Blueprint for Transformative Excellence Initiatives

The updated BTE includes a revamped list of Transformative Initiatives. In this update, five program areas have been identified along with specific initiatives in those program areas. Each year, milestones will be developed to advance and track these efforts. Also, as the plan is implemented, additional Transformational Initiatives may be added to the plan but the Program Areas will remain constant until there is a comprehensive update of the BTE.

The Program Areas and associated Transformative Initiatives are shown in the chart below and explained in the narrative that follows.

Regional Transportation
  • Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center
  • Regional Transit Network
Technology and Innovation
  • U2C-Skyway Modernization and Expansion
  • Alternative and Innovative Service Delivery
  • Strategic Technology Plan
Transit System Enhancement
  • First Coast Flyer Bus Rapid Transit
  • Joint Use and Transit Oriented Development
Transportation Infrastructure
  • JTAMobilityWorks
  • Customer Amenities
Organizational Development
  • Workforce of Tomorrow

Previously, the Blueprint for Transportation Excellence established a series of strategic initiatives referred to as Blueprint 2020, a subset of the BTE that could be accomplished by the year 2020. With this update, Blueprint 2020 projects have been incorporated into the Transformative Initiatives section which is the foundational element of the BTE.

In order to remain relevant and respond to the constantly changing transportation marketplace, JTA evaluates international, national, and local transportation trends. The transportation industry has seen an industry-wide decline in bus ridership. This is forcing transportation agencies to face a critical juncture in delivery models. The solutions are not always obvious as the problems are profound. As JTA progresses and accepts that technology provides an array of options for the way services are delivered, we will continue to make great strides in accomplishing our Transformative Initiatives and Implementation Strategies as outlined in the BTE.

As local bus service still remains the mainstay of JTA’s assemblage of transit options available to the public, we are committed to maintaining a high level of service delivery. JTA links people to communities and provides access to jobs and necessary services. As we continue to discuss the changing transportation environment and disruptive technologies, it is in the context of providing outstanding services to our customer and our community. Therefore, as JTA evaluates current trends in the changing transportation marketplace, a review of the Authority’s significant accomplishments provides the backdrop for the next iteration of JTA’s significant Transformative Initiatives.

Major Accomplishments 

Each fiscal year, JTA reflects back over the previous year’s accomplishments and celebrate major successes. In addition, we identify challenges, mitigate for changes and allocate funding to move the Authority’s Transformative Initiatives and Implementation Strategies forward.

On-Time Transit Operations (OTTO) campaign was initiated to analyze bus efficiency of on-time service without compromising safety. Focus was placed on key routes to assess performance challenges and develop solutions. Strategies focused on improving service reliability and performance levels improved from 65.8 percent in May 2013 to 76.5 percent by July 2014. JTA continues to enhance service reliability and regularly achieves 80 percent on-time performance.

JTA efforts to enhance regional collaboration resulted in the establishment of the Northeast Florida Regional Transportation Commission (RTC). Staff supported the RTC in development of the Regional Multimodal Transportation Plan and the Regional Transit Action Plan. JTA also partnered with Clay County to build the Black Creek Park-n-Ride and established the Clay Express providing service from the new facility to Downtown Jacksonville. JTA opened the Baldwin Park-n-Ride supporting the Wildcat Shuttle service from Macclenny to Jacksonville. JTA staff also has provided critical support to transit studies in Nassau and the Clay Counties.

JTA launched Firefly, an innovative Oracle-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system which upgraded the JTA legacy system infrastructure. The transition to the Firefly system streamlined processes that allows JTA to use workflow automation for increased productivity. It fostered collaboration between departments by centralizing data storage.

JTA redesigned the 30-year-old Fixed Route Bus system to better serve existing customers and attract new customers through the Route Optimization Initiative (ROI). This optimized transit routes to make them more frequent and direct. The number of routes with 30-minute frequency increased from two to 20 and the changes created 10 routes with 15-minute frequency. ROI expanded service on evening and weekends to better service the needs of the Jacksonville workforce. The changes also enhanced the way the JTA supervises routes, evaluates performance and ensures safety and security on the system.

