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The future of transportation in Florida

Question: What Do You See in the Future for Transportation?

Phillip Brown
Executive director
Orlando International Airport

“I see the ability eventually to come right through an airport and not handle a piece of paper. You’re going to be able to tag your own bag.

You’re going to see, particularly in Orlando, a wider culture, a more diverse culture. You’re seeing that now with the announcement of the Emirates service to Dubai. Dubai is the largest international hub in the world. It surpassed Heathrow. They’re going to start daily service on Sept. 1. They’re going to start with a 777. They have the largest fleet of Airbus 380s. You open up the whole world for Orlando. There are going to have to be cultural amenities that people in that region of the world are used to. You’re going to have multiple languages both in the audio system and more dynamic signage that’s going to have different languages that will help people find their way through the airport. You’re going to see a much more robust airtraffic control system, which will use GPS rather than radar. It will be much more efficient, and efficiency has a way of increasing capacity.”

Richard Biter
Assistant secretary, intermodal systems development
Florida Department of Transportation

“We have been involved for a number of years in what we call ITS, intelligent transportation systems.

The focus of that effort is vehicleto- infrastructure connectivity. This is where your vehicle, through this broadband connection, can interact directly with infrastructure, everything from signage to connecting to smart intersections. Your car will know when that light is going to turn yellow and be able to speed up, slow down or stop depending on its capabilities. We are at the beginning of a technology tsunami that’s coming at us.

Our vision in Florida is to have an infrastructure that is fatality-free and congestion-free. Automated vehicles, as they get rolled out, will be a real-world solution to that problem. One of the leading causes of accidents is distracted driving. What this technology does is able to address that.

Right now our standard width of a lane is 12 feet, but if we are able to have virtual glide paths using this advanced technology so that cars and trucks will literally operate within 6 inches of where they need to be in the center of that lane, can we get by with 10-foot lanes? Can we have separate facilities for them to operate on so we can turn that four-lane expressway to a six-lane strictly by restriping?

Do you need huge parking areas at the shopping mall? You can drive up and send your car home. Same at work. Think about the implications. How will autonomous vehicles be able to increase mobility for people as they age?”

Stephen Reich
Program director / Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida

“The autonomous thing is coming faster than a lot of us who are watching it realize — maybe not the totally autonomous Google car. But the potential for capacity gains and safety gains and fuel efficiency gains from the technologies that are already being developed could be pretty impactful stuff.

Every incremental piece of (road) capacity you try to build is more expensive than the first. For decades the focus was on the supply of capacity. You’re seeing more and more focus on trying to manage the demand. Using pricing as a mechanism to manage demand on an existing system will continue.

One of the things we all need to be cautious of is just assuming the pace of growth in traffic and congestion is going to continue. I just don’t think it will. In the recession, we actually saw a decline in vehicle-miles traveled. I’d never seen that before in 30 years.”

Tim Robertson
Vice president of marketing and sales
DHL Global Forwarding

“We’re investing in the life sciences and pharmaceuticals businesses.

We have a state-of-the-art cold storage facility that is called our Thermonet product. This supports the life sciences and pharmaceuticals businesses in moving their products between Europe and North America and between North America and Latin and South America. The market here was focused on perishable products — a lot of fish and flowers moving from South to North America. There hasn’t been too much going south. This is a great opportunity to fill those DHL planes going south with pharmaceutical products.

We see a huge trend in the Florida universities investing in and developing logistics and supply chain programs.”

Jim Wood
State transportation development administrator
Florida Department of Transportation

“We want to think large scale and horizons that are out to as much as 50 years. We’ve identified five general study areas in the state.

One of the real challenges of the Tampa to northeast region is what we already know to be problems with I-75 from Wildwood to north of Gainesville. We have crash rates along that portion of I-75 that we would see in our urban areas. One of the things we’re looking at for Tampa to north Florida is how can a long-term solution serve as a reliever corridor particularly from that? We will look at some type of implementation of managed and express toll lanes on I-75. We would be considering a parallel corridor. There will be multiple years of getting the public consensus and public input. It’s going to help all of Florida transportation because it’s such a key corridor for transportation.”

Shani Atapattu
Vice president
Overseas Cargo

“We predominantly export today to the islands and Latin America. With the expansion of the Panama Canal and with what Miami’s been doing for the logistics hub, I’m hoping we’ll have the back haul. We surpassed the population of New York. With that influx of people, we’ll be absorbing a lot of those imports.”

Emilio González
Director / Miami-Dade Aviation Department
Miami International Airport

“We’re in the process of building out more gates to accommodate the A380. There are some airports without A380 gates. O’Hare has no A380 gates. We’re going to keep in mind that all the construction and new gates we build are going to be compatible with whatever wide bodies are in the market. We’re a hub to Latin America. I want to be a global hub. We had eight new international carriers last year from very non-traditional places like Finland and Qatar. That aircraft (non-stop, from Doha, Qatar) comes here — it’s packed. They’re doing so well we’re going to have a daily by the end of the year. I was in Taiwan talking to two Asian carriers about non-stop service from Taipei to Miami.”

Ken Armstrong
President / CEO
Florida Trucking Association

“Clearly there are going to be more toll roads whether they are entire roads or whether they are what are called managed lanes.

Pelotoning, or platooning it is sometimes called, is a series of trucks moving simultaneously. It’s already happening in Europe. The front truck is moving down the highway and you have several others in configuration (through technology) following immediately behind it. When the first truck speeds up, brakes, takes off at the exit, it is communicating with all the other trucks. All the other trucks move in formation with it. There are manpower reasons (for it), there are absolutely fuel efficiency reasons and the flow of traffic is significantly improved.”

Doug Wheeler
President / CEO
Florida Ports Council

“There doesn’t appear to be any shift away from the trend toward larger vessels. That includes cargo and cruise.

Natural gas will become a big commodity as it relates to the ports. Most of that will be export.”