- City: Norfolk, VA
- Technology: Light Rail (Siemens S70)
- Year Completed: August 19, 2011
- Length: 7.4 miles
- Construction Costs: $318.5 million
- Construction Costs per mile: $43 million
JTA U2C Skyway Conversion
City: Jacksonville, FL Technology: Autonomous Shuttle Buses (TBD) Year Completed: TBD Length: 8.5 miles* Construction Costs: $423 million Construction Costs per mile: $50 million
*The Bay Street Extension is mentioned as being +3 miles in length. However the distance between the Skyway’s Central Station and TIAA Bank Field is 1.65 miles. This reduces the overall proposed U2C system length from 10.2 miles to 8.5 miles.
- City: Detroit, MI
- Technology: Modern Streetcar (Brooksville Liberty)
- Year Completed: May 12, 2017
- Length: 3.4 miles
- Construction Costs: $187 million
- Construction Costs per mile: $55 million
*The Q-Line was completed for slightly more than the U2C’s current estimate. However, this project was included because the author expects the cost of the U2C to continue to rise as solutions are found to the challenges facing autonomous vehicles in the future.
While the use of autonomous vehicles to expand and modernize the Skyway was initially promoted as an affordable solution, as proposed, the project is now just expensive as proven light rail, heritage streetcar, modern streetcar and bus rapid transit systems with dedicated lanes. When will we reach the point where the cost to the taxpayer outweighs the investment for continued research and development funding of an unproven technology? When that day finally arrives, Jacksonville should take confidence in knowing that there are cost effective alternatives worth considering for the greater good of the community.
Editorial by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at email@example.com