Downtown Jacksonville is well on its way to serving as a national model for smart city planning – a concept that will help the region grow and modernize its economy, as well as welcome more innovation to Northeast Florida.
Over the last several years, Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) has become a leader in autonomous vehicle (AV) testing and development through its Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C) automated people mover system. The U2C project will occur over three phases to convert the existing 2.5-mile elevated monorail known as the Skyway to a 10-mile AV network that will operate across downtown and its surrounding residential neighborhoods.
The first phase involves building out the highly anticipated Bay Street Innovation Corridor – a three-mile East-West loop in downtown Jacksonville – which is a component of a multi-year plan to transform downtown Jacksonville into a smarter and safer neighborhood for pedestrian traffic. Recently, JTA hired international infrastructure provider Balfour Beatty to deliver the project using funds from U.S. Department of Transportation BUILD grant and other state and local entities.
For residents, visitors and businesses, this business, residential and entertainment segment of Bay Street will use data to connect people, places and information seamlessly – creating greater efficiencies, enhancing safety and fostering growth opportunities.
The remaining phases for the U2C include full conversion of the Skyway superstructure and the expansion into nearby neighborhoods. By project end, the system will expand the transportation infrastructure to 10 miles, levering the latest AV technologies.
The integration of the U2C system is one of the projects that will make the Bay Street Innovation Corridor a catalyst for technology careers, innovation and new development. It will further establish the Jacksonville region’s capacity and appetite for entrepreneurs, tech firms and other forward-looking companies to begin, expand or relocate their businesses to Northeast Florida.