U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that local communities across the country will receive nearly $65 million in grants to support advanced technology transportation projects. Secretary Foxx will join President Obama at the White House Frontiers Conference on the future of innovation, where he will discuss how new transportation innovations are reshaping cities in the U.S.
“From automated vehicles to connected infrastructure to data analytics, technology is transforming how we move around our country, and some of the most exciting innovation is happening at the local level,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These grants will enable cities and rural communities to harness new technologies to tackle hard problems like reducing congestion, connecting people to mass transit, and enhancing safety.”
The grants are being awarded through two U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) initiatives aimed at promoting the use of advanced technologies in transportation: the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) program run by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox program overseen by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
In total, the grants will be leveraged to bring close to $170 million in public and private investment to deploy smart city technologies in both large and small local communities across the nation. These grants build on U.S. DOT’s successful Smart City Challenge, which inspired cities, federal agencies, universities, and the private sector to work together to harness new technologies.
The $56.6 million ATCMTD program’s grants are designed to help communities use technology to enhance mobility and expand access to opportunity. Projects funded by these grants will improve the efficiency of the highway system and make the most use of existing capacity for commuters, businesses, and freight shippers. These issues were highlighted in the Beyond Traffic report, which addresses the challenges facing America's transportation infrastructure over the next three decades, such as a rapidly growing population and increasing traffic.
Communities receiving ATCMTD grants include:
- Pittsburgh will receive nearly $11 million to execute elements of the vision it developed in its Smart City Challenge application, including deployment of smart traffic signal technology – proven to reduce congestion at street lights by up to forty percent – along major travel corridors.
- Denver will also receive approximately $6 million to help to alleviate the congestion caused by a daily influx of 200,000 commuters each workday through connected vehicles.
A full list can be found here.
The $8 million MOD Sandbox Program is part of a larger research effort at U.S. DOT that supports transit agencies and communities as they integrate new mobility tools like smart phone apps, bike- and car-sharing, and demand-responsive bus and van services. MOD projects help make transportation systems more efficient and accessible, particularly for people who lack access to a car.
Through creative business models, the MOD Sandbox Program explores the potential of integrating public and private transportation choices. FTA sought projects with partnerships between transit providers, local governments, technology companies, and others that demonstrate solutions in real-world settings.
Examples of MOD Sandbox grants include:
- TriMet, which serves Portland, Ore., will receive funds to integrate shared-use mobility options into its existing trip planning app, allowing users to plan efficient trips even without nearby transit access.
- The Vermont Agency of Transportation will receive $480,000 for a statewide transit trip planner that will incorporate flexible-route, hail-a-ride, and other services in mobility apps. The online trip planner particularly benefits non-traditional rural transit users and people with disabilities, allowing universal access to transit information.
- In Dallas, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) will receive $1.2 million to integrate ride-sharing services into its GoPass ticketing app. The project will create an integrated, multimodal application that leverages ride-sharing services, improving access to DART stations, particularly in non-walkable areas not well served by transit.
A full list can be found here.