The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for $2 million in competitive grant funding for projects that improve experience and mobility for transit riders, according to the administration's press release.
FTA's Enhancing Mobility Innovation Program supports innovations that encourage people to get on board, such as integrated fare payment systems and user-friendly software for on-demand public transportation.
The Enhancing Mobility Innovation Program also supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals to increase transit access for underserved communities and promote environmental justice.
The FTA said it encourages proposals that advance the objectives of the Administration's Justice40 initiative, providing investments that benefit disadvantaged communities.
"Tens of millions of Americans use public transit every week, and we have an opportunity to make their experience even better – as well as to attract new riders," said Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Transportation secretary. "This funding will help spur innovation so that people can get around more quickly, reliably, comfortably and conveniently."
The program aims to accelerate the industry’s progress on adapting technology to improve access and on-board experiences by focusing on service delivery approaches, creative financing, and partnerships.
"The Enhancing Mobility Innovation program supports transit agencies as they work to improve mobility, with a focus on how innovation can help improve service delivery and make buses, trains and ferries easier to use and more attractive to riders," said Nuria Fernandez, FTA administrator. "We are providing the seed money to help transit agencies test new innovations with a goal of deploying long-lasting solutions that create opportunities for people in their communities."
For software development projects, the NOFO seeks cross-modal, adaptable platforms for demand-response transit service dispatched through riders’ mobile devices or other advanced means.
The FTA will consider the extent to which projects will provide air quality benefits, particularly in areas with poor air quality, and also how they will help promote racial equity and increase access to opportunity in underserved communities.
Projects will be evaluated based on criteria outlined in the NOFO.