Back to Top
Ocean County Government
Board of CommissionersDropdown arrow

Transportation Planning

The County's transportation planning program consists of a cooperative effort between the Board of Commissioners and its agencies and advisory boards. The primary planning agencies include the Ocean County Planning Department, the Ocean County Engineering Department, and the Ocean County Transportation Services Department.

The Planning staff works collaborately with County agencies in various planning efforts, including Crash Studies, Strategy Evaluation efforts, Corridor Studies and other activities related to the development of the Regional Transportation Plan. The Planning department provides GIS support to other County agencies on transportation projects as well as other applications.

Interagency Planning and Coordination

The Engineering staff develops the transportation and capital improvement programs, local/scoping lead projects and the implementation and management of the County’s road and bridge projects. The primary operating agency is the Ocean County Transportation Services Department, which administers a variety of federal and state grant programs and operates several services including the Ocean Ride bus system, Reserve-A-Ride, Veterans Transportation and specialized programs for adults with disabilities.

The County also works closely with federal, state and regional and local transportation agencies, including the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and the NJ Department of Transportation (NJDOT). The primary forum for public participation is through the Ocean County Transportation Advisory Board (TAB). A more thorough list of partners is available on the links webpage.

Through the NJTPA, the Planning staff administers the federally funded Subregional Transportation Planning Program. This grant makes it possible to support local and regional planning and capital project funding for the improvement of transportation and intermodal facilities.

Subregional Study Program

2018-2019 Subregional Study: Bicycle and Pedestrian Linkages from the Barnegat Branch Trail, Northern Section
In 2019, Ocean County concluded a study of walking and biking paths that would connect the Barnegat Branch Trail with local destinations, such as schools, parks, libraries, and local businesses. The study resulted in a plan that would help provide safe and healthy travel alternatives and encourage increased walking and biking, while prompting economic growth in an environmentally friendly way. This study was made possible through a grant from the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA).

2011 Subregional Study: Pedestrian and Bicycle Mobility, New Egypt and Toms River
In 2011, Ocean County and NJTPA completed a study that evaluated two specific sites with regional reach, Downtown Toms River and New Egypt, with the goal of making multi-modal travel modes viable alternatives in the County. In the first study area, recommendations were developed to improve pedestrian safety and mobility as the Barnegat Branch Trail enters the bustling area of Downtown Toms River.

The second project involved the study and development of the New Egypt Bike Trail in Plumsted Township. A concept plan was created for a trail to link the downtown to residential areas and civic uses further north, as well as linking the trail to Monmouth County’s Union Transportation Trail in Upper Freehold Township.

Passenger Rail Line Initiatives

Since the 1975 Monmouth/Ocean Rail Feasibility Study, Ocean County has advocated for passenger rail service, running from Lakehurst and Lakewood, to connect with routes into northern New Jersey, New York City, and beyond. The Monmouth-Ocean-Middlesex Rail Line study evaluated regional transit needs and in 2010 identified three build alternatives along existing ROW's.

Ocean County is one of the fastest growing areas in New Jersey. Travel time for trips within the region have been steadily increasing and the demand for travel to northern New Jersey, New York City and other regional employment centers are expected to expand dramatically within the next two decades. Passenger rail service is consistent with Smart Growth principles promoted by the State of New Jersey.

There are many benefits to passenger rail transportation. Commuting times are reduced and air quality is improved through reduction of emissions. Transit access also stimulates the revitalization of communities. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that each $45 million spent on the construction of a rail station and the maintenance of track boosts the local and national economy by $98 million.

New passenger rail is dependent on the pending Gateway Tunnel project into Manhattan to increase trans-Hudson rail capacity into Midtown Manhattan. The Gateway Project is expected to provide the additional capacity needed to accommodate trains from this area. The current trans-Hudson River tunnels run at near 100 percent capacity on most days. In the absence of new tunnels, any new NJ Transit service would not be able to access Penn Station New York. According to NJ Transit, its commuter ridership to New York has quadrupled in the past 20 years and ridership is expected to double again in the next 20 years.