000 passengers daily by 2040.

As part of the study, alternate transit services were analyzed to determine whether projected 2040 bus terminal demand could be reduced. The team concluded that successful implementation of alternative transit improvements eventually could draw off at least 10 percent of PABT demand. However, the study recommends that a replacement bus terminal should be able to accommodate the full projected increase if needed, by using a flexible, scalable and modular design.

Possible improvements include initiating new trial bus routes using other trans-Hudson crossings in an effort to reduce Lincoln Tunnel and bus terminal congestion, and new bus staging and storage locations on both sides of the Hudson.

Within 10 years, technological advances in bus operations and traffic management could facilitate increased traffic on the contraflow Exclusive Bus Lane (XBL), which channels eastbound buses along Route 495 to the Lincoln Tunnel during weekday morning peak hours, the study found. It recommends the Port Authority take a lead role, in partnership with NJ Transit and other agencies, to develop an integrated platform for the best use of emerging technologies.

The Port Authority needs to collaborate with transportation agencies in both states, private bus carriers, New York City officials, New Jersey localities and other stakeholders in reaching long-term solutions. Further, the study suggests the Port Authority work with New York City and with other transportation agencies to ease commuter demand during “peak of the peak” times, by encouraging employers in the Manhattan central business district to consider flexible work schedules, telecommuting and other strategies.

The Port Authority board commissioned the Trans-Hudson Commuting Capacity Study in October 2015, at the same time it called for the International Design + Deliverability Competition seeking conceptual ideas for the replacement of the bus terminal. That competition has yielded five concepts that are now available for public review and comment at www.PABTcompetition.com.

Any project to replace the existing terminal will be subject to full regulatory review and will undergo all required planning and environmental review and approval processes. The Port Authority will continue to solicit input from local communities, elected officials and other stakeholders.

Contact:
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
212-435-7777

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit http://www.panynj.gov.


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