Princeton Dinky impression

Princeton Dinky concept

USA: Development of a combined light rail and bus corridor is proposed in a study into the future of NJ Transit’s ‘Dinky’, a 4·3 km branch which connects Princeton Junction on the Northeast Corridor with Princeton.

NJ Transit says it undertook the Princeton Transitway Study because it recognises the importance of the link to the university town, but ridership is declining, the current Arrow III electric multiple-units are 45 years old and getting hard to maintain. The coronavirus pandemic has also changed travel demands with people looking for options that are more flexible and frequent.

Having considered but rejected bus rapid transit, light rail with parallel BRT or maintaining the existing service, the study recommends rebuilding the railway into a BRT route with embedded light rail tracks.

There would be a light rail shuttle service between the stations, while buses would share the rail corridor and run through to central Princeton and West Windsor, providing a ‘one-seat ride’ to and from Princeton Junction. Extension of the rail line was not considered, but two new intermediate stations are envisaged.

The proposals also include a parallel pedestrian and bicycle path, service branding, ‘attractive, modern’ electric vehicles and potential future automation.

Subject to funding, the next step would be to undertake preliminary design work to further develop the proposal.