A History of Transportation Innovation

With a focus on community, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority has its sights set on the future.

The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) is locally owned and operated, and for half a century that’s been a noticeable advantage for Tampa Bay residents and businesses. All of THEA’s toll revenue–100 percent–stays there in the community, where it’s invested in the regional transportation system, the local economy and the communities.

Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority Transportation Construction
Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority, Transportation Corridor Construction

The most recent community improvement projects include the Selmon Greenway, a 1.7-mile trail under the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway for pedestrians and bicyclists (scheduled to begin construction later this year); the Swann Avenue project that took an underpass and made major landscaping, lighting and walkway improvements, essentially turning it into an attractive commons for pedestrians; and the Agua Luces project that installed decorative lighting on four landmark bridges spanning the Hillsborough River. Those initiatives, undertaken in partnership with several local organizations, not only beautify the city, but deliver important economic benefits as well as increased commercial activity to the surrounding areas. A recent study, in fact, revealed the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway has generated $1.4 billion in business sales while creating more than 10,000 jobs in many different industries.

Without question, the newest—and potentially most exciting — innovation in vehicular transportation is the development of automated vehicles (self-driving cars and trucks). As one of only three states that allow automated vehicles on the roads, Florida is at the forefront of adapting this transformative technology to the streets and roadways.

Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority Transportation Construction Top down erection
Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority, Top down erection of transportation construction

THEA is playing a big role in bringing autonomous vehicle technology to Tampa Bay by working with the University of South Florida Center for Urban Transportation Research to explain how to implement and integrate autonomous vehicles into the regional transportation system. In addition, THEA is hosting an Automated Vehicle Summit on November 14-15. The study and the summit will put Tampa Bay at the cutting edge of this game-changing technological advance, with significant benefits to the local economy and quality of life.

THEA has had a history of transportation innovation— including reversible express lanes, all electronic tolling and bus toll lanes. And it remains in the driver’s seat, now poised to help Tampa Bay take another big step on the road of progress.

A noteworthy past and a promising future.