Press Releases

JTA receives ITS Local Government Award

JACKSONVILLE, FL.  October 12, 2021 – The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) received the ITS World Congress Hall of Fame Local Government Award for the Americas Region at the 27th ITS World Congress in Hamburg, Germany, for the Authority’s historic deployment of autonomous vehicles to move COVID-19 tests on the Mayo Clinic’s Jacksonville campus in 2020.

The ITS World Congress Hall of Fame Local Government Award is given to a government agency that develops and/or deploys significant innovative ITS products or services that fostered advanced deployment of ITS services over the course of the previous year; implements policies or projects advancing the development and deployment of ITS over the course of the previous year; and plays a leading role in the ITS Community.

The JTA is a member of ITS America. Its mission is to deploy technology to achieve a safer, greener, smarter transportation system with more access for all.

“This award captures the innovative spirit at the JTA, and how we challenge ourselves to turn ideas into action in times of need,” said JTA Chief Executive Officer Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. “I would like to thank the JTA’s Automation & Innovation division, our staff, and our partners at the Mayo Clinic, Beep, and NAVYA for making this historic autonomous vehicle deployment successful.”

The JTA is the third Florida public agency to win the ITS World Congress Hall of Fame Local Government Award since 2018, joining the Florida Department of Transportation and the Tampa Hillsboro Expressway Authority.

JTA Board Chair Ari Jolly accepted the award along with Vice President of Automation & Innovation, Bernard Schmidt, Tuesday at the ITS World Congress in Hamburg.

From March through July 2020, the JTA’s Automation & Innovation Division worked with Beep and NAVYA to deploy autonomous vehicles on the Mayo Clinic’s Jacksonville campus to move COVID-19 test samples from drive-thru testing sites to the hospital’s laboratories. The AVs operated with Level 4 autonomy, without on-board attendants, and successfully moved more than 30,000 COVID-19 and BAP test samples.

The deployment is one of many autonomous vehicle projects the JTA has developed since establishing the Automation & Innovation Division in 2018. The JTA is currently working to create the nation’s first autonomous vehicle public transportation network with the Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C), which will modernize and expand the current Skyway system in Downtown Jacksonville.

The work in Jacksonville is part of a larger, state-wide effort to advance new mobility solutions through the use of autonomous vehicles.

“As we work towards becoming the mobility innovation capital of the world, it is encouraging that Florida’s local government agencies are being recognized on the global stage,” said HNTB Corporation Vice President and Autonomous Florida Chair Beth Kigel. “JTA’s innovative work such as the Ultimate Urban Circulator(U2C) program and testing ‘airless’ tires on autonomous vehicles have helped move the needle forward and provide exposure for Florida in the mobility innovation space.”

The JTA is a proud Steering Committee partner of Autonomous Florida, a program of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which seeks to make Florida the mobility innovation capital of the world by ensuring agencies across the state lead the way in connected and autonomous vehicle development.

To learn more about the JTA’s Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C) program, visit