Honing Brevard’s Competitive Advantage
What do you get when you take the proverbial planes, trains and automobiles and add in space ships and cargo shipping vessels? The answer may surprise you. While each of these modes of transportation is separate and distinct, when combined, they form one of the Space Coast’s best-kept secrets.
With more ways to get people and goods from point A to B than anywhere else, the Space Coast holds the distinction as the ‘world’s only quintamodal community.’ No other area can boast all five, (or “quint” in Latin) modes of transfer to move commodities across the globe.
Our regional transportation assets include air, land, rail, sea and space. With so many assets given the size of our county, there isn’t a comparable region in Florida that has as many. Even more convincing is the “wow” factor of these assets.
Products travel throughout the region within a Class II railroad network, highway deliveries take place across 100 miles of connected roadways, passengers and cargo flow through both the nation’s second busiest seaport and a growing international airport, and supplies are launched to the International Space Station and beyond from nearby launch pads. The level of diversity here is unmatched.
The inter-connected, multi-modal transportation network that has been created as a result of this diversity helps to not only keep the Space Coast competitive in economic development pursuits, but also often helps raise it to the top of the list. In industries where delivery speed is a key to remaining competitive, Brevard County represents a unique opportunity.
One of the biggest advantages of having all five modes of transport together in one county is that everyone benefits. Locally, the availability of multiple methods of transportation to traverse the county means residents and local businesses have more plentiful options for travel with ease of access. Outside of the community, we are closer than ever before. The ability to move quickly and regularly deliver goods to locations across the world showcases our standing as a well-connected community.
More than 10 years ago, the Florida legislature created the Strategic Intermodal System (SIS) to focus investment on multi-modal facilities essential to sustaining Florida’s economy. The current SIS is a network of high-priority transportation facilities including the state’s largest and most significant commercial transportation assets.
These heavily utilized modes carry more than 99 percent of all commercial air passengers and cargo, virtually all waterborne freight and cruise passengers, almost all rail freight, 89 percent of all interregional rail and bus passengers, 55 percent of total traffic and more than 70 percent of all truck traffic on the State Highway System.
SIS designated facilities located on the Space Coast, and those that make up our intricate transportation network include:
Air: Melbourne International Airport
Land: Connected highway system including I-95, SR 528, SR 401, SR 405, US192, Sarno Road
Rail: Florida East Coast Rail, NASA rail
Sea: Port Canaveral
Space: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Kennedy Space Center
In addition to these state designated transport modes, the Space Coast is home to even more options including the Space Coast Regional Airport, Merritt Island Barge Canal, Norfolk Southern Railroad, Naval Ordnance Test Unit (NOTU), and the Intercoastal Waterway.
No matter how far technology continues to progress in modern society, there will always be a need to strategically move goods and products throughout the country and across the world. With more options to go anywhere and greater convenience in doing so, the Space Coast is the starting point for making these connections. Even the sky is not the limit. Here, transportation options exist to take you beyond.
Lynda Weatherman is president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast.