Cape May County is a prominent seashore community of townships located at the southern-most tip of New Jersey. Cape May offers myriad activities to its residents and vacationers during the summer time, from camping and fishing to surfing and bar culture. However, transportation to and within Cape May is largely done by car. 89% of commuters in Cape May County for 2005 used a car (80% alone, 9% carpooled), while only 2% used public transportation.
Route 9 and the Garden State Parkway, running north to south down the eastern corridor of Cape May County in tandem, form the backbone of the County’s highway network. Highway 47 represents a secondary north to south artery, running along the sparsely population western tract of Cape May County. These three highway systems provide excellent support to the commuters throughout mainland Cape May, but a series of complicated interchanges and a lack of highway speed roads make it very difficult to traverse the densely populated and highly frequented cities along Cape May County’s eastern coast. Development of a Public Rapid Transit system for Cape May County will create a much more efficient transportation method to interconnect mainland Cape May County with the coast in addition to providing a speedy alternative within coastal cities to seasonally congested roads and avenues.
Realistically, there are few alternatives to the use of the car within Cape May County. The train systems that run through Cape May County are primarily for freight and the only private consumer oriented rail transportation is the Cape May Seashore Line, a line tailored towards tourism rather than efficient travel.
Additionally, there are no local bus routes serving the Cape May County community, only regional bus systems for travel between outlying Cumberland and Atlantic County. The clear solution for this lack of efficient and local and regional travel is the integration of Cape May County into the State of New Jersey’s new Public Rapid Transit system.
In determining the network on which the most efficient and convenient PRT system will run, it is necessary to consider how PRT’s creation will serve Cape May County’s dynamic population and how it will further promote mutli-modal transportation through integration with current transportation infrastructure.
Addressing the dynamic nature of Cape May County, we will consider how the population changes on a seasonal basis. While the population in Cape May County was about 100,000 in winter of 2005, Cape May County’s population ballooned to over 600,000 in the summer of that year. This marked seasonality of Cape May County can be explained by its heightened attractiveness to beach vacationers during the summer months. The five largest townships in Cape May County are Wildwood Crest, Cape May, Ocean City, Wildwood, and Avalon all represent a significant portion of the resort or beach facing community in Cape May County; interestingly, accounting for 40% of Cape May County’s population during non-summer months, resort communities have a population density of about 1700 people per square mile, whereas the mainland only exhibits a population density of 260 people per square mile. During the months of the summer, however, the growth in population is predominately within the resort communities on the coast. As a result, during the summer, the proportion of population within the resort community increases from 40% to 65% during the summer months.
The PRT Network: Land Use and Design The Cape May County Personal Rapid Transit network was designed to serve the needs of local population through 976 station locations and interchanges, nearly 500 miles of guide way with the average distance between stations being around 0.4 miles. This network is meant to serve a permanent population of about 100,000 taking an average of three trips per day, but design considerations discussed below will allow the network to sustain efficient use under a population increase of 600% during the summer months.
Throughout Cape May County, the population density of each respective township varies widely from around 4181 people per square mile in Wildwood City to just 104 people per square mile within the Township of Dennis. The land use considered in determining the structure of the PRT network are housing, employment, shopping, religious, education, and transportation. Considering correlation between the type of land use and population density, it is necessary to distinguish between lower and higher population densities when designing the PRT network. In general, in low density areas, ridership will have lower congestion per unit time under typical conditions, so stations can be placed farther away from each other. In contrast, high density areas will have higher ridership per unit time under typical conditions, so it is necessary to place stations in closer proximity to alleviate any congestion that might arise.
The highest density communities are all predominately located along the eastern New Jersey coast-line in the Ocean City, Wildwood, Cape May, Sea Isle City, Avalon, and Stone Harbor townships. In general, each of these townships is built on a roughly rectangular grid, making it very easy to provide robust unidirectional transportation throughout each respective community for maximum connectivity. Provided in Figure II is a cut of the Wildwood network. Concentric rings with nodes along major avenues and roads are integrated into the current automobile transportation infrastructure to make multi modal trips utilizing the PRT network within each respective coastal township as convenient and efficient as possible. Additionally, land use in these areas is predominately saturated with hotels, recreational facilities, and office buildings, catering to the needs of the seasonal influx of vacationers attracted to Cape May.
