Mass Transit - 31

Autonomous Vehicles
U.S., and he believes in the world, these particular
shuttles were operated on full Level 4 autonomy,
meaning the safety operator was removed.
" [This] forced us to get to the next level that we
wanted to test of the technology, which is remote
command and control, " Schmidt said.
Ford explains they outfitted a bus with the necessary technology and monitors to create a command
center. This, Schmidt adds, provided eyes and ears
onboard the vehicle, as well as a remote switch that
could shut down and commandeer the vehicle.
Ford adds that in the four-month timeframe
JTA ran the program, more than 30,000 samples of
COVID-19 sample tests and cancer specimen test
samples were transported.

Moving to the Real World

As the technology for AVs matures, the JTA will start
to implement real-world applications by building
out the phases of the U2C Program, which is broken
into four phases. The first phase is a three-mile loop
deemed the Bay Street Innovation Corridor, which
is the at-grade portion that will connect where the
Skyway was never finished from Central Avenue to the
TIAA Bank Field and new sports and entertainment
complex. Ford explains this corridor is a good option
for the first phase because the area is underdeveloped,
allowing JTA to roll out Level 3 AV technology concurrently as the corridor undergoes transformation.
" To introduce this technology in that corridor,
I think, was the greatest opportunity in terms of
ridership, and the least amount of risk as it relates
to interaction with automobiles, as well as pedestrians, " Ford said.
Phase 2 of the program is converting the first section of the aerial Skyway structure from the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center to Jefferson
Station, which Schmidt says is an exciting portion of
the project because it leverages existing infrastructure.
Over the years, the Skyway went from being a roadway
at elevation for rubber-tire vehicles, to being retrofitted with a center guide beam which created a monorail
system using rubber-tire vehicles, to now having the
removal of the superstructure to be converted back to
be a roadway at elevation. Phase 3 includes converting
the remaining Skyway infrastructure.
" A good portion of that structure, the infrastructure, even the stations all remain. All we do is recreate that roadway at elevation and then use that with
autonomous vehicles, " Schmidt said. " [We will] then
create some type of connection between the elevated
portion and a street level portion. "
And lastly, Phase 4 includes the neighborhood
extensions, which would build out the system atgrade into neighborhoods like Brooklyn, LaVilla, San
Marco and the medical complex. While JTA plans to
launch Phase 1 with Level 3 autonomy, Schmidt ex-

plains the authority will work up to Level 4 autonomy
to allow the socialization of the technology, as well as
better understand the safety and risk management.

Advanced Technology Advances
Economic Development

As the U2C Project comes to fruition and the downtown core becomes more developed, Ford shares he
sees economic opportunities for JTA and the city.
" We believe, when we talk about the Bay Street
Innovation Corridor, there's an opportunity as it
relates to tourism and economic development, " Ford
said. " I would foresee that a natural partnership will
be between the JTA and some of the developers that
are building in and around Downtown Jacksonville
having, for example, in terms of housing developer
being able to quickly get those residents from their
doorstep right into the heart of downtown where
our jobs are located. "
Another economic opportunity specifically related to the Bay Street Innovation Corridor is leveraging private sector investment in the project. This is a
unique opportunity for JTA because of a state statute
that allows the authority
to operate in some ways
like a private corporation.
Because of this, Ford explains they developed JTI
to permit the authority to
partner in private contracts and arrangements
while protecting intellectual property.
" So what is developed
in Bay Street with our
private partners, if it is
something that is commercialized and used in other
parts of the country, there's an opportunity that JTA
would receive royalties related to that, " Ford said.
In terms of receptiveness of the U2C Project,
Ford says these additional revenue opportunities
have helped gain public support.
" From a business perspective, from an economic
development perspective, from attracting talent and
innovation to Jacksonville, [U2C] was very well received because again, it's not operating the way we
operated 40 or 50 years ago, " Ford said.
And not only does Ford see U2C as a great economic opportunity but also a great opportunity for
transit to meet customers' needs of the future.
" Our customers are looking for a service that meets
their schedule. And when I say meets their schedule,
I mean real time. I want to move when I desire from
point A to point B-not when your schedule actually
says I can move. And I think autonomy gives us an
opportunity to better meet the expectation of consumers going into the future, " Ford concluded.

THE OLLI 2.0
shuttle was
delivered to
JTA through
a partnership
with Beep,
Local Motors by
LM Industries
and Robotic
Research LLC.

NOVEMBER 2020 | MassTransitmag.com | Mass Transit |

31


http://www.MassTransitmag.com

Mass Transit

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Mass Transit

Ad Index
Editor's Notebook: What's Next? Better Mobility
People & Places
New Ransomware Attacks Pose Costly Threat to Transit Agencies
2020 Transit Safety and Security Report
Planning the Right Zero-Emission Fleet Conversion from the Beginning
AVs Pave the Way to Future Mobility
A New Age for Streetcars
Products: In Focus - Shelters, Stops & Stations
Best Practices: Creating a Safer, More Secure Ride on Metro Transit in the St. Louis Region
Mass Transit - 1
Mass Transit - 2
Mass Transit - 3
Mass Transit - 4
Mass Transit - 5
Mass Transit - Ad Index
Mass Transit - 7
Mass Transit - Editor's Notebook: What's Next? Better Mobility
Mass Transit - 9
Mass Transit - People & Places
Mass Transit - 11
Mass Transit - 12
Mass Transit - 13
Mass Transit - New Ransomware Attacks Pose Costly Threat to Transit Agencies
Mass Transit - 15
Mass Transit - 16
Mass Transit - 17
Mass Transit - 18
Mass Transit - 19
Mass Transit - 2020 Transit Safety and Security Report
Mass Transit - 21
Mass Transit - 22
Mass Transit - 23
Mass Transit - Planning the Right Zero-Emission Fleet Conversion from the Beginning
Mass Transit - 25
Mass Transit - 26
Mass Transit - 27
Mass Transit - AVs Pave the Way to Future Mobility
Mass Transit - 29
Mass Transit - 30
Mass Transit - 31
Mass Transit - A New Age for Streetcars
Mass Transit - 33
Mass Transit - 34
Mass Transit - 35
Mass Transit - 36
Mass Transit - 37
Mass Transit - Products: In Focus - Shelters, Stops & Stations
Mass Transit - 39
Mass Transit - 40
Mass Transit - 41
Mass Transit - Best Practices: Creating a Safer, More Secure Ride on Metro Transit in the St. Louis Region
Mass Transit - 43
Mass Transit - 44
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