Author Topic: JTA gets federal funds to densify downtown around autonomous transit  (Read 1423 times)

thelakelander

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The Jacksonville Transportation Authority is among 20 agencies in the country to receive a portion of $16.6 million in federal funds to plan transit-oriented development, a strategy of development that relies on new or expanded transit systems to fuel economic growth.

The JTA will receive slightly more than $1 million to plan TOD along the Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C), the autonomous vehicle successor to the Skyway which will stretch 10 miles through downtown and surrounding districts.

The funds are part of the Federal Transit Administration's Pilot Program for TOD Planning, which funds planning aimed at increasing ridership, multimodal connectivity and mixed-use development near transit stations. Jacksonville was the fifth highest award winner out of the 20 agencies to receive funding.

JTA CEO Nat Ford has called for the U2C to connect the "barbell" of downtown, anchored on one end by the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center and on the other by TIAA Bank Field. The U2C will use the Skyway's 2.5-mile elevated infrastructure and extend onto surface roads via off-ramps.

Full article: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2018/12/18/jta-gets-federal-funds-to-densify-downtown-around.html
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CityLife

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Re: JTA gets federal funds to densify downtown around autonomous transit
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2018, 06:12:52 PM »
Nice. One million can and should fund a world class TOD study. There are national firms that can do incredible market and economic analysis of the TOD study area, which will really guide the entire project. Even if the U2C is never built, the City should get a ton of good information out of the study.

A proper TOD study will cover a lot of ground, but off the top of my head, a few key aspects are:

1. Identifying specific redevelopment opportunities and selecting routes/stations based on opportunities for redevelopment
2. Making suggestions for TOD related zoning code/comp plan changes (Ideally a TOD Overlay District with incentive zoning)
3. Studying mobility to and from the TOD area and proposed stations and identifying necessary/desired improvements
4. Adding various TOD/mobility related projects into capital improvement plan
5. Identifying opportunities to provide essential services/workforce/affordable housing in proximity to TOD area.
6. Having economic and market driven data to help local politicians and agencies make informed policy decisions

For this to be successful it takes a lot of people to play well in the sandbox together, and strong leadership at the top. Hopefully JTA/COJ can pull it off.

thelakelander

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Re: JTA gets federal funds to densify downtown around autonomous transit
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2018, 07:40:12 PM »
I definitely see some coordination problems here. However, they can be overcome with logic:

1. Isn't Councilwoman Boyer already working on a zoning revamp for downtown? Looking at the sub-district map the Jax Daily Record posted a few weeks back, it doesn't appear on the surface to align with JTA's U2C routes. Ideally, these two independent initiatives should be seamlessly coordinated.

2. No matter how much money thrown at a TOD study, you can't totally discount the power of coordinated land use policy with dedicated transit ROW/lanes, etc. We can promote innovation and technology till we turn blue in the face, but at some point, tried and true measures will have to be included to maximize TOD potential.


3. If having a high population base is desired to support said system, then it's time to do what has not been done to date. That is deliberately tie this system into the higher populated and transit dependent areas of the urban core. Yes, the Durkeevilles (which also happens to be an opportunity zone) of the city!


4. Btw, what was the results of the JTA TOD effort that took place when Keith Brown was there a few years back? Is there something that was not implemented that can be built upon to maximize current resources?

https://www.jtafla.com/media-center/press-releases/joint-use-and-tod-policy-document-review/


5. Last, they can save their money looking at TOD along the Bay Street corridor east of the Broad. Everything already proposed between there and the stadium will happen or not happen regardless of if the U2C is expanded to the stadium. Lenny has hitched his wagon to Khan. You'll also be limited in the amount of increased density you can push in places like Springfield. Instead put a bit more focus on areas of the core outside of the downtown core. The whole land use/density/equitable accessibility/economic opportunity is a major reason to explore connecting to transit dependent populations while penetrating areas ripe for infill like the Rail Yard District, Sugar Hill, etc.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2018, 11:23:42 PM by thelakelander »
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Keith-N-Jax

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Re: JTA gets federal funds to densify downtown around autonomous transit
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2018, 10:15:51 PM »
Never mention logic and COJ or JTA in the same sentence.

JeffreyS

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Re: JTA gets federal funds to densify downtown around autonomous transit
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2018, 08:44:42 AM »
How much for a streetcar line connecting ends of the skyway through Springfield, Shands, Durkeeville, Newtown and Lavilla using Main, 8th and Myrtle?
Lenny Smash

thelakelander

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Re: JTA gets federal funds to densify downtown around autonomous transit
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2018, 09:20:25 AM »
Over the course of 15 years, Portland built its 14.7-mile system for $251.4 million or $17.1 million/mile. On the other hand, recent modern streetcar lines in Detroit, Atlanta, Cincinnati were built for roughly $40 million/mile. Of interesting note, the Skyway in its current state, carries thousands more. Your route is roughly 3.7 miles. So somewhere between $63 million and $148 million in capital costs. The low end would involve making a "no frills" style modern system (heritage is significantly less) as opposed to blowing up a corridor and going into full streetscape mode, which is what most of these projects end up being.

