Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 6

2017 RAIL CONFERENCE

JTA's U2C Program: A Fixed Guideway Disruptor?
BY BRAD THOBURN
Vice President of Planning,
Development and Innovation
Jacksonville (FL) Transportation
Authority

T

he emergence of autonomous
vehicles and shared mobility
has raised more questions than
answers for public transit.
However, as public transit providers
grapple with how their service will adapt
to the evolving mobility paradigm, the
Jacksonville Transportation Authority's
(JTA) Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C)
program offers a framework to modernize and expand the aging Skyway
(monorail) and offers insight into the
opportunity technology presents for the
future of public transit.
JTA's Skyway vehicles are past their
midlife and face obsolescence. Four of
the 10 trains have been forced out of
service. Maintenance is costly and the
original manufacturer shows little interest in overhauling and supporting the
vehicles.
This has caused some to question the
future of the system. However, the JTA
Board of Directors and key community
stakeholders determined that the Skyway is too great an asset to abandon.
Still, direction from the JTA board to

keep, modernize and expand the syssions and stations compared to the
tem came with a caveat: Don't simply
elevated system. Recurring operatlook to expand as is; explore technoling savings are expected to be at
ogy options and look for more flexleast 25 percent.
ible solutions.
The U2C vision includes
2
That direction resulted in the U C
using existing investments in
program, which proposes to modify
the Skyway and infrastructure
the elevated guideway and replace
and harnessing the potential of
the current vehicles with a larger fleet
emerging technology to better
of smaller driverless shuttles to be
connect people and places in and
operated individually or as virtually
around downtown. The program
connected trains. This will allow the
provides the ideal platform to
flexibility to provide high-frequency
advance autonomous vehicle
service with two- to three-minute
technology in an urban setting
An artist's rendering of a new Skyway in Jacksonville featuring
a larger fleet of smaller driverless shuttles.
headways and meet the demands
and will provide nothing less than
associated with events and peak
enhanced mobility, connectivservice times.
structure too intrusive. Ramps from the
ity, sustained economic growth and
In the future, agency leaders envision
elevated section to ground level will
vibrancy for Jacksonville. In addition, a
point-to-point and demand-responsive
ensure seamless operation.
new regional transportation center will
service. The new vehicles will allow
The promise of rapidly emerging
connect the U2C to local, regional and
ground-level extensions not feasible
next-generation autonomous vehicle
intercity transit services.
with the current monorail. Extensions
technology not only offers optimal flexIn February, JTA's board approved the
will be in dedicated lanes or mixed trafibility, but it also is expected to be far
U2C plan and authorized moving from
fic as technology permits. This would
more cost-effective. JTA is refining the
planning to development of the project
allow the Skyway to reach beyond its
scope and cost estimates.
elements that will include conversion
current 2.5-mile system into nearby
We expect significant savings comof the existing system, selection of new
neighborhoods and new emerging and
pared to extending the elevated people
vehicles and development of extensions.
planned developments in downtown.
mover and using traditional people
This is an exciting cutting-edge
Using the existing elevated section in
mover vehicles. Overall savings on
project that will help define the future
the downtown core provides the highest
costs, even considering an increase in
of urban public transit and make
level of speed and reliability, while the
the number of vehicles, should exceed
Jacksonville a prototype community
ground-level extensions will reach areas
50 percent. Potential savings exceed
where people will want to come to live,
that would otherwise find the elevated
75 percent for the ground-level extenwork and play.

Railcar Manufacturing, Assembly Drives Job and Economic Growth
Federal Support Enhances Main Street Development
WHEN THE NATION INVESTS
federal funds in public transportation,
it helps create and sustain jobs throughout the U.S., bolster local and state econ-

6 | Passenger Transport

omies and strengthen national and global
supply chains.
This theme is at the heart of APTA's
ongoing legislative and advocacy cam-

paigns, which leverage high-profile
events, member mobilization and grassroots and national outreach to emphasize public transit's economic value.

This schematic illustrates the myriad
jobs supported by railcar manufacturing,
categorized by vehicle systems and the
states in which those jobs exist.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11

Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 1
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 2
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 3
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 4
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 5
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 6
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 7
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 8
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 9
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 10
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 11
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 12
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 13
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 14
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 15
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 16
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 17
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 18
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 19
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 20
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 21
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 22
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 23
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 24
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 25
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 26
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 27
Passenger Transport June 2017 Vol 75 No 11 - 28
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