Case Study: Princeton University
BFJ has been the traffic and parking consultant for Princeton University since 1988 when we prepared a traffic impact analysis for a new garage in the Engineering Quad and assisted in its functional design. The garage, which was designed by Machado and Silvetti Associates, received an AIA Honor Award. This was the beginning of a long relationship with Princeton University that still continues in 2023. BFJ’s assignments for the University included long-term planning projects for the existing historical campus, the east campus and the currently ongoing expansion into West Windsor across from Lake Carnegie, as well as technical assistance in support of zoning and site plan applications for new campus buildings and infrastructure improvements.
West Campus Garage
In the 1990s BFJ prepared a traffic and circulation plan for the university to mitigate traffic impacts associated the West Campus Garage. The plan included the design of two modern roundabouts to ease congestion at critical intersections on Faculty Road and Elm Drive. These roundabouts were the first modern roundabouts built in the State of New Jersey.
Princeton Campus Plan for 2016
Between 2006 and 2008 BFJ worked with Princeton University and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners to develop the transportation element of the university's Master Plan. The transportation element addressed traffic, pedestrian and bicycle circulation, bus service, parking and truck circulation and loading. As part of this work, BFJ developed a parking model for the campus, allowing the university to monitor and forecast parking demand. BFJ has assisted Princeton in the approval and implementation of all major projects resulting from the Master Plan including several new academic buildings, new housing for faculty and students and the new Arts and Transit Neighborhood.
The Master Plan received the 2008 Honor Award for Excellence in Planning presented by the Society for College and University Planning and the American Institute of Architects.
Arts and Transit Neighborhood Plan
Following the publication of the Master Plan, the university embarked on an effort to rezone the western portion of the campus near the Dinky train station and McCarter Theater to create the new Arts and Transit neighborhood anchored by the future Lewis Center for the Arts and a new relocated train station. BFJ provided transportation planning support for both the rezoning effort and the site plan application for the new neighborhood. The firm was responsible for the analysis of the traffic impacts of the proposed plan and for the development of transportation mitigation measures.
As part of this project, BFJ analyzed all access modes and assisted the design team in developing programs that improve the overall access to the station and mitigate relocation impacts. This work included geo-coding rail users by access mode, assessing the impacts of various transit strategies, developing bicycle improvement plans and designing the proposed transit plaza. The adopted plan included the construction of a new roundabout at the intersection of Alexander Street and University Place, the upgrading of numerous bicycle facilities in the neighborhood and the improvement of local bus service.
Construction of the Arts and Transit project was completed in 2015.
(image: Michael Van Valkeburgh Associates)
2026 Princeton University Campus Plan
Starting in 2016 BFJ worked with the Urban Strategies group on the plan for the campus development through 2026 and beyond. The goal was to create a flexible, revisable framework to guide the development of the campus and accommodate a significant increase of Princeton’s undergraduate student body. This very ambitious plan laid the foundation of the campus expansion into the Township of West Windsor across from Lake Carnegie – the creation of Lake Campus (later named Meadows Neighborhood). BFJ’s role was to assist the team in developing the circulation element of the new campus, projecting future parking demands and preparing a comprehensive traffic impact study submitted to the municipality as part of the approval process. BFJ also developed pedestrian and bicycle forecasts for a planned pedestrian/bicycle bridge over Lake Carnegie.
The 2026 Campus Plan also led to the development of the Environmental Studies and School of Engineering and Applied Science buildings, a new soccer stadium and practice field and a 1,500-space parking garage on East Campus. BFJ worked with the SOM and Ennead teams on these initiatives to design the circulation system and undertake the necessary transportation impact studies to obtain approvals from the municipality of Princeton. These projects are under construction as of 2023.
(image source: SOM)
Princeton Forrestal Campus Transportation Studies
The Princeton Forrestal Center located in the Township of Plainsboro includes a large office park, several residential developments, the Princeton Forrestal Village and several academic and research buildings, including the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. BFJ undertook a major TDM study for the Forrestal Center with the goal to reduce overall traffic and parking loads and increase mobility options for the employees in the center. A key concern of the companies located in the Forrestal Center was related to their ability to attract the younger, educated workforce to work in the Forrestal Center. This assignment included focus group meetings with the major employers, user surveys, and the creation of TDM strategies tailored to the Forrestal Center.
BFJ also undertook a major traffic impact study of the Forrestal Campus expansion to assist the University in gaining approval for a 20-year General Development Plan (GDP). This study included the feasibility and impact analysis of previously approved GDP conditions of a new roadway connection and significant intersection upgrades. BFJ's traffic study for the 2022 Forrestal Campus GDP led to an alternative set of intersection improvements that are more cost-effective and sustainable.