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Ocean Ride

The restoration of passenger rail is critically needed in the Ocean-Monmouth region, one of the fastest growing regions of the State, to provide a convenient, reliable travel choice for commuters, visitors and transit dependent residents.
PROJECT STATUS
MONMOUTH-OCEAN-MIDDLESEX RAIL PROJECT
Travel Demand Forecasting
 

Monmouth & Ocean Counties worked with AECOM, an independent, ridership expert to analyze the preliminary ridership levels prepared by NJ Transit and to develop alternative ridership estimates.

On September 16, 2006, the counties met with NJ Transit and the NJ Department of Transportation to present the findings of this study effort.


Major Finding
AECOM determined potential ridership levels for the Monmouth Junction alignment as 41,000 per day.
   
Statistic Monmouth Junction
New Transit Trips 11,000
MOM Boardings 41,000
User Benefits (Hours) 18,200
     
Comparison of MOM Ridership Forecasts
NJ Transit, Monmouth County Planning and AECOM
Rail Alignment NJ Transit Monmouth County AECOM Report for
Ocean & Monmouth Counties
Monmouth Junction 9,000 40,700 41,000
Matawan 10,900 22,200 25,800
Red Bank 7,900 12,000 20,000
AECOM figures indicate potential ridership levels on the Monmouth Junction alignment are more than 4 times the preliminary levels released by NJ Transit.
                           
Background - Overview of the Concern
Ocean and Monmouth Counties disagreed with preliminary ridership figures released by NJ Transit during the DEIS process in Spring 2005. As a result, Monmouth County conducted a comprehensive analysis of land use specifically focused on growth potential of developable land areas, proximity to the rail line, local zoning and consistency with the State Development and Redevelopment Plan. In May 2005, Monmouth County Planning Department released a ridership projections for each of the three (3) rail alignments as shown below. The Monmouth County projections were significantly higher than the NJ Transit figures.
Rail Alignment NJ Transit Monmouth County DIFFERENCE
Monmouth Junction 9,000 40,700 + 31,700
Matawan 10,900 22,200 + 11,300
Red Bank 7,900 12,000 + 4,100
 
Throughout the MOM DEIS process, Ocean and Monmouth Counties met with NJ Transit to further discuss various options to improve the viability of the MOM project. Several new developments occured:
  • Progress on THE Tunnel (ARC);
  • Use of dual-mode locomotives (operate in diesel and electric mode);
  • Updated NJTPA socio-economic forecasts with different picture of the future for the corridor;
  • FTA extending project evaluation year to 2030;
  • MOM services are added to THE TUNNEL, providing a one seat ride directly to Midtown Manhattan using dual-mode locomotives;
  • Continued federal funding approved for MOM Project through requests of Congressman James Saxton and Congressman Christopher Smith in the amount of $ 2.5 million.
Action Steps to Improve MOM Ridership
  • Applied attributes that would make a successful case for MOM in a FTA “new Start” context – meet federal requirements for future funding;
  • Conducted a series of model runs to determine key operating conditions which contribute to viability of MOM alternatives.
Key Finding: Market potential in corridor is sensitive to travel time. Even small time savings are worth pursuing.
                       
Ocean and Monmouth Counties – Recommendations to NJ Transit
  Initiate a collaborative effort to address the following operational and other model assumptions to increase ridership and raise the FTA rating for MOM project
  • Increase frequency of train service
  • Include more realistic parking capacity assumptions for key stations
  • Include more realistic highway congestion figures
  • Improve travel time which has a direct effect on user benefits
  • Account for higher gas prices
  • Address limitations of employment data in the model

As a result, NJ Transit has initiated a “new” working group comprised of professional staff from the three affected counties; Ocean, Monmouth and Middlesex along with a representative of the NJTPA, the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and project consultants. Our immediate focus is to review ridership forecasts between NJ Transit and the independent analysis prepared by AECOM. The first meeting is scheduled for October 30, 2006.

 
CONTACT INFORMATION
More detailed information is available on the NJ TRANSIT M-O-M website.

For more information:
 

Ocean County Planning Board
129 Hooper Ave.
PO Box 2191
Toms River, NJ 08754-2191

Ocean County Department of Transportation and Vehicle Services
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October 6, 2011