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Hudson River Crossings: Improving Bus Capacity

Over 315,000 bus riders cross the Hudson River each weekday. More than half of these bus riders travel through the Lincoln Tunnel but the exclusive bus lane that only operates during the morning rush hour is at capacity.

Check out our latest production to find out more information about these crossings and what the Tri-state Transportation Campaign recommends for improving these bus crossings. You can download their full report here (pdf). Animation by Hugh Gran and design by Carly Clark.

[music] Narrator: [0:10] Every weekday as many bus commuters squeeze through the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels and the George Washington Bridge as make up the population of Cincinnati. 9,000 buses move 315,000 riders across the Hudson River between New Jersey and Manhattan each weekday.

[0:27] If every bus passenger chose to drive a car, then traffic would be 84 percent higher than it is today adding nearly 200,000 vehicles to our roads, polluting our air evermore, and bringing our region's economy to a screeching halt. Just imagine having that many more cars on our roads.

[0:47] Over half of these bus riders travel through the Lincoln Tunnel. During a small weekday window of four hours 62,000 bus passengers travel on an exclusive bus lane that leads up to the tunnel. This bus lane, which only operates during the morning rush hours, carries more people than any roadway in the entire country. 1,700 buses use this lane in the morning.

[1:11] The bus lane was created in 1971, 38 years ago. A lot has changed since 1971. President Nixon was in office. A gallon of gas was 40 cents, and a million less people lived in New York City. But the Lincoln Tunnel's transit capacity is the exact same. Bus ridership increased 18 percent between 2000 and 2007. Even with the economic crisis, it's expected to increase the same amount by 2030. This means another 56,000 commuters will need a seat on a bus.

[1:42] With our climate warming and our economy still cold, we should be encouraging people to use transit. A bus rider's carbon footprint is one-fifth the footprint of a person driving a car. Every person on a bus means less wear and tear on our roads, less fuel consumption and less congestion on our streets.

[2:01] The Port Authority controls the Hudson River crossings and controls the commute of these 315,000 riders. If the agency decided to do so, it could use its road space in a way that was more efficient and better for our Earth and better for our wallets. It could provide another exclusive bus lane for in the morning and introduce a Lincoln Tunnel express bus lane out of Manhattan in the evening. In turn, bus riders will be happier, have more time with their families, and our air will be cleaner and our streets less clogged.

[music]

[2:31]



Elizabeth Press is a Filmmaker for Streetfilms. She joined Streetfilms in 2007 to focus her video work on advocating for better biking, walking and mass transit.

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  • Jonas Hagen

    Congratulations. Great graphics, statistics, text, music, etc. Go Streetsfilms.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Caroline Caroline Samponaro

    This is an amazing video. As advocates, we are always looking for ways to engage the public in transportation issues and make them palatable to an audience that does not instinctively get why buses, street design, bikes, tunnels and bridges matter.

    Thanks for doing just that.

    What livable streets advocates need more than ever is videos like this, covering all transportation topics, so that pressing policy crises can be digested in bright colors and welcoming visuals.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Jessica Jessica

    Great video - articulates the challenges clearly - love it. Streetfilms rocks.

  • Lars

    This is SO much fun to watch. Thanks for making this.

  • http://www.chekpeds.com Christine Berthet

    BRAVO! This is outstanding.
    the animation , the text, the numbers, the ideas

    my vote goes for two bus lanes each way. The full center tube.. or convert it to a subway going to the meadowlands..

  • Kristen Steele

    I really truly loved the animation in this. So visually interesting to watch. Congrats on the very cool film!

  • http://sustainableflatbush.org Anne

    Great job Streetfilms! LOVE the animation, gets the point across on both simple and complex levels.

    Sending now to all my NJ commuter friends!!

  • Shirley Secunda

    Phenomenal graphics, narration, ever so succinct and easy to absorb - boy, does this ever make it clear what we need to be doing - and what the happy effects would be with more capacity for buses instead of cars. I hope it's been viewed by PANYNJ. Should be viewed by everybody.

  • http://ecstatice.blogspot.com/ herenthere

    Put this on youtube!

  • http://ecstatice.blogspot.com/ herenthere

    Put this on youtube! Will link from blog!

  • http://www.deepdishwavesofchange.blogspot.com DeeDee

    terrific. should be shown on those little monitors they have on the bus I sometimes take from the Catskills.

  • jesse

    great video! nyc needs more places for those buses to park, too. that is, another bigger port authority bus terminal, or maybe several.

  • d

    nice work, this makes the issue so clear and compelling!

  • http://northbird.blogspot.com Shin-pei

    <3 <3 <3 buses!

  • Jill Haarlander

    LOVE IT - Great idea - Forwarding to all my friends in NYC!

  • http://www.treehugger.com Michael Graham Richard
  • Red

    herenthere, I wanted to embed this in my blog too, and it looks like Streetfilms just came out with a YouTube version:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=me4wt8GsECg

  • Christine

    Spectacular! Thanks for all that amazing research. I'm one of those thousands of commuters. I wish, apart from your double lane idea, the City would go back to the post-911 rule that you had to have three passengers in any car going through the tunnels.

  • beth!

    kudos - great short!

  • Roberto

    Careful, it's not that good idea. Here in Southern of Brazil we have these corridors for bus only that are taking the place of the car vias. Not right to force people to use buses by taking away the streets from the cars. If you have heavy traffic and you have to use bus corridors, at least make sure both cars and buses will have the same amount of congestion, do not privilege one or other.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/capntransit Cap’n Transit

    Ao contrario, Roberto, it's a good idea to privilege buses over cars. They use less energy, pollute less, take up less space, and cause less congestion. It's not right to force people to own cars by taking resources away from buses and trains.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/capntransit Cap’n Transit

    BTW, I'm looking forward to the next version, which I hear will have more location shots!

  • avi

    adding another bus lane just means that all the cars that travel will have less access to the tunnel. this might make it easier for the buses to go through the tunnel - but getting there will becoming a nightmare with all the backed up cars. saving 20 min in the tunnel isnt worth 2 hours on the highway

  • Andrew

    Christine made a good point, a subway would be great long term.

  • http://www.lacreekfreak.wordpress.com Joe Linton

    woooot! woooot! This is a great film - visually appealing and so clear, articulate and compelling. Great job.

  • Chetan

    Great pic. The people who made this should make a video in the same style talking about the personal benefits of riding transit. (Not just the overarching environmental and cost benefits) As almost a "transit promotion video"

  • http://flickr.com/danielle_scott Danielle

    I am a bus commuter who travels outside of Toronto to a city 30 miles away. I'm one of hundreds who rely on the route we take and I can't help but think that maybe we too could benefit from a proper BRT solution.

    On a metropolitan scale it makes sense as well; thousands come in to Toronto by train to go to work, as well.

  • Anonymous

    I truly hopeful this lesser, third-World, Subsaaharian Africa-worth frankstein called BRT is extinguished instead of expanded. They should actually impose harsh rules on buses such as mandatory seatbelts, no people standing etc. And then use trains, subway, monorails to provide public transportation.