Reconnecting America People * Places * Possibility

Resource Center

Connecting for global competitiveness: Florida’s Super Region

Executive Summary

Two Choices for the Region’s Future

High-speed rail (HSR) integrated with local transit systems will connect Florida’s Super Region in a way that provides an opportunity to reshape its future. Using computer-aided analysis based on population and job projections, this study presents two alternatives for the Super Region in 2050. In one alternative, new development follows the patterns already established in Florida, despite transportation investments. In the second alternative, the presence of HSR and local transit permits compact urban centers and infill development along transit corridors, while development away from the new transportation continues in current patterns. This second alternative creates a far more sustainable development future while preserving a range of lifestyle choices.

Saving The Region’s Natural Landscape

Florida’s landscape and lifestyle are great competitive advantages, but new development can threaten the unique natural character of the Super Region. This study uses computer-aided analysis to identify the most important features of the existing natural landscape, combining the recommendations of many technical reports into an ideal conservation network. This study provides objective priorities for determining the natural resources that are most in need of preservation. In combination with computer-aided studies of future development, the study identifies the parts of the ideal network that are most at risk in the future and recommends that these lands be acquired and preserved first.

New Opportunities for Global Competitiveness

Throughout the world, HSR and high-tech research centers are reshaping business and development patterns. HSR and innovative industry clusters in Florida offer an opportunity to compete on the global stage by offering similar connections and amenities. Looking ahead to 2030 and beyond, this study illustrates a possible future where connectivity allows for the development of new economic nodes in Florida’s Super Region. These developments include a new district in downtown Tampa around the HSR station, which has the potential to be like the Canary Wharf financial district in London; a new urban center and research park centered around HSR and the University of South Florida Polytechnic campus in Polk County, which can be comparable to Tsukuba City in Japan; an expanded Medical Research City connected to Orlando International Airport, which can become like North Carolina’s Research Triangle; a reshaped Gateway District in Pinellas County that is only two transit stops away from Tampa International Airport; and new transportation-oriented downtown centers in Orlando, near the Sarasota- Bradenton International Airport, and in Daytona Beach.