Here's a study that details some of these projects: https://metrocouncil.org/METC/files/20/20532879-d6b9-4dc8-9376-ef08d375441b.pdf

Why what amounts to a self driving Uber car would be attractive to an entity like JTA is because they'd buy vehicles to ride on existing streets, eliminating the lion's share of infrastructure capital costs. I guess some may be hedging their bet that 25 mph self driving vehicles will be more attractive to choice users than buses or PCTs (fake trolleys on rubber wheels) would?

Unfortunately for Jax, the novelty of slow-moving driverless vehicles won't sustain long term choice rider attractability or spur TOD.  In addition, what's currently available offers less capacity than the current Skyway vehicles do, while presenting to option to clog local streets with more low occupancy vehicles.  Much of this can be alleviated with the inclusion of dedicated lanes, infrastructure or right-of-way.

« Last Edit: December 19, 2018, 09:32:08 AM by thelakelander »
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bl8jaxnative

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Re: JTA gets federal funds to densify downtown around autonomous transit
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2018, 03:52:06 PM »
Is there any information on how U2C would use the elevated Skway?   As we all know, the Skyway was built as a monorail.    I'm not aware of any robo-mini-buses that double as monorail vehicles.

Charles Hunter

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Re: JTA gets federal funds to densify downtown around autonomous transit
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2018, 04:05:28 PM »
As I recall, JTA would shut the Skyway down and remove the monorail beam, and replace it with a running surface for the U2C vehicles.  Reversing what they did when they changed to the monorail system from the original Westinghouse system.  Not sure if they will do a total shut down, or just do one track at a time, allowing some service to continue during the conversion.

The bigger questions is - do the U2C vehicles operate in mixed traffic, or will they require dedicated, protected, right-of-way?

thelakelander

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Re: JTA gets federal funds to densify downtown around autonomous transit
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2018, 04:18:29 PM »
Is there any information on how U2C would use the elevated Skway?   As we all know, the Skyway was built as a monorail.    I'm not aware of any robo-mini-buses that double as monorail vehicles.

There's a video in this link that illustrates what they want to do:

https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/jtas-u2c-good-bad-or-dont-care/

Here it is in picture format...

1. Remove the beam


2. Add driverless cars instead of larger Skyway vehicles




3. Drop it to grade, so the cars can have the ability to mix in with regular traffic

(This slide will need modification since it runs through the proposed Hyatt Place site.)
« Last Edit: December 26, 2018, 04:35:54 PM by thelakelander »
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bl8jaxnative

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Re: JTA gets federal funds to densify downtown around autonomous transit
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2018, 04:34:42 PM »
Thanks.  That's what I would picture, that they essentially have to rebuild the Skway to re purpose it.  That's neither a cheap nor quick process.

All the talk I've seen on u2C has been that JTA is assuming that they will be running robocars on the route.   They're counting on the fully  automated mini buses proving to work well and safely enough to be ran on these routes.     I haven't seen anything where they're looking to create a quasi fixed guideway for them, similar to Heathrow's PRT system where cement bumpers keep them on path.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nkn0R6Mf8cA

bl8jaxnative

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Re: JTA gets federal funds to densify downtown around autonomous transit
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2018, 04:42:20 PM »
Thanks for the pics.  I forgot about that video.  That ties in with Charles Hunter had to say.   I'd feel a lot more comfortable with the concept if they had more information on it. 

To my knowledge no one's tested this sort of thing out anyplace.  That needs to be done before altering the Skyway. 

Even if u2c can be done, I'm still not clear on how JTA gets the Skway there.  At best U2C is a decade away.  As it is today the Skyway's vehicles maybe has a couple years of life in them, at least in being reliable enough to keep 7 minute frequency with today's fleet.

thelakelander

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Re: JTA gets federal funds to densify downtown around autonomous transit
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2018, 04:43:56 PM »
^I think that's the whole project's downfall.


