Orange County wants a transportation planning consultant to study the feasibility of bringing new public transit options to International Drive, including a modern streetcar or other premium vehicle for an urban circulator system, according to a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued on Wednesday.
The focus is a route within the International Drive District, generally located between Sand Lake Road and the Beachline Expressway (S.R. 528). An initial operating segment is envisioned to serve the I-Drive corridor from Sand Lake Road to south of the Beachline.
A second phase may be evaluated to operate within or adjacent to Pointe Plaza Avenue, Via Mercado, Universal Boulevard and Destination Parkway, county staff wrote in the RFP.
The proposed first phase would operate primarily within existing road rights-of-way, and include stations serving the Orange County Convention Center, various hotels and other businesses or attractions.
The 4.3-mile route for this project is based on the existing I-Ride Trolley service between Sand Lake Road and the county's intermodal station on Destination Parkway. The trolley was created in 1997, has 105 stops and served more than 1.85 million annual riders in 2015.
As part of the International Drive 2040 Vision Plan adopted by the county in late 2015, a variety of transportation options will be essential to the existing and future growth of the I-Drive corridor.
The need for a diverse transportation system has been made clear to the county by a number of studies in recent years. Road congestion during major conventions at OCCC is particularly acute.
The consultant will have to prepare a detailed project schedule for the Transit Feasibility and Technology Assessment, create a public involvement plan and hold two public meetings, coordinate meetings with regional government agencies and I-Drive stakeholders, prepare a website, advertisements and news releases about the process.
The consultant also must collect a wide range of traffic and land use data to develop transit improvement options, which includes forecasting traffic counts through 2045.
Following that, the consultant would determine goals and objectives, create different transit alignment improvement concepts, write an Evaluation Plan that defines how to judge competing concepts, conceptualize road improvements and new bus station locations, forecast the ridership of new transportation options, and plan how to phase it all in over time.
There are 32 hotels and resorts totaling 15,676 rooms within the study area's limits, most of which front the primary roads and are serviced by the I-Ride Trolley.
Applications are due by Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. to the county's Procurement Division. A optional pre-proposal conference will be held Jan. 29, at 3 p.m. at the Public Works Complex on S. John Young Parkway.
Full documents for RFP no. Y18-806-CH can be found at Orange County's Bid Openings webpage.