Of the images above the left is of students on one of the Rutgers buses and the right is of a subway car in the city; can you see any major differences? No? Well, that’s because there really are none. Any student at Rutgers who has used public transportation in the city during rush hour can compare it to the daily transportation on the Rutgers Bus System.
Rutgers University has the second largest public transportation system in the state and the largest campus bus system in the county which comes as no surprise due to the fact the university currently has roughly 69,000 students! But even with the current amount of buses Rutgers has to offer its students, it’s clearly not enough. On any given day while waiting at a campus bus stop you can see 3 of the same bus line pass within minutes of each other, but can find yourself waiting 10-20 minutes for the bus you need to show up.
The current bus system in place has many flaws. First of all, when using the buses students are strategically planning out their bus schedules due to transfers and odd timing at stops. Furthermore, if your bus is one-two minutes late you can end up getting to where you needed to go 30 minutes later than you should have due to just a one minute delay; making the system extremely inconvenient as well. But due to the high price of parking passes and lack of parking many students rely on these buses to get around campus.
Last spring semester a remodel of College Ave to make it safer for students was done. It featured bike lanes with protective fencing towards the road along with separate bus lanes as well. There were a few flaws in this plan though, with the major one being the size of the bus lanes. They were implemented to help reduce traffic and improve the safety of students while entering and exiting the buses, however, the lanes are too small. The buses don’t fit well enough into the lanes and they still end up driving and pulling over on the regular roads more often than not.
With such a large campus and so many students, a better system needs to be put into place. Although most technology is still being tested and developed there are many concept theories that could benefit Rutgers Transportation; my favorite being the elevated bus system, or straddle bus system, by Craig Hodgetts and Lester Walker.
These buses would be able to carry around the same number of passengers as 40 regular buses could. Not only will this help with pollution, but by going over and around traffic it will make transportation faster and decrease the number of vehicles on road creating less traffic as well. Although this is a very high-cost plan and is still being developed it is a great idea for high-density cities. Ideas and technology like this are the types of innovative ideas needed to help shape healthy and well designed future cities.