February 2, 2023
Dear Friends,
The start of a new calendar year represents the full promise of the months ahead—and there is much to look forward to in 2023. At New Jersey Future, we look to continue our dedication to fostering an inclusive and sustainable future for all New Jerseyans, and welcome the collaboration and advocacy that will get the work done.

This month, we shine a spotlight on transportation as an integral component of the smart growth agenda. Transportation and land use reinforce each other in a continuous cycle. Decisions we make about where we build things determine the options people have for traveling—whether on foot, by bike, car, bus, or train. How we invest in the infrastructure that supports these different modes of transportation indicates where our priorities lie. It is also an indicator of whether we are making mobility and access to homes, jobs, and the public commons fair and equitable, or if we will continue to perpetuate a system that leaves many people behind.

In today’s installment, we highlight the importance of developing a dedicated source of reliable funding for NJ Transit, and we demonstrate why transit-oriented development also means pedestrian-oriented development.

This week is Transit Equity Week, which gives each of us the opportunity to expand our understanding of transportation equity to include our entire transportation and mobility system beyond just reliable buses and trains. As New Jerseyans, we need to be thoughtful of the ways people reach their transportation destinations, including by foot, bicycle, or wheelchair. Further, New Jersey was named one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians in 2022. If we expect to give more people more options for getting around besides cars, we have to change that.

For those anticipating our two signature events this year, NJF and APA-NJ have already issued our call for session proposals for the NJ Planning and Redevelopment Conference to be held in June, and we will soon release the call for nominations for NJF's Smart Growth Awards, the showcase we will present in October. These two programs are the product of yearlong efforts dedicated to sharing our values with professionals and peers in smart growth, and to celebrate the partners who get it right. Find more information below on both of these marquee NJF events. We want to see you there!

Peter Kasabach
Executive Director
Despite being the most densely populated state in the country with over 150 train station towns, New Jersey is not a safe place for pedestrians of any age. In our effort to reduce car dependency, increase pedestrian safety, and encourage placemaking that serves the public, NJ ended 2022 with several announcements designating funds for advancing pedestrian and bicycle safety and transit-oriented development (TOD), indicating that the administration recognizes the importance of creating and fostering transportation options besides driving. Read More.
Electric vehicles are great, but they won’t reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transportation sector fast enough, nor will they do anything to alleviate congestion. This past October, the United Nations published the Emissions Gap Report 2022, declaring that an important action for the transportation sector is to “integrate land use and transportation planning to prioritize public transit over private automobiles.” As we confront climate change alongside congestion, road fatalities, and high gas prices, it is imperative that New Jersey not only facilitates increasing electric vehicle adoption, but focuses on the range of solutions that encourage people to drive less. Read More.
The cleanest car trips are the ones that are never taken. Governments at all levels should keep this in mind when formulating strategies for reducing carbon emissions from their transportation sectors. So far, such strategies have focused primarily on electrifying the vehicle fleet. But we can cut total transportation emissions not only by converting to vehicles that do not burn fossil fuels but also by reducing the need to drive so much in the first place. Read the full report.
Coming Up
  • February 7–9: The 2023 Equity Summit hosted by Smart Growth America will examine opportunities stemming from the unprecedented federal investments in infrastructure in the fight against climate change. Sessions will discuss how to ensure that equity is at the forefront of every decision.
  • February 10 and 17: Don't miss the sixth annual Watershed Conference hosted by the Watershed Institute where NJF Program Manager Lindsey Sigmund will be speaking about Stormwater Utilities for Local Officials.
  • March 11: Joins us at the 34th annual Pinelands Short Course hosted by Stockton University where NJF Community Planning Manager Tanya Rohrbach will be speaking about Climate Ready Communities.
  • March 28–30: The Atlantic Builders Convention hosted by New Jersey Builders Association will take place in Atlantic City. Pick up your copy of the New Jersey Developers Green Infrastructure Guide.
  • June 21–23: The 2023 New Jersey Planning and Redevelopment Conference hosted by New Jersey Future and the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association will be held virtually June 21–22 and in person June 23 at the Hyatt New Brunswick. Help shape the program by submitting a session proposal by March 3. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, please contact Michele Glassburg.
This January 20 webinar, hosted by the NJ Climate Change Resource Center at Rutgers University, featured a presentation from the Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) about how different scenarios of federal transportation investments may contribute to New Jersey’s efforts to achieve its statewide 2030 and 2050 greenhouse gas emissions limits. James Bradbury, GCC’s Mitigation Program Director, presented the results of a New Jersey specific analysis based on a nationwide analysis estimating the greenhouse gas impact of federal IIJA investments. Ultimately, he showed that the percentage of funding invested in highway expansion as opposed to low carbon strategies (e.g., bike/pedestrian, transit, EVs, freight, resurfacing) is the main driver of emissions outcomes. In other words, the more investments in highway expansion, the harder it will be to meet our climate goals. Response panelists with New Jersey experience and perspective emphasized the implication that various state agencies need to be intentional and coordinated with infrastructure investment decisions. Watch the recording here.
Smart Growth for Everyone
Smart Growth is equitable growth. It is also restorative, as smart growth and redevelopment can help correct systemic racial and economic disparities. As New Jersey Future drives land use decision-making toward more equitable outcomes, we will be sharing useful resources and lessons in this monthly spotlight. Please give us your feedback and share with us any particularly insightful articles, talks, events, or videos that you come across.

