Florida city seeks agile solution to mass-transit dilemma
Updated: Aug 1, 2022
Bloomberg news wanted to profile a traditional mass transit infrastructure that was being modernized with new technology, they traveled to Jacksonville Florida to see the Skyway monorail system. Matthew Chang sat down for an interview on one of the autonomous vehicles Jacksonville is planning to implement.
Jacksonville, FL was on the cutting edge of new technology in the 1970’s when they started construction for the monorail system. There were high hopes and expectations that this would become the transit for commuters from the beaches to downtown. In reality, only 10% of initial projections ever used the monorail system. Jacksonville now pays $6.5 million annually for a transit system that about 5,000 people use daily (Bloomberg para. 3).
JTA plans to implement a much more efficient and high tech mass transit system: robots. Autonomous vehicles are the future of transportation and Jacksonville is yet again on the cutting edge of this technology. These vehicles are being tested and eventually will be able to replace the monorail system and, hopefully, fulfill the task that the monorail system never could: take people where they need to be in an efficient and timely manner. Mathew Chang, JTA’s program administrator for the projects says, “The basic idea is that we’re putting multiple types of autonomous technologies to the test and, at the same time, getting the public on board.” (Bloomberg para.18) Jacksonville stands a chance to be the first successful city in implementing these autonomous vehicles as the transit system for the city. Will they succeed and make history? Or will the robots be another monorail gone wrong?