Fla.’s Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) is testing the first ADA accessible NAVYA autonomous vehicle prototype in the U.S. at its Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C) Test and Learn Track.
JTA recently welcomed members from the City of Jacksonville and Mayor’s Disability Council and the Jacksonville Transportation Advisory Committee to experience the shuttle and to provide feedback on their first test rides.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s Disability Council comprises 13 members who serve as community liaisons from a multitude of agencies, disability backgrounds, and business professions.
The JTA’s Transportation Advisory Committee serves to advise JTA’s board on policies and other matters pertaining to transportation of persons with disabilities, and also advocates on behalf of the JTA for improvements to public transit services in the community. They are also key in the continued development of the U2C program.
The JTA embarked on developing an autonomous vehicle service for public transportation in 2017, officially launching the U2C program.
Once completed, the U2C will comprise four main projects, the first of which is the Bay Street Innovation Corridor — a three-mile at-grade loop along East Bay Street on Downtown Jacksonville’s Northbank. This phase will connect the east and west sides of Downtown Jacksonville from the new Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center at LaVilla, which opens in March 2020, and the city’s sports and entertainment district.
Simultaneously the JTA is developing Autonomous Avenue, which is the first conversion of an elevated monorail system to a roadway that supports autonomous vehicles. This first .9-mile leg will serve as a proof of concept, not only for the JTA, but for the entire country, which will continue throughout the Skyway’s entire 2.5-mile footprint. Finally, the JTA will expand the current Skyway through at-grade connections to serve a 10-mile network that flows through neighborhoods near Downtown Jacksonville.
The Bay Street Innovation Corridor received the backing of the Federal Transit Administration in December 2018 with the award of a $12.5 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development or BUILD grant. This $44 million phase is actively in development and planning.
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