Face Off: Tampa’s Transportation Task Forces

Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas

4 min read September 2019 Whether it is Hillsborough, Pasco or Pinellas County, transportation issues seem to plague the entirety of this growing region. Mitigating these challenges requires innovative thinking and collaboration between the community, local government and both public and private organizations. Invest: Tampa Bay recently spoke with Beth Alden, executive director for the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization, and Whit Blanton, executive director of Forward Pinellas. These two organizations, whose primary focus is addressing the transportation and transit issues in the Tampa Bay region, discussed how they are gauging community needs in regards to these issues, facilitating better transit options and how they are turning dollars into solutions.

How do you gauge the community’s needs in regards to new transportation options?

Beth Alden: We have been engaging the public with an online survey, which is an interactive, gamified survey to ask folks about their priorities in regards to transportation. We received 5,200 responses, and it is amazing how many people are saying that they want a better rapid transit system. We have also discovered that they are very interested in reusing the freight rail tracks. That would require an agreement with CSX, which owns those tracks, but it’s a very underutilized asset. There’s no freight rail track between Downtown Tampa, the airport and the Westshore Business District, and it will take some extra steps to create that.

Whit Blanton: Our challenge in Pinellas County is that we are not growing like Pasco, Hillsborough, or Manatee County. We are expected to add about 90,000 people by the year 2045, which is a small fraction of what the other counties are expected to have. We have to plan and think differently. We have a situation here where the average new worker in Pinellas County is almost 50 years old, so we are not attracting young workers, except maybe in St. Petersburg, but most young people can’t afford to live there. Our strategy is really aimed at the future of our workforce, how do we draw talent and how do we retain this talent. We believe the solution is investing in housing and better mass transit services.

How are you facilitating better transit options?

Alden: In regards to transit, having some form of passenger rail system or rapid transit system would be one way we could do that. The important point with a rapid transit system is that we provide a way for it not to get stuck in traffic, so we need to provide some space for it to run and get out of traffic. We can do this with our bus system by providing special bypass lanes for buses where there is room on major roads. The walk and bicycle infrastructure is really important as well. People do not realize how many trips they make that are less than two miles long. If there are safe ways to walk or bicycle, then they do not necessarily have to be putting another car on the road to make that short trip. This also relates to our Vision Zero project, which is the vision of zero traffic deaths in Tampa Bay.

Blanton: ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) 2.0 is our plan for moving toward more intelligent transportation systems. Since the early 2000s, we’ve done a good job of implementing smart signals for moving traffic, responding to hot spots of congestion and facilitating traffic flow.  ITS 2.0 is intended to reimagine what the next phase of that investment is going to look like, which will focus more on real-time information and also ensuring the safety of bicycling and walking. Our advanced traffic management system has been focused on moving cars through intersections and keeping the flow going, but the next phase will include recognition of pedestrians at crosswalks. We also have an integrated transit fare payment system, called Flamingo Fares, that has been under development for a couple of years. That should go live in the next year. It will be a one-fare payment that can be used all over the region, whether someone is in Hillsborough or Pinellas County.

What specific plans are being implemented to move transportation development forward?

Alden: We will start with the essentials: resurfacing, safety and smart traffic signal projects. Almost half (the new Hillsborough transportation tax) is for transit, starting with expanding the bus service so it runs on evenings, weekends and often enough that you do not have to spend an hour waiting for a transfer. This is an amazing opportunity to implement the changes we have been planning for years. There are many more exciting projects in the pipeline. We finally have the resources to make the changes that the community wants to see in Tampa Bay.

Blanton: The Gateway District is our economic engine in Pinellas County. It is where the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport is located, and there are a significant number of manufacturing and office jobs in that area. The challenge is that it is a loose and segregated type of development that is in need of an update. The Gateway is in four different jurisdictions, so it can be hard to design a cohesive plan for that area. We asked all four local governments, Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg, Largo and Pinellas County, to contribute $100,000. Forward Pinellas then put in $100,000 and the Department of Transportation put in another $500,000. With all this funding, we were able to put together a million-dollar master plan that is about to be finished. It is a reimagining of how the Gateway will develop in the future and focus on sustainable development because a lot of the gateway is in a coastal, high hazard, flood-prone area where businesses and potential development are vulnerable. The plan addresses how we are looking at higher density development to support transit in that area because we need to get our workers between the counties.

