Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


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A Collection of Snippets from 2008 Future Facts

December 31st, 2008 by

New Jersey Future’s “Future Facts” highlight the latest land-use and smart-growth issues across New Jersey. Below are a few of the facts that shaped New Jersey Future’s work in 2008, and will continue to have an impact on our state’s sustainability and prosperity.Seventy percent of New Jerseyans who work in Manhattan commute by transit. About a quarter (24 percent) of New Jerseyans working in Philadelphia use transit to get to work. In contrast, only 5 percent of people who work within New Jersey commute by transit. This is identical to the national transit ridership rate. (January)

New Jersey’s state debt has more than tripled in the last decade. At $32 billion, New Jersey has one of the highest debt burdens of any state in the country. At $3,700, the per-capita debt burden is three times the national average. (January)

Since 1980, New Jersey has had the fourth slowest growth in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the nation, behind North Dakota, South Dakota and the District of Columbia. (March)

The rate of land development in New Jersey still exceeds the state’s population growth. The number of developed acres increased 30 percent faster than population between 1995 and 2002. (March)

On a per capita basis, in 2005 New Jersey residents emitted an estimated 16.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide from three principal sources: transportation (34 percent); residential, commercial and industrial fuel use (32 percent); and electricity consumption (24 percent). (April)

The top 100 metropolitan areas in the nation emit 2.235 metric tons of carbon per capita from highway transportation and residential energy usage, compared with a national average of 2.60 metric tons. Residents of the New York metropolitan area (which includes the New Jersey counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Union) emit 1.495 metric tons of carbon per capita. Residents of the Philadelphia metro area (which includes the New Jersey counties of Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem) emit 2.137 metric tons per capita. (July)

NJ TRANSIT operates the largest statewide transit system in the country, with 11 commuter rail lines, three light rail lines and 242 bus routes. NJ TRANSIT estimates that three out of every 10 New Jersey residents live within a half-mile of a train station and 70 percent live within five miles. (July)

New Jersey is home to more “regular” school districts (574, which does not include county vo-tech schools, special education and other specialized districts) than municipalities (566). (September)

Between 2000 and 2007, an average of nearly 13,000 acres of New Jersey farmland has been preserved annually, primarily through the purchase of development easements. (September)

Between 2000 and 2007, half of all building permits statewide for multi-family housing were issued in just 22 of New Jersey’s 566 municipalities. Over the same time period, more than half the state’s municipalities (311) did not authorize any multi-family housing at all. (October)

In the 20 New Jersey municipalities that lost the largest numbers of private-sector jobs between 1980 and 2003, 11.7 percent of workers commuted by transit, and only two-thirds (67.9 percent) drove to work alone. In contrast, the 20 biggest job gainers over the same period had a 7.2 percent transit ridership rate (which drops further to only 4 percent when Jersey City is removed from the analysis) while four out of five commuters (81.7 percent) in the other 19 largest job-gaining municipalities drove alone. (November)

For questions on this edition of future facts, contact Rick Sinding, Senior Communications Consultant.

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