The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of $6.5 million in research funding for innovative transit bus automation demonstration projects that will improve safety and efficiency, according to the administration's news release.
The FTA said examples of bus automation projects might include strategies for avoiding collisions with pedestrians, improved emergency braking, and precision movement for bus fueling, charging, and maintenance.
“This funding opportunity demonstrates the Department’s commitment to supporting the use of technology that improves safety for transit riders and workers,” said Nuria Fernandez, FTA administrator.
Under the Notice of Funding Opportunity, FTA said it is making $5 million available for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems for transit buses to help improve bus operator safety and efficiency. Another $1.5 million is available for automated transit bus maintenance operations to improve efficiency and safety in maintenance facilities.
As part of its commitment to helping transit workers prepare for technological industry advancements, the FTA added that it will look at potential impacts on the workforce as a result of applications submitted through this funding opportunity.
As described in the agency’s Strategic Transit Automation Research (STAR) Plan, the FTA said it will continue to explore the use of driving automation technologies in bus systems. Research priorities will include exploring how new technology can improve safety by reducing collisions caused by human error, both by bus drivers and other people on the road, according to the FTA.