Detroit's QLine Streetcar

No, the conversion won't be cheap. I believe the plan is to save money extending into adjacent neighborhoods by limiting the amount of money needed to retrofit streets for dedicated lanes. However, the novelty of a driverless transit vehicle sitting in congestion is just as effective as a modern streetcar stuck in traffic. Save the money, buy a bus or contract out with Uber or Lyft and call it a day, if you're not going to include dedicated right-of-way.
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thelakelander

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Re: JTA gets federal funds to densify downtown around autonomous transit
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2018, 04:46:01 PM »
Thanks for the pics.  I forgot about that video.  That ties in with Charles Hunter had to say.   I'd feel a lot more comfortable with the concept if they had more information on it. 

To my knowledge no one's tested this sort of thing out anyplace.  That needs to be done before altering the Skyway. 

Even if u2c can be done, I'm still not clear on how JTA gets the Skway there.  At best U2C is a decade away.  As it is today the Skyway's vehicles maybe has a couple years of life in them, at least in being reliable enough to keep 7 minute frequency with today's fleet.


There's a few systems overseas but they run on dedicated right-of-way. There's a lot of wishful thinking at this point but a lot of technical questions still remain unanswered.
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bl8jaxnative

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Re: JTA gets federal funds to densify downtown around autonomous transit
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2018, 03:06:19 PM »
The couple robobus / PRT systems that's I'm aware of like the London Heathrow one, it's not just that they have a dedicated right of way. . But the whole environment they live in is limited.  There's not opportunity for people to jaywalk in front of the vehicles and such.

Now if JTA scales remakes the U2C - probably best to just brand it as phase one - with the dedicated right of way that's limited so to not interact with the surrounding environment, that has some potential.  I'm just not sure beyond the existing elevated structure where it's possible to create something that  keeps the rest of the environment from easily interacting with it ( aka, jaywalkers, cross streets, et al. ).

Has JTA ever looked at just mothballing the Skyway?   Yes, there would be some costs involved.  But some of it has nearly been ran long enough.  And the operating costs aren't cheap, either.

thelakelander

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Re: JTA gets federal funds to densify downtown around autonomous transit
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2018, 05:33:58 PM »
The couple robobus / PRT systems that's I'm aware of like the London Heathrow one, it's not just that they have a dedicated right of way. . But the whole environment they live in is limited.  There's not opportunity for people to jaywalk in front of the vehicles and such.

Vegas had a pilot do just this between November 2017 and October 2018. Here's a video:

https://youtu.be/sdovVDDOKqA

Lessons Learned PPT: https://dke1h7u1fiapd.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Slides.18-03-13-Keolis-MoM-Webinar-F1.pdf

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U.S. cities building on Las Vegas' success with autonomous buses

Last November, Las Vegas launched an autonomous bus route along a tourist-heavy stretch of Fremont Street, sponsored by AAA and using a Navya AV operated by Keolis Transit.

Why it matters: Cities across America are beginning to test driverless buses — including pilots in Austin and Detroit — but Las Vegas was the first to deploy them on public streets in mixed traffic, and its program is now the largest AV bus pilot in the U.S. Other than a first day snafu, when another truck ran into the AV, the service has run safely and without incident.

Show less
The details: The AV shuttle is a free service for Las Vegas visitors and residents that provides transit between the Downtown Container Park and the Fremont Street Experience. Passengers traverse eight city intersections, six traffic lights, and two stop signs — all without a driver, though the bus does host an onboard "attendant" who acts as an ambassador, educating riders on how the AV technology works.

Since launch, the service has transported more than 35,000 passengers, helping to test the acceptance of AVs in public transit. Early signs are positive: It has earned a passenger rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars for its driving, according to Francis Julien at Keolis Transit.

What to watch: The next step in the evolution of the service is to ensure infrastructure can support the evolving operational capabilities of the AV — especially as service expands to more and longer routes — and to make the bus more accessible to people with disabilities.
Article: https://www.axios.com/us-cities-building-on-las-vegas-success-with-autonomous-buses-ce6b3d43-c5a3-4b39-a47b-2abde77eec4c.html


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Now if JTA scales remakes the U2C - probably best to just brand it as phase one - with the dedicated right of way that's limited so to not interact with the surrounding environment, that has some potential.  I'm just not sure beyond the existing elevated structure where it's possible to create something that  keeps the rest of the environment from easily interacting with it ( aka, jaywalkers, cross streets, et al. ).

Dedicated right-of-way is more important for stimulating transit oriented development and providing transit with the added benefit of not getting stuck in traffic with regular cars, thus increasing its reliability for the transit user. Interaction with jaywalkers, cross streets, etc. is something people figured out over a century ago with horse carriages, bicycles, streetcars, trains and automobiles.

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Has JTA ever looked at just mothballing the Skyway?   Yes, there would be some costs involved.  But some of it has nearly been ran long enough.  And the operating costs aren't cheap, either.

Why? If money is concerned, it would make more sense to mothball the aging Mathews Bridge. :o
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