Ministry of Transportation makes funding available to governments to demonstrate new transportation technologies

On September 19, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released two funding opportunity notices for two grant programs: one for Enhancing Mobility and Transportation Revolution (SMART) and the other for Advanced Transportation Technology and Innovation (ATTAIN). Both grant programs have been authorized in the Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act (IIJA) and will fund the deployment of transport technologies with the aim of encouraging wider adoption. Government entities can partner with the private sector to demonstrate technologies under both programs. This is the first of five rounds of funding for both programs. Applications for each are due November 18.

SMART Grants

DOT to Award $100 Million in Grants in First Round of SMART Funding for Public Demonstration Projects That Use Technology to Solve Real-World Problems and Build Data and Technology Capacity and Expertise in the Public Sector . Different types of government entities, including states, transit agencies, toll road operators, and tribal governments, can apply for the funding.

The SMART program will fund a wide range of technologies, including (1) coordinated automation of automated transportation and autonomous vehicles; (2) connected vehicles; (3) smart infrastructure based on sensors; (4) integration of intelligent transportation systems with other existing systems and other advanced transportation technologies; (5) commercial delivery and logistics; (6) leverage the use of innovative aviation technologies, such as unmanned aircraft systems, to support transportation safety and efficiency, including traffic monitoring and infrastructure inspection; (7) develop a programmable and efficient power transmission and distribution system to support the adoption or expansion of energy capture, the deployment of electric vehicles, or the energy efficiency of freight or commercial fleets; and (8) intelligent technology traffic systems.

The DOT will award planning and prototyping grants in this first round. Applicants must successfully complete planning and prototyping before they can apply for an implementation grant. Planning and prototyping grants will be up to $2 million each and implementation grants the following year will be up to $15 million per project. Cost sharing is not required for planning and prototyping grants.

DOT encourages grantees to partner with a wide range of public and private actors to undertake planning and prototyping to build internal buy-in. By the end of the planning/prototyping phase, recipients should have the information needed to create a fully realized implementation plan with performance metrics or make an informed decision not to proceed with implementation.

Projects must comply with federal and state laws, including National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations governing motor vehicles and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations governing aviation projects. The DOT will consider a variety of factors, including policies on data sharing, cybersecurity, and privacy. In particular, DOT will consider the extent to which a project will promote public and private sharing of data and best practices and the use of open platforms, open data formats, technology-neutral requirements, and interoperability, promoting industry best practices in cybersecurity and technology standards and safeguarding the privacy of individuals.

Grants REACH

Under the ATTAIN program, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) within DOT will select between 5 and 10 projects and enter into cooperative agreements of up to $12 million each to deploy, install and operate advanced public transportation technologies to improve safety, mobility, efficiency, system performance, intermodal connectivity and infrastructure return on investment. States and local governments, including toll or port authorities and transit agencies, are among the eligible applicants. A 20% cost-share consideration is required, which may include in-kind consideration.

Funds can be used to deploy the following types of advanced transportation and congestion management technologies:

  • Advanced traveler information systems.
  • Advanced transportation management technologies.
  • Advanced transportation technologies to improve evacuation and emergency response.
  • Infrastructure maintenance monitoring and condition assessment.
  • Advanced public transport systems.
  • Systems for collecting, analyzing and disseminating data on the performance of transportation systems.
  • Advanced security systems, including vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure.
  • Integration of intelligent transport systems with the Smart Grid and other energy distribution and charging systems.
  • Integrated corridor management systems.
  • Advanced parking reservation and variable pricing systems.
  • Electronic pricing, toll collection and payment systems.
  • Technology that improves toll lanes for high occupancy vehicles, cordon pricing or congestion pricing.
  • Integration of transport service payment systems.
  • Advanced technologies for mobility access and on-demand transportation services, such as ridesharing and other shared-use mobility applications, and information systems to support human services for the elderly and disabilities.
  • Upgrading dedicated short-range communications technology deployed under an existing pilot program to vehicle-to-everything cellular technology.
  • Some advanced transportation technologies.

In clarifying eligibility, FHWA noted in the funding opportunity notice that a recipient can use the funds to purchase self-driving vehicles, but must clearly indicate in the application if the vehicle would require an exemption from federal safety standards. motor vehicle or other regulations and whether the project will require a waiver of Buy America requirements.

Contact information

If you have any questions about these funding opportunities or need additional information, please contact one of the following:

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