The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) board has approved a plan called MOVE.
MOVE stands for mobility optimization through vision and excellence. That’s a fancy way of saying JTA is tying together a lot of different plans for its transit future.
Spokeswoman Leigh Ann Rassler said Thursday that MOVE will include everything from autonomous vehicles that will replace and expand the current Skyway system to so-called “smart integration.”
“It’s basically integrating traditional solutions with these new technologies, infrastructure and partnerships for a robust regional transportation system,” said Rassler.
One example is what is being called the Bay Street Innovation Corridor. It would include the installation of a network of sensors that JTA’s smartphone app and vehicles would use. JTA along with other agencies have applied for a $25 million dollar federal grant to begin building out the system, which could also be used for upgrades in areas like public safety.
Rassler said another example of MOVE is how JTA is laying the groundwork for the day when commuters will use their smartphones to schedule, pay and track their transportation choices that go beyond traditional buses.
JTA envisions a day when "micro transit vehicles" can get commuters closer to their final destination than most of today’s buses do.
Rassler describes the idea as alternative service delivery: “First and last mile, it might not always be the traditional people getting on the big bus. It could be that you’re taking a micro transit vehicle, which is a low speed vehicle, in an area that connects you to that bus route.”
Jacksonville may also be joining the growing list of cities that offer bicycle sharing. If that happens it would also be tied into the next-generation smartphone app.
In the shorter term, JTA is about to launch the next leg of the First Coast Flyer rapid bus system, which already has smartphone integration.
The line between the beaches and downtown is set to begin operating in December.