Wanted: Your transportation ideas for the future

Jesse Hollett
Posted 10/11/17

ORANGE PARK — The North Florida Transportation Planning Organization is giving every Northeast Florida resident the chance to shape future transportation projects simply by journaling.

The TPO …

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Wanted: Your transportation ideas for the future

Posted

ORANGE PARK — The North Florida Transportation Planning Organization is giving every Northeast Florida resident the chance to shape future transportation projects simply by journaling.

The TPO and the Florida Department of Transportation are sponsoring a survey to get a better grasp of when, where and how people travel. The goal is to get a better picture of travel patterns of motorists in Clay, Baker, Nassau, Putnam, Duval and St. Johns Counties.

Residents who sign up will record the transportation habits of their entire household for a day.

The survey should be taken by a household that is willing to commit to the time of the survey and record accurate answers.

Residents who participate will contribute data that, once aggregated, will give FDOT and the TPO a look at how residents travel, where they go, how long it takes and what residents do when they arrive.

“This is really that very, very first step,” said Jeff Sheffield, TPO executive director. “So, this is that input that begins to develop sort of that long term big picture for the region, and as projects begin to come out of that progress, then you get into even more public input as the very specific projects begin to take shape. We begin to go out into the public where those projects are affecting.”

Along with the knowledge of having shaped the future of transportation in Northeast Florida, residents can also win a bevy of prizes including an iPhone X and Amazon gift cards for their participation.

Sheffield said the last time the TPO held a travel survey similar to this was 15 years ago, when the TPO was still in the habit of collecting this data using roadside surveys.

With the widespread proliferation of the internet, however, FDOT has been able to put the survey process online.

Still, Sheffield said, it’s not easy to get a resident to take time out of their days for transportation, especially if it’s for data that will be used for projects that are “not in their back yards.”

“It’s hard for the public to understand how hard it is in the early planning stages unless [the project] is right next to them,” Sheffield said.

Once authorities aggregate the travel data, they will use the data to shape and then seek possible funding for an unmeasurable number of projects. Data such as this helps transportation authorities plan roads more efficiently and, when there are state or federal dollars on available, prove a need exists for one project or another.

Sheffield hopes to attract 4,000 households throughout the reason. He said if 4,000 households answer the survey honestly, then it would represent an accurate and diverse cross section of residents within the region.

Transportation authorities hope to finish the study by November if they can drum up enough support and hit their 4,000 household target.

To take the survey, visit www.NorthFloridaTravelSurvey.com.

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