 

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

http://forwardpinellas.org/

http://www.planhillsborough.org/

Spotlight On: Steven Abrams, Executive Director, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority/Tri-Rail

By Max Crampton-Thomas

 

2 min read August 2019 — Transportation is a hot topic issue throughout South Florida, and as the population in the region continues to grow so do the challenges. While the roads seemingly become more congested every week, there is a significant emphasis on using other forms of transit. For 30 years, Tri-Rail has been one of the leading alternative forms of transit for visitors and residents of South Florida alike. Invest: Greater Fort Lauderdale recently had the chance to sit down and speak with Steven Abrams, the Executive Director for the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, which is the governing body that operates and oversees Tri-Rail. Abrams discussed Tri-Rail’s longevity in the South Florida Community, how it is working in tandem with Virgin Trains USA (formerly Brightline), the ways in which it is using technology to improve operations and what is contributing to the steady uptick in ridership.

What has contributed to Tri-Rail’s longevity in the South Florida community? 

This year is Tri-Rail’s 30th anniversary. Tri-Rail started as a traffic mitigation project along I-95 while 95 was being widened, but it was supposed to be a stop-gap until the completion of the project. Thirty years later, it is still thriving. Over those 30 years, we have improved our service, added more trains, added weekend and holiday service and added connections to the area’s three airports. We are a transportation system that has become popular over time and we have embedded ourselves in the tri-county area.

How are you working with Virgin Trains USA to improve rail transportation in the community? 

We have a collaborative relationship with Brightline, and we anticipate that it will only be a benefit to both services. Brightline is geared more toward the tourism population, whereas Tri-Rail transports 15,000 riders a day to work and school. Our riders mainly consist of clerical workers, blue-collar workers, construction workers and students. It is a different market than Brightline, but we work very closely together and hope to be able to feed each other’s passengers into our system. We are far along on plans to enter Brightline’s downtown Miami station. The platform has been constructed, and we are just waiting on the approval for its Positive Train Control system. Positive Train Control is a safety system that was mandated by the federal government for all railroads in the country. Once Brightline’s system has been certified, we can apply to be a tenant on its system and continue our existing service and extend up to about half of our trains into downtown Miami. We are hopeful that this will occur in the near future.

How is Tri-Rail using new technology to improve operations and the safety of its passengers?

We are installing a Positive Train Control system that adds an extra level of safety on what is already a safe system. The National Safety Council did a survey and concluded that you are more likely to die of radiation or from a cataclysmic storm than you are being a passenger on a train. The Positive Train Control system is required by the federal government, and we anticipate that it will add that extra measure of safety in terms of avoiding oncoming collisions. If the train is going too fast, the system will automatically slow it down. We do not have many curves on our system, so this is probably more of a benefit for trains up north where there are hills and curves. Nonetheless, we will be able to stop the train should it exceed speed limits.

What factors are behind the steady increase in Tri-Rail’s ridership? 

There are three reasons and two are, in a way, related. South Florida is a tourist and service-related economy, and these individuals, like waiters or construction workers, cannot work from their homes. We have people coming from all over the world who are used to rail transportation in their countries, and they are feeding into our system. Our roads are also just becoming so congested. It used to be that our ridership would principally, and almost exclusively, fluctuate with gas prices, but now that  gas prices are stable and dropping, we still have people riding our system because ultimately it is the overabundance of cars on the road that are urging them to seek alternative transportation.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

 

https://www.tri-rail.com/

Spotlight On: David Gwynn, District Seven Secretary, Florida Department of Transportation

Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read July 2019 — Challenges with transportation, traffic and transit options are not new issues for the Tampa Bay region. As the area continues to make strides in its economic and population growth, there is a heightened emphasis on finding solutions. Invest: Tampa Bay recently sat down and discussed these issues with David Gwynn, District Seven Secretary for the Florida Department of Transportation. Gwynn spoke about how FDOT is working to mitigate these challenges, enact forward-thinking initiatives and his outlook for transportation in Tampa Bay for the next year.

What is the biggest initiative for Florida Department of Transportation in District 7? 

We have been working on a program called Tampa Bay Next. Over the last two and a half years, we have had hundreds of public meetings with big and small interest groups, elected officials and general members of the public, which we used to gather some great input. A key issue that we identified was transportation. Although we recognize that our interstate needs some work, there are other areas, like the downtown interchange, where infrastructural improvement would have a pretty massive impact on the surrounding neighborhoods. As a result, we are focusing on ways we can improve transit and intersections in those areas to help make them safer, while also not requiring a significant expansion of the highway footprint.

