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.
This can be achieved by utilizing investment in the existing elevated Skyway, expanding the area it serves, and employing autonomous transit technology. U2C can cost-effectively reach beyond the current system to serve existing and planned downtown development. The U2C will provide:
The U2C concept 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:
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.
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:
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.
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.