There is an incredible near-future vision for transportation on Bay Street.
Self-driving public shuttles will roam up and down the corridor. Street lights will brighten for passersby and then dim to save energy. Stoplights will dynamically adjust to traffic conditions. If a sensor on a light pole detects shots fired, a camera tethered to police dispatch will switch on to capture the event.
It all seemed Jetsons until last year, when the Bay Street Innovation Corridor got its first capital infusion — half of a $25 million federal grant paired with state and local matches. That money sent the Jacksonville Transportation Authority shopping for a fleet of autonomous vehicles for Bay Street.
The Innovation Corridor is not just a collection of tech gadgets, though. It’s a more fundamental shift to a city that runs smarter and leaner by plugging its assets into the Internet of Things.