As 2018 gets underway, right now is an excellent time to take a closer look at some of the most important issues facing the transportation industry and how, as business owners and consumers, we can be pro-active to help ensure long-term success in the South Florida region. In my opinion, there are three areas where we need to focus our efforts to ensure future growth:
- Invest in improving our infrastructure
Maintaining our infrastructure of roads, highways and bridges is critical and should be a top priority this year. In its 2016 Report Card for Florida’s Infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the state a C rating. The report said that while individual cities and counties have stepped up their efforts, more needs to be done across the state to keep pace with growth. I believe we can and must do better. Failure to maintain and repair our infrastructure drives up the cost to transport goods, which translates into higher-priced goods for everyone.
- Support mass transit initiatives
According to U-Haul’s migration survey, Florida was second in the top states people moved to in 2017. While we are fortunate that so many people are choosing to live in our state, it also means more wear-and-tear on our roads. Supporting mass transit is one way to offset that impact while dramatically reducing transportation costs. Miami commuters who ride public transportation instead of driving can save an average of $790 a month or $9,481 annually according to the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) September 2017 Transit Savings Report.
In our region, the All Aboard Florida rail initiative has made significant progress in making mass transit a viable option for commuters in South Florida. Earlier this month, the rail project launched service between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. As more stations are brought online, the dream of creating work/live/play communities will become a reality.
- Embrace new technology
Florida is fast becoming an important hub for autonomous vehicle technology. In 2016, the state passed legislation that allows autonomous vehicles on the road for research purposes. In Central Florida, a number of new testing and simulation facilities are currently in development that will enable researchers to explore how the technology can safely be deployed for personal and commercial applications. Leveraging AV technology could ultimately reduce fuel costs for consumers and businesses.
Stay tuned for future posts on the transportation issues that affect your business and your customers.
Steven Seltzer, President
Florida Messenger Association