2017/06 – Latent Demand

Wider GWB paths and a connected grid would draw down trips into the Port Authority Bus Terminal.  This will reduce congestion, extend the service life of existing facility and, by offsetting latent demand, extend the tenure of its replacement.

Chairman Degnan.  Director Foye.  Commissioners.

The problem is detailed in the PA’s Trans-Hudson Commuting Capacity Study,[1] along with criteria for strategies to reduce demand.  Cycling across the GWB meets all those criteria.

  • It should serve a “bus market”
  • Compete on cost and travel time
  • Be operationally and politically feasible
  • Enhance resilience and sustainability
  • Reduce “latent demand”
  • Have an immediate and durable impact
  • Emulate best practices
  • Complement other demand reduction strategies
  • Leverage secular trends

Serve a “bus market”

29K Bergen residents commute by bus to New York City.  That’s 36% of all Bergen-NYC commuters and 30% of total PABT demand.[2]

Compete on cost and travel time

Cyclists comprise all income groups while 40% of bus and 80% of ferry riders earn $100K.[3]

The bike commute from Fort Lee to the PABT is 54 minutes, the same as bus. But cyclists get a “one seat ride” whereas 90% of bus riders must also walk or subway.[4] [5]

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 7.32.33 AM.pngCommuter walks from the PABT. Image PANYNJ.

Be operationally and politically feasible

Manhattan already has a robust infrastructure.[6]

A grid across Bergen would cost a few million dollars.[7]

NY-NJ Transport Master Plans call for increased cycling infrastructure.[8] [9]

170 organizations, businesses and public officials have called for wider GWB paths, including NJ gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy and the so called “bus market” boroughs of Cliffside Park, Edgewater and Fort Lee.[10]

Enhance resilience and sustainability [11] [12]

Reduce latent demand

It offers a safe, healthful, fun commuting option to 51K Bergen commuters who don’t bus now, but who might with improved service.[13]

Have an immediate and durable impact

New capacity would be online by 2020 and through 2100, reducing demand on current and replacement Terminals.

Emulate best practices

Cities around the world have successfully expanded cycling infrastructure and mode share while reducing congestion and transport costs.[14] [15]

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 12.49.44 PM.pngDockless bike share in Hangzhou, China. Image UC Davis.

Facilitate other demand reduction strategies

Encouraging cycling, particularly with folding bikes, will increase multi-modal trips.[16]

And the GWB wouldn’t be alone. The new Goethals will afford locals a 75 minute commute to Wall Street via the Staten Island Ferry.  And the new Bayonne an hour’s.

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 3.00.30 PM.pngBrompton folding bicycle. Images Brompton.

Leverage secular trends

  • Demand for all transit modes exceeds capacity.
  • The region continues to build out cycling infrastructure.
  • Implementation of regional imperatives to reduce GHG emissions.
  • Increased use of E-bikes will extend range and shorten travel times.[17]
  • The business district expands to Upper Manhattan.[18]

Wider GWB paths will spur new connected bikeways, expand the constituency and reduce active and latent demand on current and replacement terminals.

Does the Agency want to spend ten billion dollars on a new Terminal and have to tell travelers to “stay home”?[19]  I don’t think so.

Thank you.

Neile Weissman, 2017

[1] Trans-Hudson Commuting Capacity Study Appendices, PANYNJ, https://tinyurl.com/xhvht2zs

[2] The 2013 US Census Journey to Work dataset puts the total size of the market for commuters from Bergen County to NYC at 80,002 people. Multiplying by an estimated bus modal share of 36.3% leaves 29,041 Bergen-NYC bus commuters, PANYNJ, THCCS, B22 

[3] 83% of ferry riders and 40% of bus customers earn $100K per year, PANYNJ, THCCS, B19

[4] Google Maps, http://tinyurl.com/l8r4t42

[5] According to the 2012 Interstate Bus Analysis, bus customers overwhelmingly walk (48.5%) or take a connecting subway (44.8%) to access their final destination.   PANYNJ, THCCS, A23, B24

Note: If the replacement PABT is moved west and the surrounding neighborhood becomes more congested, that will further increase walk times.

[6] New York City’s bike grid has grown to 1000 miles and bike share use to 10 million trips per year. 850,000, or 10% of residents, now bike three or more times per month., Cycling in the City, NACTO-NYCDOT p. 11, http://tinyurl.com/ho9gvy5


[7]  $13K per mile (stripes and sharrows) times 175 miles (40% of all County roads) = $2.3 million

[8] 119 mentions of “bicycle”2040 Master Plan, New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, http://tinyurl.com/gmjr5jr

[9] 45 mentions of “bicycle”, 2040 Master Plan, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authorityhttp://tinyurl.com/hqhm993

[10] Phil Murphy on Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC, 17:40, http://tinyurl.com/mn7t374

[11] War Footing, Complete George, http://tinyurl.com/m2qmb2q

[12] Green Pass, Complete George, http://tinyurl.com/hqgkw3l

[13] “Latent demand is desire for transportation unmet by existing supply. It generally cannot be observed, but can become real growth after capacity is increased.”, PANYNJ, THCCS, A44

[14] Green Dividend, Complete George, http://tinyurl.com/yc4xv97w

[15] Aggressive implementation of a pro-cycling agenda, including bike grids, bike share, e-bikes and cycling-friendly legislation would globally reduce CO2 emissions from transport 47% by 2050 and annual transportation costs by $700 billion., A Global High Shift Cycling Scenario, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy at UC Davis, http://tinyurl.com/grrhx2s

[16] Folding/E-Bikes, Complete George, http://tinyurl.com/y7eh5t3k

[17] The case for bicycles’ inevitable triumph over cars, CNN Tech, http://tinyurl.com/mnomc2m

[18] “(The GWB) is a fast and potentially attractive link for destinations on the Upper East Side such as Hunter College, Rockefeller University, Lenox Hill Hospital, the Hospital for Special Surgery, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, as well as the major employment center of Midtown East.”, PANYNJ, THCCS, A31, B9

[19] MTA Travel ‘Ban’, New York Post, 6/12/17, P7

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.24.23 AM.png