February 4 marks the birthday of civil rights and transit equity icon Rosa Parks. As we celebrate this Transit Equity Day and welcome the beginning of Black History Month, we look to her leadership and dedication to equitable access to transportation back in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat at the front of the bus and throughout the civil rights movement. Rosa Parks’ courage throughout her lifetime of advocacy and education embodies the boldness that we strive to have in our efforts toward achieving transit equity today.

While our buses are no longer legally segregated, access to transportation still is inequitable in terms of racial and climate justice. People with lower incomes and people of color bear the brunt of the harms associated with our transportation system, including lack of affordability, air pollution-related illness, traffic deaths, and other inabilities to access safe and reliable transportation. Presently, there is a stark racial and economic divide with respect to access to transit in many US cities. Often, higher-income, predominantly white transit riders can afford to ride the more reliable, faster, and more expensive transportation (i.e., park and ride buses, of which 60% of riders are white), while lower-income transit riders opt for the less reliable, slower, and cheaper options (such as local buses, of which 60% of riders are Black). Further, those most reliant on public transit include Black and Latino riders, as well as riders with low incomes, who often worked jobs that required in-person attendance during the pandemic—while wealthier and white riders more often had the means to drive a car or work from home.

At the same time, the emissions associated with the transportation sector are the leading contributor to climate change in the United States, which disproportionately affects Black and Brown communities. Transportation-related air pollution leads to higher rates of asthma in Black communities, particularly in children. At the same time, Black and Latino populations have disproportionately higher rates of traffic-related deaths than their white counterparts. This Transit Equity Day, we recognize and honor all that Rosa Parks did for starting the conversation on transportation equity, and we remind ourselves that there is so much more to accomplish moving forward.
Tri-State Transportation Campaign is urging Gov. Murphy to ride the bus to understand the experiences of everyday NJ commuters and ultimately make the necessary investments to fund NJ Transit and give New Jerseyans the transit system they deserve. Watch Danna from East Orange express the need for reliable access to transportation.
Come Work with Us
  • New Jersey Water Workforce Development Initiative: New Jersey Future, on behalf of the Jersey Water Works (JWW) collaborative, seeks qualifications from a consultant team or qualified firm(s) with experience in creation of workforce development programs. Selected consultants will assist New Jersey Future in meeting specific objectives as part of a 24-month project called New Jersey Water Workforce Development Initiative. This request for qualifications (RFQ) is step one of a multi-phase process.
New Jersey Future in the News
Featured Resources

This quarterly primer from the JWW Lead in Drinking Water Task Force provides key information on how lead pipes can be replaced quickly, cost-effectively, and with community support.

New Jersey Future has prepared Creating Great Places To Age: A Community Guide to Implementing Aging-Friendly Land Use Decisions to provide communities with a step-by-step process to make designing for the needs of older residents easier.

The New Jersey Stormwater Utility Resource Center is a one-stop shop housing technical, legal, and financial information, case studies, and helpful guidance on stormwater solutions, community process, and public engagement.

The Developers Green Infrastructure Guide 2.0 breaks down New Jersey’s Stormwater Rule amendments and helps developers and decision-makers more clearly understand green infrastructure options and advantages, compare alternatives, and evaluate costs and benefits.
Founded in 1987, New Jersey Future is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes sensible and equitable growth, redevelopment, and infrastructure investments to foster healthy, strong, resilient communities; protect natural lands and waterways; increase transportation choices beyond cars; provide access to safe, affordable, and aging-friendly neighborhoods; and fuel a strong economy for everyone. New Jersey Future does this through original research, innovative policy development, coalition-building, advocacy, and hands-on strategic assistance. Embracing differences and advancing fairness is central to New Jersey Future’s mission and operations. New Jersey Future is firmly committed to pursuing greater justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion through its programs, internal operations, and external communications.