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Being Smarter on Transportation Technologies and Strategies

Smart sensor technology, autonomous vehicles, operational intelligence software development and a regional data exchange represent some of the innovation advancing efforts to make Jacksonville and Northeast Florida a smart region.

JAXUSA Partnership recently hosted a panel of leading experts to discuss ongoing collaborative projects using real-time data and other smart-centric technology to solve community problems like transportation. The panel, moderated by RS&H Vice President Morgan County, featured commentary from Transportation Authority (JTA) CEO Nat Ford, North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) Executive Director Jeff Sheffield and JEA CEO Aaron Zahn.

North Florida TPO Executive Director Jeff Sheffield discussed its “Smart North Florida” initiative that allows a public parking management program in St. Augustine in St. Johns County to collect payments via smartphone apps to improve efficiency for drivers and the city, as well as its pavement analytics project in Clay County that utilizes sensors to best determine what roads need surfacing.

Sheffield also shared that a regional open data exchange went live in June that allows government agencies and companies to share information like pedestrian and vehicle flow rates using GIS mapping.

JTA CEO Nat Ford outlined the transportation authority’s efforts to create the first autonomous vehicle transit network in the United States as part of its work on Downtown Jacksonville’s Bay Street Innovation Corridor. JTA’s autonomous vehicle test track is supporting four driverless vehicles, which affects the authority’s plan to retrofit the Downtown Skyway monorail system into an elevated roadway for autonomous public transit.

Through work on its Bay Street test track, JTA is developing minimum specifications for autonomous vehicles and is releasing those to manufacturers and the U.S. and Florida Departments of Transportation that can position JTA as an early adopter of autonomous vehicle technology.

While JEA is not directly involved in transportation, CEO Aaron Zahn discussed how employees at the public energy and water utility designed augmented operational intelligence software to track water and sewer flows to limit the number of overflows in storm conditions that can affect transportation infrastructure.

Smart North Florida is working with these regional partners and many others, including JAXUSA Partnership, on projects using smart technologies and strategies that can further improve our region’s economic competitiveness, sustainability and quality of life.