Center Highlights

2010

The New Jersey Department of Education released The 2009 New Jersey Student Health Survey results in April 2010.  The Bloustein Center for Survey Research conducts the survey biannually for NJDOE with a sample of approximately 40 schools and 2,000 students in New Jersey.  The study is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control as part of its Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) effort and is conducted in virtually every state.   The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services and the Pennsylvania Department of Health have renewed the contract with BCSR to collect data for their respective states’ Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring Systems (PRAMS).   BCSR conducts the surveys annually with a sample of approximately 2,000 mothers in each state.  The study is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and is conducted in 37 states. The New Jersey Department of Education released its Annual Performance Report as part of its State Performance Plan, submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.  BCSR assists NJDOE in conducting “Indicator 8” of the plan, a survey of parents with children receiving special education services, to assess the performance of a random sample of school districts in the state.  Over 10,000 parents responded to the survey in 2009.  BCSR partnered with faculty members and research centers at Rutgers including the Voorhees Center for Transportation Center, the Center for Urban Policy Research, and the Eagleton Institute of Politics, as well as with Bloustein professors Michael Greenberg, Jocelyn Crowley, Alan Rosenthal, Joseph Seneca, and Dean James Hughes. These projects have studied a wide variety of research topics including transportation issues, broadband accessibility throughout New Jersey, the New Jersey economy, the role of the governor as chief executive in state policymaking, nationwide public attitudes, interests, and preferences about the development of nuclear and coal energy production facilities, mothers’ attitudes toward flexible workplace arrangements, and the economic and infrastructural preservation of Route 66.  Funding for these studies has come from a variety of public and private sources including the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Parks Service, the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security, the New Jersey Department of Transportation, and the Sloan Foundation

The Bloustein School’s Center for Transportation Safety, Security and Risk, the School of Ecological and Biological Sciences, the School of Engineering, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) have joined forces to offer a new graduate certificate designed to provide students with a risk analysis approach to transportation policy. The new certificate, Transportation Management: Vulnerability, Risk and Security (TM:VRS), enables students to enhance employment and career advancement in the fields of planning, engineering, public health and related fields. According to CTSSR director and Bloustein professor Michael Greenberg, the new certificate “focuses multidisciplinary faculty expertise in risk analysis on one of the most daunting homeland security challenges we face, which is the protection of our transit populations, workers, and the engineered systems that we depend on.” In addition, CTSSR received $635,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in July of 2010 for four new projects related to transportation security.  CTSSR will also begin to serve as a research mentor for Tougaloo University, a partner university in the DHS’s National Transportation Security Center of Excellence. Earlier this year the CTSSR received a $192,543 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to develop an advanced composite material for blast and fire resistance. 

A new report by scholars from the Bloustein School’s Center for Urban Policy Research, The Contribution of the Casino Hotel Industry to New Jersey’s Economy, highlights the significant impact the New Jersey casino resort industry has across the state.  Conducted on behalf of the Casino Association of New Jersey, some of the points noted by lead researcher Michael Lahr include that the industry is responsible for 100,000 jobs in all 21 counties across the state;  the industry generates $900 million annually in state and local tax revenue for New Jersey; and 34 million tourists visit annually, or approximately one-third of all tourism in the state.  Additionally, according to the report, the casino resort industry employs more New Jersey residents than the investment, pharmaceutical, transit and military sectors, and receives nearly as many visitors as Las Vegas, New York and Disney World

President McCormick recently created the Sustainable Raritan River/Rutgers Ecological Preserve Task Force to develop a long-term strategy to address key policy and science issues related to the Raritan River, and Rutgers’ key role in the future protection and stewardship of the Ecological Preserve as a central component of a broader Sustainable Raritan River Initiative. Bloustein Dean James Hughes and Robert Goodman, dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, both contributed to a fund established by the President to support this work for the coming year.  Dr. Judy Shaw, Senior Research Associate at the National Center for Neighborhood and Brownfields Redevelopment, co-chairs the task force with Dean Goodman. The first funded project is the restoration of the central entrance to the Preserve and the introduction of a demonstration loop for a new trail system, which is being jointly created through the leadership of Dr. Richard Lathrop of CRSSA and Dr. Wolfram Hoefer of the Department of Landscape Architecture.  The project is also sponsored by University Facilities

