Travel & Leisure

Orange County Awarded $20 Million Federal BUILD Grant to Reimagine Mobility in the Region

US DOT Recognizes Lake Nona Application among Exemplary Public-Private Partnerships in Significant Regional Mobility Planning
( | Press Release | 2019-11-12 20:02:35 )
Orlando, Fla. (Nov. 12, 2019) – Today, national leaders gathered in Lake Nona to announce the recipients of $900 million in federal BUILD grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Among the recipients, Orange County, Fla. was awarded a $20 million grant to create a robust Local Alternative Mobility Network (LAMN) in Tavistock Group’s Lake Nona community in the City of Orlando, accommodating and enabling new transportation solutions for metro Orlando’s fastest growing region. Specifically, the BUILD grant funding will go toward creating new and modifying existing infrastructure in Lake Nona, including multi-modal corridors with dedicated autonomous vehicle lanes, bicycle and pedestrian pathways, an integrated and multi-use mobility hub, and support for autonomous vehicles (AV), all designed to reduce automobile dependency. This is the first BUILD grant awarded to Central Florida.

Joined by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao made the announcement in the heart of the Lake Nona community, one of the fastest growing regions in the state of Florida and one of the best-selling communities in America. “The Administration is targeting BUILD Transportation grants to repair, rebuild, and revitalize significant infrastructure projects across the country,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

“With this ambitious project, we strive to create better mobility options,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “This is about looking ahead to new technologies and innovative transportation solutions to ensure the future mobility of our residents and visitors. Tavistock has continued to be a great partner in our community espousing smart growth and innovation in community-building. We are pleased that they have stepped up to be the sponsor for this exciting project.”

The LAMN project includes five major components aimed at reducing automobile dependency: a full-service mobility hub, infrastructure for autonomous vehicles, a bicycle transportation network, linear park, and linear park bridge. Each component is designed to work with the others to enable intelligent solutions for regional and local transportation in Lake Nona, a rapidly growing area of Orange County within the City of Orlando limits and adjacent to Orlando International Airport, and will better connect residents, visitors, veterans and students to employment centers, medical facilities, essential services, retail, education and entertainment options. BUILD grant funding will support the planning, design, and construction of each component’s critical infrastructure, including shared mobility lanes, dedicated rights of way (ROW), recovery zones for bicyclists, sheltered waiting areas, upgrading of existing pedestrian and bicycle paths, naturally shaded and streetscaped environments, and LAMN wayfinding.

“This is an incredible win for the region and yet another example of how the right public-private partnerships can distinguish themselves and win big when we collaborate together,” said Rasesh Thakkar, senior managing director of Tavistock. “The Local Alternative Mobility Network is a forward-thinking project within the Lake Nona living lab environment that will better position Orange County and Orlando for a new wave of multi-modal transportation solutions, all with a view toward scaling the learnings from this innovation to the rest of the region, the state and the country.”

In addition to the LAMN proposal, Orange County will use key findings from the development and operation of the project that will help expand the program to other parts of the County, including applications in improving mobility for the county’s 1.4 million residents and 75 million annual visitors. This is in addition to the research and education programs being sponsored by Beep, the operator of Lake Nona’s autonomous shuttles, which will provide additional learnings and advancement on autonomous vehicle technologies and the impact they will have on safety and traffic relief as well as serving as a living lab for the broader autonomous mobility ecosystem to innovate, collaborate and pragmatically drive this important technology forward.

“The selection of Orange County for this U.S. Department of Transportation award is a testament to the vision, innovation and leadership that has come to define this Central Florida region and we are very pleased to be a part of it,” said Joe Moye, CEO of Beep. “This public/private partnership is a tremendous example of how government and industry can collaborate to develop new, safe, innovative mobility solutions for our citizens and, under Secretary Chao’s leadership, programs such as the BUILD grant are making a huge difference across our country in delivering a wealth of advantages to residents, visitors and businesses in communities like Lake Nona.”

The LAMN plan will also lead to widespread job creation for the project’s maintenance engineers, attendants, operations center analysts, and other jobs affiliated with the ongoing operations of the project. Temporary construction jobs will also be created through the installation and implementation of new facilities and infrastructure.

The highly competitive BUILD grant program funds investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are awarded to projects that have a significant local or regional impact. The FY 2019 BUILD program’s selection criteria gave special consideration to projects that emphasize improved access to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation including proposals that promote regional connectivity, facilitate economic growth or competitiveness, or energy efficiency. Selection criteria encompassed safety, economic competitiveness, quality of life, state of good repair, innovation, and partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders.

Lake Nona
Lake Nona’s location and proximity to Orlando International Airport will allow users to connect to larger City, County, and State transportation projects like Virgin Trains, Lynx, and the planned SunRail expansion. One of the fastest-growing communities in the country, Lake Nona is home to the U.S. Tennis Association’s National Campus and world-renowned hospitals within Lake Nona Medical City that attract millions of visitors to Lake Nona each year with projections for the community to have more than 12 million annual visitors by 2022. In addition, Beep’s Innovation Lab will be located in Lake Nona and provide training and development opportunities for autonomous mobility solutions partners around the world.

Lake Nona is strategically planning for the future with foundational strategies to guide development principles well into the future to encourage the continued evolution of a community that is healthy, sustainable, vibrant, and able to adapt to new technologies, innovations, and global trends. This approach has proven to be a platform for growth in Orange County.

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Erica Olson

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