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The Commissioner's Report


2009 in review: NJDOT improvements

In 2009, we made several strides with our ongoing efforts to manage the state highway system and to make our transportation system safer for all users. We continued to expand and look for new, innovative ways to keep all modes of transportation moving safely.

Our 511 system and the Statewide Traffic Management Center have been instrumental in informing the public of roadway conditions and keeping traffic moving safely in New Jersey. The 511 Internet and phone system logged its one millionth customer inquiry in November.

Our ongoing efforts have reduced the average total incident duration in New Jersey for the majority of incidents from an average of 2.75 hours in 1995 to slightly under an hour in 2009.

Along with more Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) uses throughout the state, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) introduced the first permanent travel time system in March 2009 along the local and express lanes of I-78 from Route 24 in Springfield Township, Union County to the New Jersey Turnpike Interchange in Newark, Essex County.

On October 22, we celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Emergency Service Patrol (ESP) and recognized the important role that they play in our statewide incident management program and have touched the lives of so many people in a positive way. Our Dispatch Unit also needs to be recognized for ensuring complete roadway coverage in aiding the ESP program.

We continued to build upon the work to improve the safety of New Jersey motorists, pedestrians and all modes of transportation.

In 2008, 594 people were killed on our roads. That is a decrease of 130 fatalities from 2007 and the lowest number of fatalities since 1948. The State Police Fatal Accident Statistics reports 588 fatalities on our roadways for 2009. Even one fatality on our roadways is too many, but this is an accomplishment of which everyone who is involved in traffic safety in New Jersey should be proud.

A few years ago, we pledged to build median barriers on 100 miles of New Jersey highways where the medians are less than 60 feet wide. This year, we honored that commitment by constructing more than 100 miles of crossover protection. We will continue to add more miles of protection along our highways.

We advanced the Governor’s $74 million Pedestrian Safety initiative, as the Department continued to invest in intersection and roadway improvements statewide that are designed to keep our pedestrians safe. More than 180 pedestrian safety projects have been completed, are underway or have been funded, including 60 completed by NJDOT in 19 counties since 2007.

To build up on that commitment, NJDOT recently finalized a ‘Complete Streets’ policy that will ensure that all future roadway improvement construction projects include pedestrian safety elements and components to them. The policy will provide safe access for all users by promoting healthier lifestyles, creating more livable neighborhoods and reducing traffic congestion. The policy will be implemented through the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of new and retrofit transportation facilities within the public rights of way that are federal or state funded.

In November, the Rutgers Transportation Safety Resource Center (TSRC), in conjunction with the NJDOT, received an award by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Roadway Safety Foundation in Program Planning, Development and Evaluation, for the Plan4Safety: Crash Analysis and Decision Support Tool. Plan4Safety is our online comprehensive crash analysis software application that supports our safety teams in making critical decisions based on data. Roadway safety programs are a critical part of the nation’s solutions to saving lives and preventing injuries on our nation’s highways and this application gives our safety teams valuable accurate and consistent information for improvements to our most high-risk and vulnerable areas.

And the ongoing efforts of the Department were on display on January 15, when the US Airways Flight 1549 that left LaGuardia Airport made a remarkable emergency landing in the Hudson River. NJDOT played a role in the aircraft’s rescue and recovery effort due to sensors managed by the New York Harbor Observing and Prediction System (NYHOPS). The sensors monitor water and wind conditions, temperature, level, direction and speed, as well as other environmental conditions and vessel traffic data throughout the New York Harbor and New Jersey Coast regions. Through the NJDOT Office of Maritime Resources, we developed the sensor program with the Stevens Institute of Technology, the U.S. Office of Naval Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other agencies. The sensor program gave emergency workers the historical data regarding the local waters within minutes of the crash so that they could employ the best response strategy.

From the planning stages of projects to construction completion and beyond, we continually study and revisit ways to make transportation in New Jersey moving safer.

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  Department of Transportation
  P.O. Box 600
  Trenton, NJ 08625-0600
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  Last Updated:  January 13, 2010