Merriam Webster defines the word infrastructure as “the basic equipment and structures (such as roads and bridges) that are needed for a country, region, or organization to function properly.” Recent history has taught us that infrastructure is much more than that. People, data and relationships are also a critical part of our infrastructure.
The TPO is known for our experienced staff. Last year we lost two of our core employees to retirement, but gained a new upcoming leader with excellent skills and experience.
The 2021 Safe Streets Summit highlighted the need to focus on the needs of people versus vehicles by creating places that are safe and accessible for both the eight-year-old and 80-year-old across our transportation system. It also emphasized the need for equity in identifying and eliminating barriers.
Our studies focus on solving problems for the citizens and visitors in our region - making travel safer, easier and more accessible. While study outcomes may recommend construction of physical infrastructure, the study process requires data collection and analysis, as well as collaboration across agencies and with the public. For the first time, we had a study focus on an area vulnerable to flooding as the main threat.
Our two independent non-profit organizations continue to thrive. The North Florida Clean Fuels Coalition is working with fleets to convert to alternative fuels. Smart North Florida has a new executive director and has already partnered with municipalities on projects within the region and developed legislation for future funding.
I am proud of the infrastructure we have built with our employees, board, consultant teams and non-profits; study data and integrated data exchange; and most importantly our relationships with partner agencies, officials, businesses, start-ups and citizens across the region and beyond.
The North Florida TPO will continue to expand the definition of infrastructure and expand the impact we can make on our community.
Jacksonville City Council
Clay County Commission
Nassau County Ocean, Highway and Port Authority
Jacksonville Aviation Authority
Clay County Commission
Nassau County Commission
City of St. Augustine Commission
Jacksonville City Council Representative for Lenny Curry - Mayor, City of Jacksonville
City of Neptune Beach
Jacksonville City Council
Jacksonville Port Authority
St. Augustine/St. Johns Airport Authority
St. Johns County Commission
Baker County Commission
District 2 Secretary, Florida Dept. of Transportation
Two of our longtime team members retired this year - Denise Bunnewith and Wanda Forrest - and we welcomed a new planning director - Clark Letter.
Denise joined the City of Jacksonville Planning andDevelopment Dept. in 1988 and held varied positions of increasing responsibility including division chief for Transportation Planning and the MPO director. Denise led the effort for the MPO to become independent in 2003/2004
In addition to serving as a planner and project manager since joining the MPO in 1999, Wanda championed the Clean Fuels initiative from inception through coalition designation by the U.S. Dept. of Energy to coordinate over $5 million in clean fuels infrastructure investments before her retirement last summer.
He has experience in many facets of traffic operations, emerging technology and GIS. Clark has a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in civil/transportation engineering from the University of Florida where he was a research assistant professor.
Program Administration, Regional Coordination, Legislative and Policy Initiatives, Smart North Florida, Freight Mobility
Data Analytics, Emerging Technology, Long Range Transportation Plan, List of Priority Projects, Unified Planning Work Program
Regional Travel Demand Modeling, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Congestion Management Process
Clean Fuels Coordinator, Transportation Improvement Program, Bicycle/Pedestrian, Commuter Services
Accounting, Finance, Grants Management, Audits, Property and Inventory Management, Human Resources
Media, Communications and Marketing, Public Participation, Title VI
Office Management, Board, Technical and Citizens Advisory Committees, Board and Staff Support
Keynote Speaker Gil Penalosa, founder of 880 cities, explained the importance of creating cities that are safe, accessible and enjoyable for someone who is 8 years old and 80 years old. If the youngest and oldest can flourish in a city, everyone will be happy!
Core to Coast Safe Streets Projects
Equity Considerations in Creating Safe Streets
Studies completed in 2021 range from traffic mobility to resiliency to freight movement across the region. Click on the map pins to see the studies. The Anastasia Boulevard, Mayport Resiliency and JaxPort Origin-Destination studies are highlighted below.
The TPO team worked with the City of St. Augustine, Florida Department of Transportation and citizens to identify needs and solutions to address various problems along A1A on Anastasia Island. The corridor was divided into two segments - 1) Complete Streets and 2) Speed Design - to focus on the unique needs and challenges of each area.
These studies identified context sensitive and complete streets solutions to improve the safety and performance of Anastasia Boulevard for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. An interesting roundabout design is recommended at Red Cox Drive and A1A.
The Mayport Resiliency Assessment looks at flood hazards and potential roadway adaptation strategies. Flooding could come from hurricane storm surges, a 100-year flood or sea level rise. Storm surges and flooding recedes, but sea level rise is permanent. Recently, the rise has accelerated to about 1 inch every three years in Florida. Learn about options to address this challenge in Mayport.
This study used BlueTOAD/Bluetooth devices to track the movement of trucks/containers from the Jacksonville Port Authority’s (JAXPORT) terminals to intermodal rail facilities and other major attractors. As more BlueTOAD devices are deployed, the more we can leverage technology to reduce congestion, and improve mobility and safety. See where trucks are traveling to and from in the study findings.
The North Florida Clean Fuels Coalition passed its five-year anniversary! We received official USDOE designation in 2016 and will be renewing our designation this upcoming summer. In 2021, we continued outreach to understand which types of alternative fuels and vehicles are of interest to our stakeholders. Propane is appealing to fleet operators and we conducted a webinar explaining the process, benefits and challenges in fleet conversion.
The North Florida TPO and Clean Fuels Coalition support our First Coast Road Rangers and are excited that they have converted their vehicles to bi-fuel propane. Owner Marshall Adkison reported that the fuel costs savings are used to increase pay and provide medical insurance for employees. Watch the video to learn about the Road Rangers propane fleet conversion.
This funding will include the National Electric Vehicle Formula Program, which is established to provide states with $5 billion to strategically deploy EV charging infrastructure over five years.
The North Florida Clean Fuels Coalition tracks EV adoption progress on our dashboard at northfloridacleanfuels.com. The data includes EV registrations by county, make and model; gasoline gallon equivalent and greenhouse gas reduction; and resources to find electric vehicles and charging stations.
Born as a program of the North Florida TPO, Smart North Florida is now a standalone non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. Its mission is to improve the quality of life in our region through collaboration, data coordination and smart technologies. Executive Director Clayton Levins brings a wealth of experience in community relations, government affairs and innovation projects.
Serving as the innovation arm of the public sector, Smart North Florida continues to build out its data services and incorporate human services data to develop ladders of mobility and aid agencies in grant writing. SNF has also been active in economic development by identifying and matching start-ups with regional needs.
Recent projects include the creation of a Resiliency Lab with the City of Neptune Beach and the development of Smart Region legislation to direct funding from Enterprise Florida to regional centers for innovation. The bill is currently working its way through committees.