Jacksonville Autonomous Vehicles and Shared Mobility Planning

Jacksonville at Night

Jacksonville Autonomous Vehicles and Shared Mobility Planning

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority is in the process of modernizing its transit system. The agency plans to implement emerging autonomous and connected vehicle (AV/CV) technologies that support better access to mobility options for Jacksonville residents. We are helping the agency conduct preliminary planning efforts to account for the challenges, and to maximize the benefits these technologies make possible.

Transportation Technology Workshop

 To clarify its own technology vision and better understand the transportation needs of the community, JTA enlisted HDR’s transportation technology and infrastructure expertise. We organized an autonomous-vehicles-and-shared-mobility workshop, whose participants included local, regional and state-level stakeholders. 

During the workshop, we explored several high-level scenarios, which allowed us to glimpse potential impacts from autonomous transit vehicles such as buses and shuttles. We looked at scenarios involving autonomous personal vehicles, and the adoption of AV/CV by ride-sharing companies that use ride-hailing mobile apps as well as car-sharing services. 

And we looked at each scenario through several lenses: the speed or slowness with which technology will be adopted; and how the technology will impact transit end users — for instance, how can it help make first-mile/last-mile connections? Our workshop gave stakeholders an opportunity to collectively evaluate the role of public agencies in implementing AV/CV technology. 

Divided into workgroups, participants concluded the workshop by outlining potential pilot projects in Jacksonville. During all discussions, the need for public understanding and buy-in proved a recurring theme.

 AV/CV Pilot Project: Concept of Operations and 10 Percent Design

Conclusions reached during that workshop ultimately informed JTA’s decision to launch an autonomous microtransit pilot project. We are helping JTA move that project from vision to action by developing a concept of operations (ConOps) and 10 percent design.

“A ConOps is an effective tool for making the vision actionable,” our AV/CV Project Manager Eric Plapper said. “Like the systems engineering lifecycle as a whole, a ConOps should be iterative while maintaining tight production schedules and respecting the time of agency staff.” 

Our final ConOps will effectively define a schema for JTA’s pilot project. It will describe realistic scenarios for autonomous microtransit vehicles operating in a dedicated lane. Our scenarios will describe the interplay between vehicles, infrastructure and the JTA operations center. In addition to AV technology onboard microtransit vehicles, our proposed concept includes CV technology, and it uses closed circuit television monitoring to enhance situational awareness.

HDR is also developing a 10 percent design for the pilot project, which will allow JTA to phase implementation guided by the ConOps. It will be flexible enough that the agency can adapt from lessons learned during the early stages of deployment.

Jacksonville at Night
Jacksonville Transportation Authority

Jacksonville, FL
United States