The Two-Plate Debate



As Florida grows, managing the transportation system is going to remain a high priority. However, getting anything of statewide significance accomplished requires that local, state and the federal governments work together.  

Excuse the pun, but despite gridlock at the Federal Level, local governments are doing all we can to keep people moving efficiently. Our focus these days is how to integrate new technology into the transportation system, while keeping street public ROW’s safe for old technology, like walking and bicycling.

In the City of Sarasota, we are working on our first ever, transportation master plan called, Sarasota in Motion.   Our first public visioning sessions will be held on Tuesday, June 4, at 11am and 5pm.  Go to to check for meeting locations or to participate in the transportation planning process online.    

Short term, cities are adapting to the increasing popularity of UBER and LYFT ride sharing services as we prepare for the introduction of autonomous vehicles. 

In the future, it will be important to have queuing space available at popular destinations for ride-sharing vehicles to pick up passengers safely and quickly.  Many local residents have utilized UBER and LYFT services dozens of times. As most SRQ Daily readers know, when you call for a car from your phone app, the driver’s name, car type and license plate number of the car picking you up is sent to you. To keep traffic moving and to make sure you get in the right car, the license plate number of the car service’s vehicle is the key to safety and efficiency.  

But here in Florida, you can’t see a license plate of the car coming to pick you up because Florida does not provide a license plate for the front of our cars. We are one of 19 states that don’t require a front plate, which really doesn’t make much sense anymore, if it ever did. 

So perhaps it’s time to prepare for the future by taking a page from the past. We may not be able to build high speed rail like the rest of the world, but maybe our state can take one small step forward toward improving our transportation system by once again making Florida a two-plate state. It may not be the great debate, but let the two-plate state debate begin.

Tom Barwin is Sarasota city manager. Feel free to email him at

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