How are you working to mitigate the traffic issues in the region? 

We have come to the conclusion that simply widening and continuing to build more roads is not going to completely mitigate this issue. We have shifted our efforts to also look at multimodal solutions, like the streetcar system in downtown Tampa. Until last year, it was underutilized, but we recognized that this could be a good part of a transit system. The question was how to make it more attractive for people to start riding it. What we found was because there was not a lot of local money to fund it, it was only running from 11 in the morning until 8 at night. We were able to get a grant to allow the streetcar to run from 7 in the morning until 11 at night and on a more frequent basis. The ridership has since tripled, and that is important because we now have a strong case for the federal government to invest in expanding that streetcar system further out into Tampa Heights. If we can get federal funding, they will put 50% of the cost in, the locals put in 25%, and then our department covers the last 25%. 

What is the outlook for the transportation sector in Tampa Bay for the next year?

The passage of the sales tax in Hillsborough County was a big step forward because the local money allows us to do things with state and federal matching money. We will start to see an increased frequency of buses, better stations and more opportunities to expand the systems. On the highway side, we continue to build road and safety improvements. Four hundred of our signalized intersections that had the highest number of crashes are in the process of receiving new LED lighting that will illuminate these intersections at night much better than they have been. We are going to start the Howard Frankland Bridge project, and the Gateway Expressway will probably be completed in another two years. 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

https://www.fdot.gov/home

Spotlight on: Chad Dobbs, General Manager for Pennsylvania, Uber

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read JULY 2019 — Ride sharing is here to stay. Although the concept is not new, it has gained significant popularity over the last few years. According to Statista, a survey indicated that 36% of 11,000 participants in the U.S. used ride sharing services in 2018, an increase from 15% in 2015. Our ‘Spotlight on’ for this week, Uber’s general manager for Pennsylvania Chad Dobbs, shared with Invest: Philadelphia the latest highlights and growth areas for the company in the region. 

What were some highlights that Uber saw in the region during the past 12-18 months?

We rolled out Express POOL, which is a new version of Uber POOL. This new shared ride option allows passengers to get more affordable rides by taking a short walk to a spot along the route to meet their Uber, and joining other users with similar routes — which makes ridesharing more efficient. We also made significant progress on our wheelchair accessibility, through a partnership with MV Transportation, to get more wheelchair accessible vehicles on the road and massively improve the reliability of that service. Finally, we launched Uber Rewards in late 2018, which is a loyalty program for riders. Whether you’re using Uber as a rider or to get food you can accumulate points and unlock special features on the Uber app.

What are the main growth drivers for Uber in Philadelphia?

In Philadelphia and other similar-size cities, our fastest growth areas are typically outside of the core. We’re excited to bring portable options to places that are not traditionally served by public transportation, and need a quick, reliable and cheap alternative. Outside of our ride program, we’re expanding the Uber concept as a platform and joining other transportation modes. For example, we recently launched a transit planning pilot program in Denver with the local transit system. The biggest opportunity for growth is around this concept that Uber is a platform and a way to get from point A to point B, but not necessarily in the back of a car. That part of the business has grown substantially over 2018 and is continuing to grow.

What are you doing to grow and improve the driver side and experience in the city?

We’re sitting in our Greenlight Hub facility, which is a physical location where drivers can come to receive in-person support with the on-boarding process. It’s very important for us to make sure the drivers have the support they need. We have also launched a number of different tools over the last 18 months to improve the drivers’ experience. For example, we had our 180 Days of Change campaign to make substantial improvements to our product based on the feedback of our local and national drivers. 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Uber: https://www.uber.com/

Tampa’s Surging Growth Leads to Big Moves in Transportation

By staff writer

May 2019

Tampa’s growth from mid-2017 to mid-2018 propelled it into the top tier of the nation’s fastest-growing cities, according to figures released last month by the U.S. Census Bureau. Tampa had the nation’s ninth largest increase in population among all U.S. metro areas, and the highest level of net domestic migration in 2018, with 132,602 new arrivals from other parts of the U.S.

Along with Orlando, which came in at No. 5, Tampa leads the way in Florida, a state in which the population growth rate was the fourth highest in the United States between July 2017 and July 2018.

