JTA is transforming downtown mobility with the Ultimate Urban Circulator.

For nearly 30 years, the Skyway has transported Jacksonville's commuters throughout the urban core. However, emerging technology and the evolving needs of Jacksonville's downtown development present a unique opportunity to reevaluate existing infrastructure and provide greater connectivity, mobility, and sustained economic growth.

Jacksonville City skyline

This can be achieved by utilizing investment in the existing elevated Skyway, expanding the area it serves, and employing autonomous transit technology. U2can cost-effectively reach beyond the current system to serve existing and planned downtown development. The U2 will provide:

  • High frequency service and accessibility
  • Service flexibility
  • Extensions that can serve at both elevated and street levels

The U2concept takes full advantage of the existing Skyway assets and fully integrates advancing technologies. Implementing this bold but necessary vision to enhance the transportation system will entail successful agency partnerships, community buy-in and essential financial resources. While JTA continues coordination with federal, state and local agencies to evaluate funding, right-of-way requirements, environmental compliance and modifications to the street conditions; the following actions will be taken:

  • Continue community outreach to gain strong support for the project
  • Maintain existing Skyway vehicles until a future vehicle is defined
  • Identify the preferred vehicle and future operating system
  • Develop a plan to convert the existing monorail structure for the new vehicle
  • Develop an autonomous vehicle demonstration project
  • Prepare a project phasing plan to coordinate the design and construction of the system extensions

How We Got Here

Beginning in August 2014, a study was initiated to assess the condition of the Skyway vehicles, operating system and infrastructure; and subsequently, develop options to address the needs of the Skyway in preparation for the mid-life overhaul of the vehicles. The Skyway Technology Assessment identified various needs for the infrastructure, operating system and vehicles.

Technology Assessment

The most significant issues facing the Skyway involve the condition of the vehicles and the ability to overhaul them to extend their service life. Because of concerns about the ability to overhaul the vehicles, the assessment also explored various technologies and modes to determine if any were suitable as replacements for the current technology. The assessment also involved a formal Request for Industry Feedback (RFIF) to gauge interest and feasibility of the following three options:

  • Overhaul of Vehicles
  • Like-kind replacement of Skyway vehicles
  • Replacement with new vehicles allowing for minor modifications to the guideway infrastructure

Skyway Advisory Group

Following the Skyway Technology Assessment, technology research and industry feedback, the JTA Board of Directors established a Skyway Subcommittee and Skyway Advisory Group to assist with the decisions regarding the future of the Skyway. The Subcommittee and Advisory Group were created to gain essential stakeholder input and develop policy recommendations for the future of the Skyway.

Skyway riding through downtown Jacksonville

Based on technical analysis, consensus policy statements and public input; formal recommendations were presented to the JTA Skyway Committee and JTA Board of Directors to consider at the December 2015 Board meeting. The JTA Board of Directors adopted a resolution (Resolution 2015-30) supporting the continued operation of the Automated Skyway Express and development of a Skyway Modernization Program. The desired policy path forward is to Keep, Modernize, and Expand the Skyway.