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Developing an Integrated Transportation Vision

BY BRAD THOBURN
Vice President/Chief Development Officer
Jacksonville (FL) Transportation Authority

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA), like many other public transportation providers, is grappling with the future of mobility. Emerging technology affects the planning, design and operations of all transportation services and facilities. Our success demands breaking down modal silos and rethinking traditional roles. As a multimodal transportation provider, JTA is well positioned to take on the role of the mobility integrator and enhance traditional transportation solutions with new mobility options, emerging technology, new infrastructure solutions and strategic partnerships.

JTA’s vision statement, “Universal access to dynamic transportation solutions,” seeks to capture the potential of the emerging mobility ecosystem, where technology and innovation enhance transportation options, gain operating efficiencies and create a well-connected regional mobility network. JTA, like many public transit providers, is exploring alternative service delivery models through various pilots. But the long-term challenge is understanding how and where these various solutions fit in our system and deploying them as part of a complementary network.

To develop a future vision, a multi-agency scenario planning exercise examined the impacts of autonomous vehicles and shared mobility on transit service. Access to mobility under various scenarios of public acceptance of technology and mobility solutions were also examined.

The planning exercise emphasized the need for public transit providers to lead the smart integration of mobility solutions. In fact, the status quo will likely result in marginalizing public transit as the option of last resort.

Conversely, the smart integration of mobility services can result in public transit becoming the backbone of the shared mobility networks.

Smart integration of mobility services can result in public transit becoming the backbone of the shared mobility networks.

To accomplish its vision as a mobility integrator, JTA is focusing our draft vision on several key areas:

Enhancing Traditional Transit Services: Our First Coast Flyer BRT is the largest in the Southeast. With two corridors in operation, one slated for revenue service in December and a final corridor pending funding, the 57-mile system will be the spine of the JTA transit system. Future high-frequency corridors will strengthen the network and regional express services will enable connection with emerging employment and residential centers.

Innovative Partnerships:
Microtransit, transportation network companies, taxis and low-speed shuttles will be explored to provide service in areas where transit traditionally underperforms, such as first and last mile, late night and entertainment-based trips.

Transit-Supportive Infrastructure: Investments include complete streets that contemplate an environment beyond our stations and bus stops for safer pedestrian access and cycling. Mobility hubs will be established at key locations to accommodate the new mobility solutions, as well as options like carshare and bikeshare to support transit-oriented communities. Smart corridors will utilize technology to optimize traffic flow and collect and manage data for public benefit.

Deployment of Autonomous Vehicles: JTA’s Ultimate Urban Circulator (U²C) will modernize and expand the Downtown People Mover with elevated and at-grade sections. The new system will be scalable to other areas and allow more cost-effective, flexible service to transform the delivery of public transit.

A Single App Connecting Mobility Solutions: The final element connecting the portfolio of mobility options is a single application that can allow customers to plan, schedule, pay and track all their mobility options, including private sector partners in the integrated mobility ecosystem.

 
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