All of that growth leads to growing traffic and higher transportation needs. Solving the ground transportation needs isn’t just a concern for the residents of Tampa, as the effects are also felt at local well-known staples like the Tampa International Airport.  “From the standpoint of the airport, we see our passenger traffic doubling over the next 20 years,” said Joe Lopano, CEO for the Tampa International. “That means that the roadways have to be capable of taking our travelers to the beaches or museums or wherever else they want to go. At the present time, they aren’t capable of doing that, so we’re looking for solutions.”

Plans to expand Brightline’s high-speed rail to the city solves one piece of the solution, Lopano said, “but there’s no silver bullet. It’s going to be a combination of things, and the fact that Uber and Lyft exist has enabled rail to be a viable alternative. Ride sharing solves the first-mile, last-mile problem.”

The main question, of course, is how Tampa Bay will deal with the increased traffic. Beth Alden, the executive director for the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning for Transportation, said that local municipalities are heading in the right direction. After convincing the local public that there was a there was “a multi-billion dollar disconnect” between its current spending plans and the realities of the city’s growing transportation needs,  “last November, Hillsborough County’s voters approved a one-penny sales tax, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go toward transportation investments.” She said it was a watershed moment. “This sales tax will help us achieve our vision for the future of transportation.”

She said that besides building, expanding and fixing roads, the city is also working on improving transportation options for bicycles and pedestrians across the city, expanding pathways on and off barrier islands, and improving intersections. Improving access to alternative fuel sources and trolley systems are another priority.

“When you look at it from a regional standpoint, we’re the gateway to the west coast of Florida,” Lopano said. We have been able to increase our international travel by more than 125 percent since I started. That’s extremely important because every time we bring in a new international live body on a daily basis it generates $154 million in economic impact to our community. That’s critical.’

“Tourism in Florida is extremely important, and we want to be a part of its growth.”

For more information, visit:

Tampa International Airport  
Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning for Transportation

 

Atlanta’s Transit-Centric Growth

By Sean O’Toole

January 2019

Transit-oriented development (TOD) is gaining popularity across America. TOD seeks to promote more walkable communities by mixing housing, office, retail and recreation space and situating it all within a half-mile of public transportation. The benefits of this kind of development are swift and pronounced. More walkable neighborhoods can lead to healthier and more community-minded residents. TOD also helps with environmental conservation by increasing public transit ridership and reducing the number of cars on the road, which simultaneously reduces traffic congestion. That last benefit is especially attractive in cities like Atlanta with a history of bad traffic.

Since 2017, Atlanta has seen delivery of 1.1 million square feet of office space located within a half mile of a MARTA station. In addition, the multifamily market within a half mile of a MARTA station experienced 68 percent growth in inventory from 2008 to 2017, compared to 19 percent in Metro Atlanta not in proximity to MARTA. With TOD on the rise, Atlantans are seeing more housing options near public transportation, and MARTA is simultaneously building its user base.

“You see transit-oriented development from the influx of Midtown, Downtown and Buckhead areas that have stations,” Arnie Silverman, president of Silverman Construction Program Management, told Focus: Atlanta when he sat down with our team in 2018. “I recently spoke to a business owner who plans to move his office so it can be next to a MARTA station in order to attract millennials.”

MARTA’s first TOD project was the Lindbergh Station, a mixed-use marvel consisting of housing, retail space and public transportation amenities that was completed about 20 years ago. Today, MARTA seeks to expand the city’s TOD footprint with even more such projects that will change Atlanta for the better in numerous ways. For one, more TOD is likely to have a positive impact on fare revenue and new ridership, which is not only good for MARTA but will also help to alleviate congestion and carbon emissions throughout the metro area. In addition, MARTA has vowed to use its TOD projects to eliminate eyesores like abandoned parking lots by turning them into vibrant, mixed-use communities. This type of development will complement other community-oriented projects already underway in Atlanta, such as the BeltLine, which aim to make the city a more interwoven, walkable community.

“A great example of transit-centric growth is the State Farm development,” Jeff Parker, CEO and general manager of MARTA, told Focus:. “Then NCR relocated and wanted to be on a MARTA stop. We have a great opportunity to provide good connectivity between businesses that want to relocate or expand in a vibrant place like Atlanta and grow with the city.”

MARTA currently has six TOD projects in the works, and although all of them are still in the construction or planning phases, a few are nearing the completion of their first stages of development. These projects are the Chamblee Station, Avondale Station, Edgewood/Candler Park  Station, Arts Center Station, King Memorial Station and upgrades to Lindbergh Center Station. All of these stations will include an innovative mix of office, commercial, residential and green space and will further MARTA’s goal of upping ridership while lowering congestion.

