A South Jersey organization is asking thousands of residents to track their driving habits for a day to help determine where transportation funds should be spent in the region.

The goal of the South Jersey Travel Survey is to get at least 1,750 responses from motorists in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem counties by the end of March or early April.

Survey results will be matched against U.S. Census Bureau data and, with the help of some mathematical formulas, used to determine where, how long and how often residents of the four counties travel.

“Every day, thousands of people move through South Jersey in cars and buses, on foot or by bike,” states the survey’s website. “To plan for the projects of tomorrow, we need to understand how you travel today.”

“It will help us gain a clear picture of how people travel within the region and help us improve transportation and respond to future travel needs,” said Tim Chelius, executive director of the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization, which is performing the survey. “It’s also a wonderful opportunity for South Jersey residents to participate in the transportation planning process.”

The initial round of surveys was sent to randomly selected residents in the four counties earlier this month, said Andrew Tracy, SJTPO’s survey project manager. The response rate is “pretty good so far,” he said.

Tracy said it does not matter how often, how far, or where residents travel on the day they are selected to monitor their driving. That is all part of the different travel habits of residents in the four counties, he said.

“Our main interest is the number of trips,” he said.

The survey already has support from officials in Vineland.

Mayor Ruben Bermudez said the voluntary participation is “crucial to the city’s future development.”

“As company executives, business owners and developers decide where to expand, a key element of the decision-making process is the quality of our transportation infrastructure,” Bermudez said. “Data collected through this survey helps the SJTPO to build a fuller, more accurate picture of local and regional transportation needs so that public funds for improvements can be spent in the most efficient manner.”

Vineland officials said one area for improvements could be a heavily traveled, extensively commercially developed stretch of Route 47, also known as Delsea Drive. City officials have been asking for safety improvements along that stretch of Route 47 since a series of pedestrian accidents.

Tracy said it is too early in the survey process to determine any specific areas for improvement.

The SJTPO coordinates the planning activities of different agencies and provides a forum for cooperative decision-making among state and local officials, transit operators and the general public.

More information can be found at the survey’s website, www.southjerseytravelsurvey.com.

Contact Thomas Barlas:

609-226-9197

Worked as a reporter for various weekly newspapers in Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties before joining The Press many moons (and editors) ago as a business copy editor. Passionate about journalism, averse to serial commas.