The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development has been awarded an additional $1.15 million from the U.S. Department of Labor for the Heldrich’s National Technical Assistance and Research Center for Increasing Employment and Economic Independence of Adults with Disabilities. The goal of the center is to build capacity and leadership at the federal, state, and local levels to enable change across workforce development and disability-specific systems, and to increase employment and economic self-sufficiency for adults with disabilities

A new initiative between the National Center for Neighborhood and Brownfields Redevelopment, in partnership with Vertices, Inc. and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, has led to the creation of a new, interactive Lead-Safe Housing Registry. The interactive Registry was created for the Lead-Safe Housing Program at the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. Previously available as a PDF document, the interactive Registry was developed to assist New Jersey residents interested in locating lead-safe housing units by county, municipality, or street address. In addition to learning about the lead status of a particular home, the website provides information on the neighborhood, schools, hospitals, parks, mass transit stops, and other information that a family may be interested in when seeking housing. The Registry may be accessed at http://www.njleadsafe.info/. GIS Specialist Jennifer Rovito will make a presentation about the Lead-Free project at the Mid-Atlantic Chapter meeting of URISA in October.

Dr. Daniel Chatman, former director of the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University (VTC), and Stephanie DiPetrillo, project manager at VTC, recently completed "Eliminating Barriers to Transit-Oriented Development," a research project sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Transportation. The report looked at three conditions that could be barriers to transit-oriented development: impacts on schools; impacts on local auto traffic; and impacts on local parking. Ten transit stations in distinct communities were investigated, comparing households living near rail stations as well as farther away in both old and new housing.  A copy of the NJDOT Technical Brief is also available.   Leigh Ann Von Hagen, project manager for the New Jersey Bicycle and Pedestrian Resource Center at VTC, has completed an analysis of school policy as it relates to walking and bicycling to school. As key partners in Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs, schools and school districts can play a big role in establishing a culture of bicycling and walking to school. School policies that encourage and support bicycling and walking can substantially boost an SRTS program, both within individual schools and throughout the community. In contrast, a policy that discourages or prohibits bicycling or walking can stop an SRTS program in its tracks. While SRTS programs are developing and flourishing in many communities around the country, some communities are discovering barriers to active transportation due to school policies. To explore the reasons behind barrier policies, 165 schools and 24 school districts in Middlesex County, New Jersey, were surveyed to obtain current school policy or lack thereof for students walking and/or bicycling to and from school.  Andrea Lubin, senior project manager at VTC, has received funding through a federal Medicaid Infrastructure Grant to conduct a one-year study examining how to expand the resources available to improve and enhance community transportation services for people with disabilities in New Jersey. Investigating this issue was a key recommendation included in a five-year plan VTC prepared for the New Jersey Division of Disability Services in 2005, entitled “Meeting the Employment Transportation Needs of People with Disabilities in New Jersey.” The plan’s recommendations, which VTC and others in the state continue to pursue, are intended to increase employment opportunities for New Jersey’s population with disabilities by addressing work-related transportation barriers.  Ugo Lachapelle joined VTC in July 2010 as a postdoctoral associate.  He recently completed a PhD at the School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia, Canada.  Ugo holds a BA in Environmental Studies and an MSc in Environmental Science. He is a past recipient of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Fonds Quebecois de recherche sur la societe et la culture, and the Bombardier Foundation. His research at the Voorhees Transportation Center will contribute to the Pedestrian Bicycle Resource Center and the Safe Routes to School Resource Center.

 

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