Mainland Cape May County communities, with smaller population densities, are not as spatially structured as the shoreline communities. Northern Cape May County, in the areas of Marmora, Woodbine, and Dennis Township are rural and contain the lowest density of interest points. For the most the most part, mainland communities are not clearly distinguishable as independent physical entities; the relatively low density in land use introduces chaos in assessing physical distinction between and creating boundaries for each respective community; in these cases, concentric rings of unidirectional track were established to provide the most convenient travel services, considering the sparsely located points of interest. These concentric rings, in some cases, encapsulate and provide local transportation for more than one township. Land use in mainland Cape May is largely shopping, housing, and recreation (fishing, camping, boat touring, et cetera) centric.
The PRT Network: Service and Trip Generation Service to Education
One of the largest volume destination locations on the PRT network will be areas zoned for primary, middle, secondary, and undergraduate education. In primary, middle, and secondary education, there are currently 16,121 students enrolled in 38 schools throughout Cape May County, averaging about 460 students per educational facility.
Townships in Cape May County
Cape May City
West Cape May
The sole university level establishment, the Cape May County location of the Atlantic-Cape Community College has a student enrollment of about 3,200 in Cape May Court House. Unlike other points of interest, it is essential that the location be as close to each respective campus as necessary to ensure that the ridership (primarily children under 18) is able to seamlessly transition from the network to the point of interest without hindrance.
When generation trips for education, the enrollment at each respective school was taken into account as trips to and from the educational facilities. The school faculty was also added to the trip generation by multiplying the enrolled student numbers at each educational facility by the student to faculty ratio. It was assumed in building the network that those in permanent housing would be the sole source of trips provided to the educational locations.
Service to Housing
Considering the housing in Cape May needs to support permanent as well as temporary/vacationing populations, we must assess the use of the PRT network by both constituent.
Primary housing for the permanent population will be considered strictly single family units and apartment. There are a total of 91,047 housing units in Cape May County; 42,148 are occupied and 48,899 are vacant. Out of the occupied housing 31,294 units are owner owned and occupied, while 10,854 units are rented occupied. Out of the vacant housing 43,124, or 89% are for seasonal and vacation use, while the remaining units are either on the market, reserved for migratory workers, or for rent. The average number of residents per unit in Cape May County is about 3.
The 106,692 residents who comprise the permanent population of Cape May County will use the network predominantly for educational, employment and public space trips. Of course regular shopping and religious trips are being made by the permanent population, but the proportion of total trips to employment, education and public space destinations generated by the permanent population is vastly larger than proportion of temporary resident trip generation to those points of interest.
When considering the trip generation of the permanent residents we operated under the assumption that in each living unit, there were three residents each making a round trip from home to another destination and then returning back to home. Using the population density for each of the municipalities and by utilizing the graphic power of Google Earth, housing areas were assigned estimates as to the number or units and therefore the number of trips generating from the surrounding housing units.
In addition to the permanent residents, housing in Cape May County needs to be able to support an additional population of 497,610 seasonal residents. Primary housing for the vacationing population will include single family units that are vacant during non-summer periods, apartments, motels, hotels, inns, and any other sort of temporary residence. Cape May County provides 43,124 units of single family residence and apartments, so under the assumption that each vacationer’s family is around four people, this takes up 172,496 of the vacationing population, leaving the remaining 325,114 vacationers to find temporary housing in resorts, hotels, motels and other temporary residence.
In contrast to the permanent population, the trips along the network for the seasonal residents are predominantly for recreational and shopping purposes. Again, the seasonal population will account for some proportion of the generated trips to religious, educational, employment, and public space.
