Updated: 05/24 at 9 a.m.
An autonomous Skyway monorail system, a multi-modal hub transportation center, and more bus lines are just some of the things the Jacksonville Transportation Authority has in store for the community.
JTA CEO Nathaniel Ford announced plans for improvements to Jacksonville’s public transportation systems Tuesday at the JTA State of Authority luncheon, beginning with the Ultimate Urban Circulation project.
The goal of the U2C project is to modernize and expand the Skyway monorail system and eventually employ autonomous transit technology. Plans for expansion extend across the St. Johns River.
“We envision an east-west connection on the north bank from Five Points to the Sports Complex, a connection to San Marco, the Baptist MD Anderson Complex and the planned district development, the Springfield neighborhood with future connectivity to UF Health and the(Jacksonville Veterans Affairs Hospital) , ” Ford said.
Modernization of the Skyway is underway, including replacing or repairing cars, rebranding vehicles, and revitalizing each station. Public art has also been added along 17 columns to make the Skyway system look more inviting, he said. Ford added there are also plans for a U2C bridge for bicyclists, pedestrians, and an autonomous vehicle service.
Soon after this phase is complete, JTA will begin project development for autonomous vehicles. Ford did not give a timeline for when the route expansions will be finished but said the project is a high priority.
"It is critical that we deliver the project quickly for the citizens of Jacksonville," he said.
The JTA is also working on the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center, which is a transportation hub located in Lavilla, where the First Coast Flyer, JTA buses, Skyway trams, taxis, Ubers, Greyhounds, can come together in one place, Ford said.
The project is expected to be complete by January. The JRTC administrative building and terminal is scheduled to be complete by November 2019.
“We’re very excited about what this brings in terms of transportation infrastructure to Jacksonville,” Ford said.
JTA is also looking to expand the First Coast Flyer premium rapid-transit bus system with two more lines. The Red Line will provide service downtown along the Arlington Expressway, Southside Boulevard and Beach Boulevard. The Purple Line will provide service from the Convention Center, south along Blanding Boulevard.
Both lines are in development with an estimated completion date of 2019. When complete, the First Coast Flyer will cover 57 miles of Jacksonville.
In the past year, Ford said JTA has implemented real time passenger information at each station and all bus fleets are equipped with WiFi.
U2C Skyway Expansions
- Five Points to Sports Complex
- Rosa Parks to UF Health/Shands
- San Marco Station to Medical Complex
- Riverplace Station to The District
- Kings Ave Station to San Marco/Commuter Rail Connection
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CORRECTION: This article has been updated with expanded Ultimate Urban Circulation Skyway extensions.