Happy New Year! 2021 was a year of hope and trying to establish a new normal. Some of us learned how to safely gather in small, outdoor groups, return to the office/work, return to classrooms, and return to transit. While others, essential workers especially, continued their work but in a safer environment. Although 2021 was not the year when we “got back to normal,” we had many reasons to hope that some sense of normalcy will be coming soon. While the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022 has been a little worrisome for some of us, we choose to be hopeful and optimistic for the new year. We have seen that a lot got done in 2021 and we hope to see even more accomplishments in 2022. This month, we will publish a few posts on what happened in 2021 in the TDM (transportation demand management) area and what we are hopeful for in 2022. We will start with a look back to some of the transportation, safety, commuting, and other news from 2021.
- The intercity bus operator Greyhound was acquired by FlixMobility a German bus and rail operator. The deal brings new hopes that long distance bus travel will experience renewed interest and increased demand. More about the deal here.
- NJ Transit announced the Princeton Transitway Study which included an opportunity for the public to offer input on the future of the Dinky. The results of the study are expected early this year, 2022. Public feedback included significant interest to improve bike and pedestrian connections along the Dinky rail. We can’t wait to see what will happen.
- NJ Transit launched the Access Link Mobile app which allows customers to make, cancel, and monitor reservations. The new app improved use and simplified the reservation process by reducing the need to call and speak to an operator each time customers need to manage reservations. More about the app here.
- In 2021 we’ve seen more investments in clean transportation projects, including a NJ Transit buses pilot program. The NJ Governor announced an investment of $100 million in clean, equitable transportation projects in February 2021. More info here.
- Last year was also the year when we saw renewed interest in changing the way public transit operates. From changing the peak hour model to changing the “hub-and-spoke” model to increase reliability and accessibility. A great article on this available here.
- DVRPC launched a new text-based service to help users find bike routes with the least amount of car traffic or traffic stress. The service is called RUTI and uses text messaging, Google Maps, and DVRPC’s Bike Level of Traffic Stress data to find the most comfortable bike route. More info here.
- NJ Transit updated its bikes, e-bikes, and other personal vehicles access on board. NJ Transit now allows e-bikes, scooters, and other battery-powered personal vehicles on board. Updated rules available here.
- There is a new proposed biking benefit in the Build Back Better Act. Employers could offer employees up to $81 a month in benefits that are not subject to income tax. We’ll see what happens with that benefit in the new year.
- The bicycle shortage continued in 2021 and it is expected to get a little better in 2022. Here is an explanation on why the shortage is still a problem.
- NJ Transit announced a partnership with Waze to improve safety. A new Waze feature alerts drivers while using the traffic navigation mobile app that they are nearing a railroad crossing. The warning will inform drivers to proceed with caution around rails. More info here. This new feature complements NJT’s joint study with Rutgers University to improve pedestrian detection at rail crossings.
- A new bill was introduced in February 2021, the Complete Streets Act of 2021, that would promote safe and accessible transportation routes across the country. The bill would provide capital funding and technical assistance to build safe streets projects, such as sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, and bus stops. To see progress on this bill, click here.
- Vision Zero introduced a new Congressional resolution to prioritize Zero Traffic Deaths by 2050. More info here.
- There was renewed interest in changing how we think about work, specifically the 40-hour work week. Shortening the work week to 4 days would be beneficial for employees and for the environment. Reducing the number of days people commute to work can reduce carbon emissions. More on that here.
- The infrastructure bill was signed into law. The new bill includes funding for transit and rail, electric vehicles, roads and bridges, and more. See what’s in the bill here.
- The Gateway Tunnel received federal approval and construction is expected to begin in August 2023. The project could take 12 years to complete. More info here.
While 2021 brought some good news for transit, EVs, and bicycling, a lot more work remains in the safety area. Hopefully we will see some progress during 2022. Stay tuned for our resolutions.