Building a network robust enough to serve a population inflation of 600% for the summer months requires not only forecasting trip generation from the general population, but also for the seasonal residents. However, due to the fact that both populations would be able to operate on the same network because of overlapping points of interest throughout both populations, the only major operational concern in this case would be congestion. Also, considering that the summer influx of population into Cape May is primarily exhibited along the eastern coast and to a much lesser extent mainland Cape May, it is reasonable to assume that vacationer will have little need to travel throughout mainland Cape May during the summer months, meaning that infrastructure for mainland Cape May can be built to serve solely the permanent population. However, since the population along the eastern coast rises so significantly, to combat the congestion, it is possible to assume only permanent residents in the trip generation and accommodate a rising population through pushing points of interest closer together on local networks to combat congestion.
Service to Employment/Public Administration
Considering that 80% of commuters in Cape May County use a car to get to work, the appeal of the PRT system must be towards the working population. In order to provide a superior mode of transportation or add the PRT component to the multimodal commute to work, the service to employment locations must be close enough to provide for a brisk walk from the station to the point of interest, but not allocated to the point of having a station at every employment location.
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, and mining
Transportation, warehousing and utilities information
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing
Professional, scientific, management, administrative and waste
Educational, health and social, services
Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food
Other services (except public administration)
Demographically, Cape May County has a labor force of 48,482 and an unemployment rate of 8.2%. 35,573 or 80% percent of the population hold professional, service, and sales occupations. Additionally, the most commonly employed industries in Cape May County are construction, management, retail trade, education, public administration, and accommodation, creating 33,685 jobs for the population of Cape May County.
Starting out with the population of Cape May County in the workforce and operating under the assumption that the labor force of Cape May County serves solely locally and does not travel outside the County for employment, we then took out the percentage of unemployed people within the work force to generate the total number of employed people within Cape May County. Then, we distributed this population of employees throughout the county to each respective municipality, based on the population percentage of each respective municipality as a proportion of the total population. Now with figures for number of employees per municipality, each municipality working population was separated into specific industry jobs based on average employment industry statistics for Cape May County. Although not the most precise method of employment trip generation, considering the general homogeneity of occupations across Cape May County (recall 88% of employees hold professional, services, or sales type occupations), determining the exact number and type of each employee within an entire municipality is a worthless enterprise, considering the dynamic nature of employment trends over time.
Service to Shopping and Recreation
The Cape May PRT system will provide service to major shopping centers, paying attention to building stations near high volume shopping areas, rather than focusing on creating a network on which there is a station at every frequented shopping location.
As Cape May is an ocean oriented community, there are many fishing, marina, boat-for-hire, camping, and observatory locations are easily accessible from stations along the network. Similar to shopping, the aim is not to serve every recreational point of interest in Cape May County, but to address areas of high volume, with the exception of providing stations nearby golf courses and marinas.
Each member of a household was assumed to take two shopping or recreational trips per day. Given the data collected for shopping and recreation, divided total number of municipal specific shopping or recreational trips per day by the number of collected shopping and recreation points of interest within that municipality, number of trips per location was determined.
The Benefit of PRT In joining the fifteen other counties in New Jersey, upon adoption and creation of the State-wide Public Rapid Transit system, Cape May County will have access to within a quarter mile of virtually every point of interest in Cape May County and New Jersey. Providing an environmentally friendly and safe transportation system such as this will alleviate most of the State’s current concerns with automobile emissions while at the same time, providing a solution to the plague of congestion throughout the State.
In addition to provided State-wide benefits, Cape May County locals will also reap great benefits from the construction of this transportation system; considering that during the summer months in Cape May County the population balloons to more than 600% of the permanent population, this transportation system will serve the needs of vacationers to and from Cape May County, cutting down the need for them to contribute to the automobile emissions and congestion by the frequent use of automobiles for transportation within Cape May County and to adjacent Atlantic County. Additionally, more than 89% of all commuters in Cape May County are traveling to work by car, which provides the perfect opportunity for PRT market penetration as commuter after commuter will choose either a fully PRT mode or multi-modal PRT trip to get to their place of employment. Additionally, through the ease of transportation between points of interest in Cape May County, more and more vacationers will flock to Cape May County, furthering the development of the area.