Route 1 Congestion Relief Project Named Finalist in America's Best Transportation Project Competition
“We are extremely proud that for the second year in a row, an NJDOT project has been named a national finalist in this competition,” Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “This national recognition demonstrates New Jersey's leadership in delivering innovative and cost-effective projects that improve our communities and enhance quality of life for New Jerseyans.”
The Route 1 Permanent Hard Shoulder Running Project is designated as a small project competing in the Operations Excellence Category. Last year, NJDOT's Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges Project was selected as a national finalist in the medium-sized project, Quality of Life/Community Development category.
About the Route 1 Permanent Hard Shoulder Running Project
Route 1 is a three-lane highway in most sections, except between Independence Way and Raymond Road in South Brunswick, where it is reduced to two lanes. The lane reduction often causes bottlenecks and delays in this area. Allowing cars to use the shoulder as a travel lane on both Route 1 northbound and southbound between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, eases congestion and improves traffic flow.
After a six-month pilot, NJDOT made the improvements permanent based on the following benefits:
- Having three travel lanes, instead of two, created more space between vehicles, which increased safety.
- Commute times were cut by up to 50 percent.
- Capacity improved. Before the pilot program, the corridor carried an average of 5,600 cars southbound during the morning rush-hour. During the pilot, the route carried 6,000 vehicles during this same timeframe.
- Average vehicle speeds were 31 mph during the pilot compared to 13 mph before.
- Vehicles traveling in the shoulder do not prevent first responders from using the lanes.
- Less congestion reduces carbon emissions for improved environmental impacts.
Operational safety improvements included 14 overhead lane-use signals and four dynamic message signs at the entrances and exits of the roadway in both directions. In addition, 28 cameras were installed to continually monitor the shoulder lanes, and turf pavers were installed to provide for maintenance access without lane closures.
Because of the Route 1 HSR program's success, NJDOT now considers HSR with appropriate ITS, a standard transportation system management and operations strategy when scoping cost-effective congestion management projects in the state.