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Bergen County Looks To Implement Futuristic Transit System

Bob Pilser at the NJ Transit station in Allendale figures out when he can get back home to Ho-Ho-Kus.
Bob Pilser at the NJ Transit station in Allendale figures out when he can get back home to Ho-Ho-Kus. Photo Credit: File Photo

HACKENSACK, N.J. — A new transit system that county officials are calling futuristic could alleviate traffic patterns in Bergen County, officials announced.

The collaboration between county officials and NJ Transit resulted in completion of the Bergen County Bus Rapid Transit Implementation Study, which investigated the viability and best approach for introducing and providing rapid transit services in Bergen County.

Bus Rapid Transit, more commonly referred to as BRT, is a transit mode that strives to combine the efficiency of trains with the flexibility of buses, by using a combination of technologies and strategies that allow BRT vehicles to travel faster, cleaner and more reliably than regular buses.

BRT service would allow transit vehicles to bypass congested traffic signals, collect fares electronically, provide real-time travel information for riders, improve coordination with other transit modes, as well as offer other features intended to provide a better travel experience for transit customers.

"This study illustrates the benefits of bringing Bus Rapid Transit to Bergen County," said Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco.

"Bus Rapid Transit is the public transit system of the future, providing more efficient, reliable service than passengers receive on a traditional bus route.

"With the right features, like dedicated bus lanes, off-board fare collection, and flexible and frequent operations, Bus Rapid Transit will mean shorter commutes and a better quality of life for our residents."

The comprehensive BRT study analyzed 20 routes, culminating in the recommendation of four routes as initial candidates for service. Each route can be implemented individually or in combination.

The final report further recommends a phased approach, with an eye toward implementing service along a north/south spine connecting Paramus and Secaucus, and an east/west spine connecting Englewood and Paterson -- linking together with other key activity centers and transit hubs in Bergen County and its environs, and providing the base network to grow a larger system.

This new service aims to further enhance the bus services that already serve Bergen County residents and businesses, and allows for system growth and expansion to meet demand as funding becomes available. This approach is similar to New York City’s current strategy and focus with their BRT.

As outlined in the report, public involvement was an essential component in developing the study and meetings were held at various milestones over the course of the study to capture both public input and technical expertise, in order to further develop the initial concepts and help frame the ultimate proposals.

While the study took into account existing transportation infrastructure challenges and limitations, the BRT approach considers a variety of techniques and technologies to improve the quality and performance of transit -- more quickly and with greater flexibility.

Moving forward, the study recognizes that the routes and technologies outlined in the final report are conceptual in nature, and may be phased in as funding and other resources are identified, reoriented as market demands shift, and must remain flexible to opportunities and challenges as they arise, just as existing bus services already do.

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