The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is looking to increase the capacity of one of the country’s busiest bus lanes by employing self-driving vehicles. The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the agency will test autonomous buses in the Lincoln Tunnel’s exclusive bus lane, which runs 2.5 miles along New Jersey Route 495. The Port Authority estimates the tech could allow for 200 more buses to run during each morning weekday rush, giving 10,000 more NJ commuters a ride to the Midtown terminal.
On December 22, 1937, the center tube of the Lincoln Tunnel opened to traffic. The $85 million project ($1.5 billion in today’s dollars) linking Weehawken, NJ to Midtown Manhattan was hailed as a “new link of friendship between New York and New Jersey” and an “engineering feat.” On that inaugural day, 7,661 cars drove through the 1.5-mile-long tunnel, paying 50 cents and likely not realizing they were 97 feet underwater.
On May 17, 1971, a nationwide rail workers strike left a number of circus animals from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus stranded five miles from their performance at Madison Square Garden. While most of the circus caravan traveled to the show by truck, 19 elephants, a zebra, a llama and a pony marched from South Kearny, N.J. to MSG via the Lincoln Tunnel.