The Bay Street Innovation Corridor is an approximately 3-mile, at-grade autonomous vehicle...

The Bay Street Innovation Corridor is an approximately 3-mile, at-grade autonomous vehicle transportation solution that will run along East Bay Street in Downtown Jacksonville.

Photo: Beep

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) selected the Balfour Beatty Vision 2 Reality (V2R) Team and Beep to deliver Phase I of the Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C) project, the Bay Street Innovation Corridor in Downtown Jacksonville.

The Bay Street Innovation Corridor is an approximately three-mile, at-grade autonomous vehicle transportation solution that will run along East Bay Street in Downtown Jacksonville, from Hogan Street to the city’s Sports & Entertainment District, which includes TIAA Bank Field, 121 Financial Field and the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena.

“As the first phase of the U2C program, The Bay Street Innovation Corridor lays the foundation for the U2C vision by introducing autonomous vehicles and enhanced technology to Downtown Jacksonville’s premier mobility corridor," said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., JTA CEO. "We are proud to collaborate with the Balfour Beatty V2R Team and its consortium of world-class and leading firms like Beep. Their expertise and innovation will help the JTA deliver the nation’s foremost public transportation network powered by sustainable, electric autonomous vehicles. By leveraging, modernizing and expanding our existing Skyway APM system, and enhancing street level infrastructure, the U2C sets the bar for the rest of the nation.”

The project is supported by a $12.5 million BUILD grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, funding from the Florida Department of Transportation, North Florida Transportation Planning Organization, and local funds.

Phase II of the U2C program includes a full conversion of the JTA’s elevated Skyway APM system. Phase III will expand street level extensions into neighboring communities to connect Downtown Jacksonville to nearby neighborhoods. 

The Belfour Beatty V2R team comprises Beep, Superior Construction Southeast, WGI Inc., Stantec Consulting Services, and Miller Electric. 

Beep’s partnership with the JTA began as the Authority launched its AV Test & Learn Program at its Armsdale Test & Learn Center. Since 2017, the JTA’s Automation & Innovation Division has tested seven AVs and four AV platforms, and engaged with community partners, local schools, first responders, and disability advocates to ensure the U2C is safe, sustainable and accessible to all. 

“We are honored that the Jacksonville Transportation Authority has placed its trust in Beep and the V2R Team to deliver the nation’s largest-ever autonomous shuttle project to enhance mobility-for-all in the downtown area," said Joe Moye, CEO, Beep. "Phase I of the U2C builds upon our successful partnership to safely test autonomous vehicles and build passenger and community trust in these transformative transportation solutions. We look forward to leveraging our experience as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s AV test program to positively impact safety and sustainability with this strategic program.  JTA’s U2C project will transform the City of Jacksonville and provide its residents with enhanced mobility options intended to activate the community and make transportation safer.”

From April to June 2020, the JTA and Beep deployed a fleet of autonomous vehicles operating in Level 4 autonomy to support the Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 testing efforts at its Jacksonville Campus.

Over the four-month period, AVs safely transported more than 30,000 COVID-19 samples collected from a drive-thru testing site to the hospital’s laboratories for testing.