Jason Yen
Salem County
Salem is a rural, sparsely populated county in the southwest part of New Jersey. It is the
least populated of all of NJ’s counties. It was created in 1694 and is bordered by
Gloucester and Cumberland counties, and the Delaware and Maurice Rivers.
Wilmington, Delaware is about fifteen miles away, Philadelphia thirty-five miles and
Atlantic city sixty-five miles. Salem is also the oldest county in NJ.
Population
Salem County has a population of 65,346, with 26,493 housing units. It covers 338
square miles, with only 190.3 persons per square mile, making it the least densely
populated county in New Jersey. The New Jersey average is 1,134.4 persons per square
mile. With a median income of $45,573, versus $41,994 nationwide, Salem is not a
particularly affluent county.
Land Use
As a result of its sparse population, Salem is a primarily rural county. Almost half
Salem’s 338 square miles consists of farms. Much of Salem remains undeveloped, and
according to the NJ Visitor’s Network, it boasts a over 34,000 acres of meadow and
marshland, tidal and freshwater wetlands, and 40 lakes and ponds.
Transportation
According to Census data, only 1.2% of Salem residents take public transportation to
work, versus 9.6% in NJ as a whole. Instead, it is highly dependent on local car travel,
93.3% of residents use a motor vehicle to get to work. Only two New Jersey Transit
buses service the area (#423 & #468), and NJ Transit trains do not operate in Salem.
These statistics are unsurprising given Salem’s rural nature. Since the population is so
sparsely populated, more extensive public transportation would likely be costly and
inefficient. Non farm workers generally commute to nearby Philadelphia or Wilmington,
but this commute takes place primarily outside of the county
The following is a map of the mean travel time, and the highways which service Salem.
Developing the Personal Rapid Transit Editor
To build a PRT system, I collaborated with a colleague, Steven An, a computer science
major at Berkeley, to develop a PRT interface utilizing Google Maps. While viewing
satellite images of a particular county via Google, the PRT editor allowed users to place
stations and interchanges on the satellite maps, and then connect them using lines
demarcating rail links. Each station and interchange was stored along with its
coordinates, the upstream/downstream nodes and distances, and the user-inputted
population, attraction data. In addition, the PRT Editor allowed students to edit their own
individual counties, and then compiled all the county networks into one state-wide
network.
Salem PRT Network
The Salem PRT Network consists of 176 stations, 87 interchanges, and 460 miles of
track. The relatively few number of stations reflects the rural nature of Salem. Most
stations are located along the western part of the county, which is more densely
populated, and closer to the metropolitan areas of Pennsylvania. Assuming a cost of $1
million per station, and $1 and $3 million per mile of rural and urban guideway, for
which 75% of the Salem network’s tracks are rural, the entire Salem PRT network is
estimated to cost $866 million. This translates to a cost of $13,323 per resident.
This large sum, relative to other counties, reflects the difficulty in designing a network
for such a rural, vast, and sparsely populated county. To provide adequate accessibility
requires a constructing great deal of guideway and low-density serving stations.
Each guideway is one way, to minimize traffic and congestion. However, the network is
still interconnected, such that every station is accessible to every other station.
To design the network, Google Earth was used to locate points of interest and major
populations and attractions. A PRT station was placed at least 3/8 of a mile near each
major location, in order to provide maximum service.
The U.S. Census estimates 28,748 commuting workers in Salem County, with 26,814
driving an automobile. It also estimates 16,618 students. If we assume that 75% of these
convert to the PRT system, we can estimate a regular daily commuter ridership of about
34,000, with over half of the county’s population taking the PRT daily.
Service to Schools
Salem has 14 school districts, with 18 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, 6 high
schools, and one college. Most elementary schools are generally within walking distance,
the PRT will serve all middle schools, high schools and Salem Community College.
Currently, there are 16,618 residents enrolled in school, with 12.3%, 73%, and 14.7% as
kindergarten, grade school, and college students, respectively.
School District
Alloway Twp
1.
ALLOWAY TWP SCHOOL
Elmer Boro,
1.
ELMER
Elsinboro Twp
1.
ELSINBORO TWP
Lower Alloways Creek
1.
LOWER ALLOWAYS CREEK
Mannington Twp:
1.
MANNINGTON
Oldmans Twp
1.
OLDMANS MIDDLE SCHOOL
2.
PEDRICKTOWN
Penns Grv-Carney's Pt Reg
1.
FIELD ST
2.
LAFAYETTE-PERSHING
3.
PAUL W CARLETON
4.
PENNS GROVE HIGH
5.
PENNS GROVE MIDDLE
SCHOOL
Pennsville
1.
CENTRAL PARK
2.
PENN BEACH
3.
