TBARTA is not only working to address the regional transit needs of today, but also for future generations. In 2019, the Florida Legislature appropriated $1 million dollars to TBARTA specifically for the study and development of future transit technologies. Later that year TBARTA took action on that mission, initiating a 12-month Innovative Transit Technologies Feasibility Study. The study will examine the technical, financial, and regulatory issues of three new transportation systems:
Hyperloop: An experimental form of transportation which involves a floating pod that travels inside a low-pressure tube. Because almost all the air is removed from the tube, friction is greatly reduced, and in theory, the pods can reach speeds of more than 700 miles per hour. The study will examine hyperloop’s potential across Florida.
Air taxis: An on-demand, point-to-point travel service between small regional and general aviation airports. The concept was first tested by NASA in 2001 as part of the Small Aircraft Transportation Systems (SATS) Initiative.
Arial Gondolas: This type of transportation is currently used most often in international urban areas, with two urban aerial operations in the U.S.: the Roosevelt Island Tramway in New York, and the Portland Aerial Tram in Oregon.
The TBARTA board authorized a $220,916 study to be conducted by WSP USA, Inc., with final reports due for completion by November 2020. The Innovative Transit Technologies Feasibility Study will examine the current state of each technology, future potential, route types, corridor profiles, travel demand, safety and environmental issues, and funding options, among other considerations.
Additional information on the study is posted below.
ITT Tech Memo #1
Technical Memo #1 is the study's literature review. It documents the current state of the technologies under study, locations where they now operate or are in testing, strengths and weaknesses, costs and infrastructure requirements.
ITT Tech Memo #2
Tech Memo #2 summarizes interviews from a cross section of developers and industry experts on aerial gondolas, air taxis, and hyperloop. This information was used to supplement data in Tech Memo #1, the literature review.