The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) has selected the Balfour Beatty Vision 2 Reality (V2R) team, which includes AV contractor Beep, to deliver a public autonomous shuttle service for Phase I of the Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C) project.
Phase 1 of the U2C project will introduce autonomous shuttles to the Bay Street Innovation Corridor, a key transportation corridor in Downtown Jacksonville. This undertaking will be the largest public sector autonomous shuttle project in the US.
The Balfour Beatty V2R team includes Beep, Superior Construction Southeast, WGI Inc., Stantec Consulting Services and Miller Electric.
“As the first phase of the U2C program, The Bay Street Innovation Corridor lays the foundation for the U2C vision by introducing autonomous vehicles and enhanced technology to Downtown Jacksonville’s premier mobility corridor. We are proud to collaborate with the Balfour Beatty V2R Team and its consortium of world-class and leading firms like Beep. Their expertise and innovation will help the JTA deliver the nation’s foremost public transportation network powered by sustainable, electric autonomous vehicles.”
The Bay Street Innovation Corridor goal is to provide autonomous transport along three miles of East Bay Street in Downtown Jacksonville.
The project is supported by a 12.5 million USD grant from the US Department of Transportation, as well as funding from the Florida Department of Transportation, North Florida Transportation Planning Organization and local funds.
“Reimagining and redeveloping the Bay Street Innovation Corridor is an opportunity of a lifetime. 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.”
The JTA has contracted Beep before, such as for the Level 4 autonomous transport of COVID tests at Mayo Clinic.
Since 2017, JTA’s Automation & Innovation Division has tested seven AVs with four AV platforms and has engaged with the community.
“We are honoured that the Jacksonville Transportation Authority has placed its trust in Beep and the V2R Team to deliver the nation’s largest-ever autonomous shuttle project to enhance mobility-for-all in the downtown area. Phase I of the U2C builds upon our successful partnership to safely test autonomous vehicles and build passenger and community trust in these transformative transportation solutions. JTA’s U2C project will transform the City of Jacksonville and provide its residents with enhanced mobility options intended to activate the community and make transportation safer.”
Phase II of the U2C programme includes a full conversion of the JTA’s elevated Skyway people mover system, meaning that the ageing system will make way for autonomous shuttles to run on the elevated route instead, while Phase III will expand street level extensions into neighbouring communities to connect them with Downtown Jacksonville.
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