Press Releases

JTA Hosts U2C Industry Forum

JACKSONVILLE, FL -  The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) welcomed hundreds of national and international guests at the Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C) Industry Forum in Jacksonville Feb. 19 to solicit industry feedback on the JTA’s autonomous vehicle program.

Industry experts, policy makers, public transportation professionals and private sector innovators converged in Jacksonville following the successful Request for Information exercise the JTA completed in February.

“The JTA is leading the nation in developing a public transportation network powered by autonomous vehicles,” said JTA CEO Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. “We are at a point in our development where we felt the need to engage the private sector and solicit their feedback on how to proceed.”

The U2C is the JTA’s autonomous vehicle project that will modernize and expand the current Skyway downtown circulator. This proposed 10-mile network will harness autonomous vehicles and related technologies to covert the current Skyway system and expand that network through ground level connections into Downtown Jacksonville and nearby neighborhoods like Springfield, San Marco, Brooklyn and Riverside.

The U2C Industry Forum featured a robust panel discussion focused on policy, procurement, infrastructure, autonomous vehicle technology and transit-oriented development. Additional breakout sessions facilitated a more specific discussion on engineering, the Internet of Things (IOT), the Skyway infrastructure and procurement.

Feedback received during the forum will assist the JTA in developing and issuing an official Request for Proposals, expected by summer 2020.

Guests toured the Skyway Operations and Maintenance Facility, the JTA’s U2C Test and Learn Track and enjoyed rides on the various autonomous vehicles along what will become the Bay Street Innovation Corridor, the first phase of the project.

“The response and international attention this forum received is a testament to the attention to detail and momentum the JTA is building for the U2C,” said Ford. “This program will not only compliment the JTA’s vast transit network, but also sends a message to the entire world that Jacksonville is the place to be for innovation.”

The JTA first announced the U2C program in 2016 following the completion of the Skyway Advisory Committee, when community stakeholders, officials and JTA staff worked collaboratively to seek a long-term solution to modernizing the Skyway. 

In February 2019, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao delivered a $12.5 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grant, to the JTA to help fund the first phase, the Bay Street Innovation Corridor. This approximately three-mile loop will move customers from Downtown Jacksonville to the Sports and Entertainment Complex and back. 

Additional phases include Autonomous Avenue, the first section of the existing Skyway the JTA will convert that runs from the new Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center at LaVilla (JRTC) to Jefferson Station. Later phases include the full conversion of the Skyway’s 2.5-mile network and the expansion into nearby neighborhoods.

Forum guests also learned more about the JTA’s Transit-Oriented Development program.

In May 2019, the Authority announced it would seek joint development partners to develop JTA properties in and around Downtown Jacksonville to enhance connectivity and to increase ridership.

Transit-oriented developments or TODs are dense and feature a mix of residential, retail and office uses, connected directly to or within walking distance of the JTA’s existing transportation network.