PENNSVILLE MEMORIAL H
4.
PENNSVILLE MIDDLE
5.
VALLEY PARK
Pittsgrove Twp
1.
ARTHUR P SCHALICK H S
2.
NORMA SCHOOL
3.
OLIVET SCHOOL
4.
PITTSGROVE TWP MIDDLE
SCH
Quinton Twp
1.
QUINTON TWP
Salem City
1.
JOHN FENWICK
2.
SALEM HIGH
3.
SALEM MIDDLE
Salem Co Special Service
1.
DARETOWN SCHOOL
Upper Pittsgrove Twp
1.
UPPER PITTSGROVE
Woodstown-Pilesgrove Reg
1.
MARY S SHOEMAKER
2.
WOODSTOWN HIGH
3.
WOODSTOWN MIDDLE
Private Schools
1.
BETHANY CHRISTIAN
ACADEMY
2.
COHANSEY SCHOOL
3.
PARK BIBLE ACADEMY
4.
RANCH HOPE FOR BOYS, INC.
Colleges
Salem Community College
Service to Employers
The PRT network provides access to all of the following major employers of Salem
County.
Major Employers and # of employees
PSEG 1,965
E.I. duPont 1,450
Mannington Mills 860
Memorial Hospital of Salem County 800
Conectiv 529
Anchor Glass 361
SJ Hospital Systems-Elmer 350
The GEON Company 200
B & B Poultry 168
Ganes Chemicals 155
Ranch Hope 145
Wire-Pro, Inc 130
SalemCare 130
Woodstown National Bank 130
Walt’s Bus Service 130
PSEG Nuclear Training 114
SJ Transportation Co 80
Cumberland Dairy 80
Unico Services 77
Spark’s Electric, Inc 75
First National Bank of Elmer 69
PG&E Generating 66
MAC Specialty Coatings 58
Franklin Savings Bank 55
Service to Residential Areas
By using satellite imagery of Salem County, major residential areas were easily located,
and PRT stations were placed to service Salem residents. Particularly in urban areas, PRT
access will be plentiful, allowing individuals to get close to home without requiring an
automobile.
Service to Commercial Areas
A huge benefit of the PRT will be to facilitate residents in the more rural middle and
eastern sections of Salem to access the more urban, commercialized parts on the west,
without requiring a car. Markets, restaurants, malls, now become more easily accessible,
eliminating the need to drive cars, or wait for sparse public transportation.
The following is a list of some, although not all, commercial attractions serviced by the
new PRT network:
Hotels
Holiday Inn Express
Libraries
Elmer Public Library
Penns Grove-Carney's Pt. Library
Pennsville Public Library
Salem Free Public Library
Woodstown-Pilesgrove Library
Bowling Alleys
Penn Bowl
Marinas
Penn Salem Marina
Salem Boat Exchange
Golf
Holly Hills Golf Club
Town & Country Golf Links
Parks
Camp Crocket Country Park
Fort Mott State Park
New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail
Wood Lanes Bowling Center
Designing the Network
The network was developed by using the Google Earth interface, which displays points of
interest along with the PRT editor. A hub-and-spoke mnodel was generally employed to
service the more urban areas of Salem, while long, guideways, punctuated by occasional
stops, were the norm for the greater rural areas. The vast distances between residential
locations, and the large number of farms, marshlands, and lakes, made a hub-and-spoke
model seem most adequate, since this allowed denser, independent, centralized network
sections in the urban sections, while not overutilizing track in less populated areas.
Guideways were generally placed along existing roads, when possible, in order to reduce
the amount of property needed and the potential environmental damage, during network
construction.
The network shown above borders the Delaware River, and shows the Delaware
Memorial Bridge. I have chosen this section to be a major developmental area of the
Salem PRT network. Due to its proximity to an important thoroughfare for accessing
Delaware and Philadelphia, this area could be developed into a vibrant river-side night
life community, like the Bund of Shanghai, replete with bars, night clubs, discotheques,
and restaurants. Rural residents from Salem and nearby parts of Delaware could easily
access the area at night, without concern over driving dangers.
Conclusion
Given the small population and vast area covered by Salem, the PRT network may seem
too expensive, at an initial $866 million cost, not including the subsequent yearly
operating costs. However, the system must be viewed as integrated with an entire statewide network. By providing an intra-county PRT network, the system also allows
residents to more easily commute outside of the county. Although traffic is not generally
a problem in Salem, many county residents commute to other parts of NJ for work. Thus,
traffic on other highways and roads outside of Salem could be reduced through providing
a state-wide network. In addition, the PRT can help vitalize the still dormant urban areas
in Salem by making them more accessible to the primarily rural residents.
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PRT06_Salem_YenJ