D. Michael Hollo Jr

D. Michael Hollo Jr

D. Michael Hollo Jr.

UnionCounty is located in northern New Jersey, consisting of 103.29 square miles of land with 5073.2 people per square mile. According to the 2000 census the population was 522,541, with 186,124 households and 2.77 persons per household. It is the sixth largest county by population and 20th in size, combining to make it the third densest county in New Jersey. The county is made up of 21 municipalities, ranging in size from WinfieldTownship (.2 square miles and 1,514 people) to Elizabeth (13.7 square miles and 120,568 people). Numerous major highways run through the county including the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, and Interstates 78 and 278. Also, multiple passenger rail lines run by New Jersey Transit pass through the county, including the North East Corridor, the North Jersey Coast Line, and the Raritan Valley Line. Even so, the mean travel time to work according to the 2000 census is 28.7 minutes. Union county’s major industries, according to its website, are retail, pharmaceuticals,
petroleum, and telecommunications. It is the world headquarters of Merck and Co., Lucent Technologies, Schering-Plough and Wakefern Food Corp. Other major attractions include Port Elizabeth, the largest container cargo port on the east coast, the Watchung Reservation, with 2,065 acres of woodland, and JerseyGardens, the largest outlet mall in New Jersey. The implementation of a fast and efficient form of public transportation would greatly benefit the customers, employees, and other visitors of these locations by cutting down on travel times and creating greater ease of access.

1 Summit

2 New Providence

3 Mountainside

4 Westfield

5 Garwood

6 Fanwood

7 Plainfield

8 Kenilworth

9 Roselle Park

10 Roselle

11 Elizabeth

12 Linden

13 Rahway

14 Clark Township

15 Winfield Township

16 Cranford Township

17 Springfield Township

18 Union Township

19 Hillside Township

20 Scotch Plains Township

21 Berkeley Heights Township

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Union County Stops, New Jersey Transit

UnionCountyPark System

(35 Parks totaling 6,626 acres)

Due to its relatively small size and dense population, UnionCounty is a prime candidate for a PRT public transportation system. This system would cut down on travel time and cost as well as improving already existing forms of public transportation by cutting down on commuter traffic. Another byproduct of a PRT system would be a sharp decrease in the consumption of gasoline which would help to alleviate the growing problems of demand and concern for the environment. The proposed PRT system would function to serve 90% of the population on trips to and from different productions and attractions throughout the county. Each station is meant to be located within .25 miles (considered reasonable walking distance) of these productions and attractions.

The system was designed by creating small loops traveling in opposite directions. These loops generally consisted of three to six stations travelling in one direction from one interchange to another with similar line constructed in the opposite direction. Separate loops were connected by interchanges in all directions to allow the PRT vehicle to change to a different direction in an efficient manner. In this way, a passenger can get from one point to another quickly without having to go in an unnecessary direction for a period of time. Each station consists of one in node and one out node while each interchange was able to handle up to four nodes in or out. The stations were placed so that their quarter mile radius was able to cover the necessary productions and attractions. In order to minimize costs, stations were placed as far away as possible while still covering the necessary ground. This method lead to 449 stations being placed and used 111 interchanges to connect loops so that every station is able to reach every other point. This system was able to serve 91.5% of the total productions and 95.7% of the total attractions. The average distance to walk was calculated at 0.156 milesto a production, 0.161 miles to an attraction, and 0.155 miles to a station. Connecting the stations and interchanges used a total of 282.9 miles of guideway. To estimate the total number of PRT cars needed to service the population I multiplied the number of productions reached by 4 (the average number of trips per day) and then took 15% of this number, which would be the number needed during rush hour. The following calculation led to a need for 28,676 cars.

The estimated costs for each part of the system are as follows: $2 million per station, $5 million per mile of guideway, and $100,000 per vehicle. The summation of these gives $898 million for all stations, $1,415 million for guideway, and $2,868 million for vehicles, for a total cost of $5,181 million. To regain these costs it would be necessary for such a system to charge passengers in order to use it, much like the subway system does in New York City. Assuming that each passenger uses the system for all four of his or her trips a day for 300 days of the year, and assuming a 10 year plan to recoup the costs of construction, a ticket would need to be priced at approximately 90 cents per trip. This cost translates to $3.60 a day per passenger and $1080 per year. This seems like a very reasonable price for a trip ticket, especially considering that funding for such a project would probably be able to be raised by the government, as well as large attraction centers, such as schools and businesses. Overall, the idea of such a PRT system is not out of the question and could prove in fact to be very cost feasible. Following are some examples of the PRT design and census bureau statistics.

An example of two connecting loops: Within the larger system the interchanges at top and bottom would connect to similar loops above and below. Also, there would be interchanges on the left and right portions to connect to other loops to the side. Below: The final design.