In October 2018, Invest Atlanta announced the launch of the city’s first-ever TOD fund — at a total of $15 million — designed to provide affordable capital to support the acquisition and pre-development of workforce housing near MARTA stations and other modes of public transit. Nearly 70 percent of Metro Atlanta’s residents commute to a different county for work every day, and reducing both travel time and cost could save these commuters close to $1,000 annually.

“If we want to make the biggest impact on people’s lives,” Eloisa Klementich, CEO of Invest Atlanta, told Focus:, “we need to lower their costs of transportation and housing. We are investing in transit-oriented development opportunities with the goal of increasing people’s ability to live in this beautiful city.”

With cities like College Park considering transit-oriented zoning and MARTA’s board of directors recently giving the greenlight to a more than $2.5 billion transit expansion, we’re sure to see more TOD projects cropping up across the metro area in 2019 and beyond. Focus: Atlanta will be keeping a close eye on the developments!

For more information on our interviewees, visit their websites:

Silverman Construction Program Management: https://silvermancpm.com/

MARTA: https://www.itsmarta.com/

Invest Atlanta: https://www.investatlanta.com/

 

 

Port Everglades Sails into a Promising New Year

By staff writer

January 2019

Last year was, arguably, the most dynamic and prosperous year that Port Everglades has ever seen, and the port’s status as a catalyst for Broward’s economy is showing no signs of slowing down. Its growth and development is gaining international attention and generating thousands of jobs for the area.

“Today, Port Everglades is directly responsible for 13,185 jobs and produces over $1 billion in state and local taxes annually,” said Port Everglades Chief Executive and Port Director Steven Cernak in conversation with Invest: Greater Fort Lauderdale. “For us, it’s all about economic impact. That’s the benefit we provide to the community: jobs and economic activity.”

The port attracted 3.87 million passengers in fiscal year 2018, according to its annual report, and this number is bound to increase moving forward.

In the 2019 winter season the port will welcome 10 new Holland America cruise ships, the first of which — Nieuw Statendam debuted at the port in December after sailing from Civitavecchia, Italy. With a capacity of 2,666 cruisers, the ship alone is expected to garner over 102,000 passengers and generate around $1.8 million in revenue.

The influx of Holland America ships to the port comes on the heels of the port’s recent addition of a Celebrity Cruises’ Terminal 25. The facility represents the largest investment ever made by the port, costing around $120 million to build, and will accommodate several Celebrity ships throughout the winter season.

In addition to driving tourism for the area, the port has also blossomed in terms of its cargo capacity, and it has implemented a five-year expansion plan that will entail nearly $1 billion in improvements to the port’s infrastructure to further increase its cargo volumes. This should prove to be a worthwhile investment, as the port experienced a 2 percent increase in bulk and breakbulk cargo tonnage in fiscal year 2018.

When Invest: Greater Fort Lauderdale spoke with Craig Mygatt, CEO of Sealand, he highlighted the port’s advantages for transporting goods to and from Latin America, stating that the port’s strength “lies with the north-south routes, especially for perishable and agricultural goods, because the port is good at moving freight through the system quickly.”

As the number one port in Florida in terms of revenue, Port Everglades has successfully positioned itself as an international and economic hub for South Florida. Thanks to its strategic investments and expansions, 2019 is sure to be another banner year for the port.

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit their websites:

Port Everglades: http://www.porteverglades.net/

Sealand: https://www.sealandmaersk.com/

The Reliability of Natural Gas

By staff writer

January 2019

With the American public concerned about the future of its energy and power source, natural gas remains an immediately viable option. Both domestically and internationally, natural gas is known for being an accessible, reliable and resilient supply network.

The infrastructure for natural gas offers dependable and diverse options. Providers are able to supply gas through pipelines or by shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG), as well as other methods, with few technological limitations. For these reasons, natural gas remains one of the more viable energy sources available today.

What’s more, natural gas also happens to be among the precious few commodities in life that have actually gone down in price. Due to the large supply available, natural gas has been decreasing in price for many years now.

“We have over a 100-year supply of natural gas,” Carolyn Bermudez, vice president and general manager at Florida City Gas, told Invest: Miami when she sat down with our team in early December. “We’re seeing some of the lowest prices for natural gas that we’ve ever seen, and because of that, natural gas is being used more now by electric utilities as their fuel source to produce electricity. With supply and demand as high as they currently are, we remain optimistic about the price remaining consistently low.”

