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:
MetroPlan Orlando: https://metroplanorlando.org/
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