AVs coming to Florida mobility corridor 

Jacksonville Transportation Authority project supported by $12.5m grant from USDoT
Mobility as a Service / March 4, 2022
By Ben Spencer
Jacksonville Transportation Authority Balfour Beatty Vision 2 Reality Beep autonomous vehicles
The Bay Street Innovation Corridor is a three-mile, at-grade AV transportation solution (image credit: Beep)

Florida's Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) selected the Balfour Beatty Vision 2 Reality (V2R) Team and Beep to introduce autonomous shuttles to a downtown mobility corridor.

The autonomous vehicles (AV) will operate at the Bay Street Innovation Corridor as part of the first phase of the Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C) project.

The corridor is an approximately three-mile, at-grade AV transportation solution that will run along East Bay Street in Downtown Jacksonville, from Hogan Street to the city’s Sports & Entertainment District. It includes TIAA Bank Field, 121 Financial Field and the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena. 

The project is supported by a $12.5 million grant from the US Department of Transportation (USDoT), funding from the Florida Department of Transportation, North Florida Transportation Planning Organization and local funds.

The second phase of the U2C programme will include a full conversion of the JTA’s elevated Skyway APM system while a third stage will expand street level extensions into neighbouring communities to connect Downtown Jacksonville to nearby neighbourhoods.

The Belfour Beatty V2R team comprises Beep, Superior Construction Southeast, WGI, Stantec Consulting Services and Miller Electric.

JTA CEO Nathaniel P. Ford Sr says: “We are proud to collaborate with the Balfour Beatty V2R Team and its consortium of world-class and leading firms like BJaceep. Their expertise and innovation will help the JTA deliver the nation’s foremost public transportation network powered by sustainable, electric autonomous vehicles.” 

Dave Campbell, project executive, Balfour Beatty, says: “The U2C project will serve as the framework for many communities to follow. We are excited at the opportunity to partner with JTA to bring this vision to reality and establish the country's first autonomous transportation network in the country.”

Beep started working with the JTA when the authority launched its AV Test & Learn Programme at its Armsdale Test & Learn Center. Since 2017, the JTA’s automation & innovation division has tested seven AVs and four AV platforms, and engaged with community partners, local schools, first responders and disability advocates to ensure the U2C is safe and accessible to everyone. 

From last April to June, the JTA and Beep deployed a fleet of AVs operating in Level 4 autonomy to support the Mayo Clinic’s Covid-19 testing efforts at its Jacksonville Campus.

The JTA says AVs safely transported more than 30,000 Covid-19 samples collected from a drive-thru testing site to the hospital’s laboratories for testing over the four-month period. 

For more information on companies in this article