Florida City Gas, which joined the NextEra Energy family in July 2018, is one of the largest providers of natural gas in the market. “In the past year, we converted nearly 100 of Miami-Dade Transit’s bus fleet to compressed natural gas (CNG) with more to come in the following years,” Bermudez said.

In addition to improving and investing in infrastructure, Bermudez says that Florida City Gas will continue to focus on prudent and effective cost management: “As Miami-Dade’s communities continue to grow and demand for natural gas service increases, Florida City Gas must meet our commitments to deliver clean, safe, reliable and affordable natural gas to our customers.”

With a new year beginning, many South Florida residents are considering switching to natural gas to power their lives. Florida City Gas is currently offering substantial rebates for residential and commercial customers who switch to natural gas or replace old natural gas appliances.

For more information on our interviewee and FCG’s rebates, visit: https://www.floridacitygas.com/

 

Tech-Forward Transportation

By staff writer

January 2019 — 2 min. read

Technology has had a significant impact on Orlando’s transportation sector. Various transportation companies have taken important steps towards innovative projects to improve passenger experience and service efficiency. For instance, a group of agencies are developing and testing several smart transportation technologies in the Creative Village complex throughout 2018 and 2019 to enhance pedestrian safety and ease congestion. Creative Village, located in Downtown Orlando, is a mixed-use, transit-oriented, urban infill neighborhood that will be home to the UCF/Valencia Downtown Campus in 2019.

The transit programs will be developed by the Florida Department of Transportation, MetroPlan Orlando and the University of Central Florida (UCF) as a result of a $12 million grant awarded by the Federal Highway Administration. The grant will focus on four major technologies: PedSafe, a pedestrian and bicycle collision avoidance system that digitally connects people, vehicles and traffic lights; GreenWay, which uses traffic signal technology and sensors to help the transportation system adapt to real-time traffic conditions; SmartCommunity, for trip-planning apps; and SunStore, which integrates FDOT data. Operation and maintenance of these projects are expected to continue through 2021.

In addition to group efforts and partnerships, many transit companies are implementing innovative solutions to combat mounting traffic and adjust to the needs of modern passengers. One example of these efforts are the changes made by LYNX, a bus system run by the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority.

LYNX launched four mobile applications in 2018. “One of them is our LYNX Bus Tracker, a real-time mobile application that allows passengers to track the bus they are waiting to get on,” Edward L. Johnson, CEO of LYNX, told Invest: Orlando when he sat down with our team in early December. “We also developed NeighborLink, a mobile application for our door-to-door bus services for areas with less passenger flow. The technology is similar to Uber and Lyft applications.”

LYNX has also launched the application “See Something/Say Something,” which allows customers to discreetly send a notification to the company’s security offices if something improper is happening in one of its vehicles. LYNX plans to merge the mobile applications in 2019. It is worth noting that LYNX accommodates an average of 90,000 passenger trips daily over an area with a resident population of more than 1.8 million.

Companies like MetroPlan Orlando have reinvented the traditional way of adjusting to the influence of technology. “We are getting ready to update our strategic plan, and we are about to kick off the update of our long-range transportation plan,” Gary Huttmann, MetroPlan’s executive director, told Invest:. “This plan will be different from any other we have seen because of the influence of technology on the work that we do and how we address that looking into the future.”

Among the most anticipated innovative transit projects in Orlando is the arrival of Brightline, with construction set to begin in 2019. This massive project will allow passengers to travel from Orlando to Miami in three hours. Brightline is also in negotiations to add rail service from Orlando to Tampa, which might include stops near Disney World and Lakeland.

This advances in technology and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) are expected to reduce mounting traffic and road accidents and bring safer solutions to bikers and pedestrians. As outlined in the Harvard Business Report, McKinsey and Bloomberg New Energy Finance have estimated that in 50 metropolitan areas worldwide, a rapid transition to advanced mobility systems could yield $600 billion in societal benefits through 2030. You can bet that everyone here at Invest: will be keeping a keen eye on the tech-forward transit projects underway in Orlando.

For more information on our interviewees, visit their websites:

Lynx: https://www.golynx.com/

MetroPlan Orlando: https://metroplanorlando.org/

For more information contact:
Jaime Muehl
Managing Editor
contact@capitalaa.com
TEL: 305-523-9708, ext. 230