At the same time JTA launched ROI, Real-Time Passenger Information was deployed system-wide in partnership with Nextbus. The system predicts vehicle arrival time by accounting for the actual position of the buses, intended stops, and typical traffic patterns, which in turn estimates vehicle arrivals with a high degree of accuracy. Customers continue to benefit as schedule information can be accessed via smartphones and computers instead of printed schedules. The system also improves service management by providing continuous, real-time schedule adherence and on-time performance information to bus operators, field supervisors and dispatchers.

The Skyway Technology Assessment began to determine the current condition of the Skyway and available technology for the future. In 2015, a Skyway Board of Directors Subcommittee was established and a Skyway Advisory Group consisting of key stakeholders was formed to review the findings of the assessment and provide policy guidance on the path forward for the future of the system. As a result, in December 2015 the JTA Board approved Resolution 2015-30 to “Keep, Modernize and Expand” the Skyway.

The Jacksonville City Council approved the extension of the LOGT allowing JTA to issue $100.5 million in revenue bonds to support the JTAMobilityWorks Road Program. The Program will fund improvements on 13 road projects and 14 mobility corridors. Some of the projects, such as the St. Augustine Road/Greenland Road Intersection project and Soutel Transit Hub, are complete. Girvin Road and Collins Road are under construction, transit enhancements on mobility corridors are substantially complete and a design-build contract has been awarded for Kernan Boulevard. All projects will be under design by the end of 2017.

JTA assumed operations of the St. Johns River Ferry. Since acquiring the Ferry as part of JTA’s overall Transit System, JTA has seen a steady rise in ridership due to improved management and facility upgrades. Major improvements to the Ferry include vessel overhaul, replacement of slip walls, terminal bridges and seawall. In addition, site renovations included new fencing around the fuel tanks, painting of signage and buildings, removal of obsolete structures, upgraded restroom facilities, and pedestrian access to boarding area.

Major facility upgrades were completed under the Campus Master Plan converting the Myrtle Avenue Complex to an operations campus that will accommodate growth of the transit fleet to meet community demands. The plan included relocating JTA’s Connexion paratransit service, administration offices, Scheduling, Dispatch and Eligibility Testing to Myrtle Avenue. Operations and Maintenance facilities were upgraded and bus parking was expanded to accommodate the FCF buses. JTA Administrative Offices were moved downtown to 121 W. Forsyth Street. The Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) initiative was an important consideration for repurposing the Myrtle Avenue Campus. JTA is transitioning its fleet to alternative fuels and will include approximately 62 CNG buses by the end of Fiscal Year 2017. This conversion included, through a public-private partnership (P3), a fueling station with public access. The P3 allowed for immediate operational savings and no outlay of JTA capital funds and JTA is seeing a strong return on investment.

JTA developed the Skyway Modernization Program, which officially became the U2C Program. The U2C Program proposes to replace current vehicles with next generation autonomous transit shuttles and expand the system to connect with existing and emerging developments, nearby neighborhoods and the Sports and Entertainment Complex. In February 2017, the JTA Board of Directors approved the U2C Program and authorized staff to enter development of project elements.

The First Coast Flyer (FCF) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system operates on the North Corridor Green Line (launched in December 2015) and the South Corridor Blue Line (launched in December 2016). The Flyer corridors are connected by Downtown Transit Enhancements. The East Corridor Red Line is fully funded and planned to begin service in December 2018. JTA continues to pursue Federal Transit Administration (FTA) New Starts funding for the Southwest Purple Line. The FCF BRT vehicles are fueled by CNG, travel with increased frequency and limited stops, operate on corridors with transit signal priority and include free Wi-Fi. Station areas provide real-time passenger information and downtown stations have ticket vending machines. When complete, the FCF will be 57 miles making it the largest BRT system in the Southeast United States.

JTA began construction on the intercity bus terminal phase of the JRTC. The JRTC will be a state-of-the-art transportation hub that will connect local, regional and intercity modes of transportation, including the FCF BRT system, Fixed Route buses, the Skyway/U²C, Greyhound and other intercity carriers, and future Amtrak and Commuter Rail Stations. It will accommodate shared mobility options (e.g. car-share, bike- share, ride-share, ride source and taxis). It will also house the JTA administrative offices.