CAIT Director Ali Maher standing at podium.

CAIT director Ali Maher gave a keynote speech.

State transportation leaders gathered to learn about mobility and infrastructure projects happening in Middlesex County.

From remodeling the New Brunswick Train Station to piloting an accessible ride-sharing service for community members, strategic transportation investments being made by Middlesex County were the highlight of its inaugural Transportation Symposium.

On Wednesday, May 8th at the Heldrich Hotel and Conference Center in New Brunswick, NJ, the Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners and the Middlesex County Department of Transportation welcomed municipal officials, transportation stakeholders, and utility providers to its inaugural Transportation Symposium.

The event served as a platform for networking and knowledge-sharing and delved into critical transportation topics. It commenced with a morning session featuring welcoming remarks from Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, chief of staff to NJ Governor Phil Murphy.

Leaders from the county then gave updates on key initiatives that are poised to enhance connectivity and drive economic growth throughout the region. These projects include the remodeling of the New Brunswick Train Station and the construction of the North Brunswick Train Station, both of which are advancing in their design stages, as well as the development of parking facilities in Carteret, NJ and at the new Jack & Sheryl Morris Cancer Center.

“The Middlesex County Transportation Symposium is an extraordinary convening of all partners in transportation,” said Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “From advocates to engineers to academia, it is an opportunity to address present-day transportation challenges while developing a vision of the future of transportation in the county and the communities it serves.”

The Rutgers University School of Engineering (SoE) and its Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) were well represented at the event. CAIT director Ali Maher gave a keynote speech on the DataCity Smart Mobility Testing Ground.

Maher was joined by Peter Jin, associate professor in the SoE Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who manages the DataCity lab.

Associate Professor Peter Jin.

Associate Prof. Peter Jin shared DataCity findings.

DataCity is a living laboratory spanning multiple miles across downtown New Brunswick that has been equipped with advanced sensors for collecting smart-mobility data. A collaborative initiative between Middlesex County and Rutgers CAIT, data collected from the lab will support the future of autonomous vehicles while developing apps and tools to improve transportation safety, congestion, and equity in the region.

“Among the most densely populated states in the US, innovative approaches are critical to keeping New Jersey’s residents and its transportation systems moving,” said Maher. “The inaugural Middlesex County Transportation Symposium brought together stakeholders and experts from government and the public sector, industry, and academia to learn about critical transportation initiatives at the County and opportunities to collaborate—from complete streets to transit planning. Through DataCity, Rutgers CAIT is proud to work with Middlesex County to bring innovative transportation solutions to the region.”

Following the morning session, attendees participated in four distinct breakout sessions, each addressing key facets of Middlesex County’s transportation landscape. These breakout sessions encompassed:

  • Transit Planning: An exploration of how transportation is evolving, and how Middlesex County is adapting along with it to become more accessible.
  • Road Projects and Utilities: An in-depth discussion about the challenges of improving County roads and infrastructure, and how collaboration and open communication will help meet those challenges.
  • Development Review and Complete Streets: An interactive discussion on how the County and its municipalities can better coordinate development reviews.
  • Vision Zero: An interactive opportunity for attendees to learn how the County is dealing with safety concerns and planning through their newest projects.

“My colleagues and I on the Board of County Commissioners recognize that solid, well-planned transportation infrastructure helps drive economic growth and stability,” said Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios. “Our County Department of Transportation is committed to identifying, developing, implementing, and supporting infrastructure projects and initiatives that help optimize transit throughout Middlesex County and the region. This Transportation Symposium is part of its evolution. This event provides a voice to stakeholders, and a new opportunity to listen and learn from one another, building relationships.”