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More than a dozen cities and states received funds for intelligent transportation programs that promote safety, improve access and reduce congestion.
The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $49.2 million in grants to states to support the integration of newer technologies to improve mobility and multimodal connections on highway and transit systems.
Most of the funding comes from the Federal Highway Administration, which awarded $45.2 million to 10 states via the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) grant. The grant would encourage the use of intelligent transportation systems technologies, to help “improve mobility and safety, reduce congestion and support underserved communities,” USDOT officials said in the Aug. 10 announcement.
Another $4 million from the Federal Transit Administration, as part of the Enhancing Mobility Innovation (EMI) grants, went to six states and the District of Columbia “to improve access and mobility for transit riders,” USDOT officials said.
According to the ATCMTD fact sheet, states can direct the federal funds toward technologies such as transportation system performance data collection, analysis and dissemination systems; vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications systems; electronic pricing and payment systems; or ridesharing and information systems.
These improvements could prevent wrong-way accidents, improve trucking operations and terminal operator activities at ports, USDOT officials said. Other benefits include traffic reduction and more eco-friendly transportation, especially for rural and urban areas.
“ATCMTD grants promote innovations that help expand access to transportation for communities in rural areas and cities alike, improve connectivity, and prepare America’s transportation systems for the future,” Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said. “The program uses advanced technologies and innovation to promote safety for drivers and transit riders and funds projects across the nation that others can learn from as national models.”
The ATCMTD grant recipients are as follows:
- Alabama - $5 million to the Proactive Route Operations to Avert Congestion Traffic project that will use technologies such as road weather tools and signal management systems to improve a section of I-65 and nearby routes.
- California - $3 million to the Port of Los Angeles Gateway Project that implements cloud-based, artificial intelligence applications to reduce congestion at the port to help the flow of freight for cargo owners, truckers and drayage drivers.
- Illinois - $3.9 million to Chicago’s Centralized Transit Signal Priority Project that employs a centralized communication and software system that would give city buses priority at traffic signals.
- Kansas - $6.67 million to the Great Plains Rural Freight Technology Corridor Project that uses fiber-optic cables and other technologies to report traffic, weather and other operational information to optimize freight routing along U.S. 83.
- Kentucky - $5.14 million to the Wrong Way Driving and Integrated Safety Technology System that integrates computing and video processing to “detect and deter” wrong-way drivers.
- New Jersey - $8.74 million to the Smart and Connected Atlantic City Expressway Project that deploys vehicle-to-everything technologies to promote a smart and connected expressway for automated vehicles in the future.
- North Dakota - $1.44 million to the Electric Vehicle User Range Anxiety Solution for Rural North Dakota that supports the installation of 500,000 charging stations by 2030, hopefully reducing the charging access disparity and “EV owner range anxiety.”
- Ohio - $1.49 million to the EZConnect project that incorporates a cloud-based real-time mobility coordination center within the NEORide public transit agency platform to enable sharing customer information, trip requests and confirmations, provider and vehicle data and trip performance statuses.
- Tennessee - $4.57 million to Chattanooga’s End-to-End Decision Support System for an Integrated Smart Electric Grid and Transportation System Management that would help drivers locate EV charging stations and increase clean transportation.
- Washington - $5.1 million to the Washington State Ferries Terminal Wait Times Traveler Information System that will aid in the creation of a “terminal wait time system” to improve service reliability and customer experience.
The EMI grants aim to increase the number of people using public transit as well as the options for them to get around, such as “integrated fare payment systems and user-friendly apps for on-demand public transportation,” USDOT officials said.
Recipients of EMI funds may invest in equipment or services that promote the grants’ mission to “accelerate innovative mobility” and incorporate “software solutions,” according to a statement from the FTA. This includes measures such as technology scanning and feasibility analysis, validation and verification of software, modeling and simulations or evaluating project results.
“FTA’s Enhancing Mobility Innovation program provides more tools to improve mobility and make all modes of transit easier to use and more attractive to riders,” FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez said. “This funding will help recipients test new innovations with a goal of deploying long-lasting solutions that improve the lives of people in their communities.”
The EMI grant recipients are as follows:
- San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Commission ($500,000) to develop a software application enabling users to request, confirm and pay for trips via end-to-end trip planning and allow service providers to confirm and coordinate trips.
- Richmond, California ($250,000), to pilot a program to streamline microtransit and paratransit users “into shared journeys using a single fleet” to reduce wait times and reduce the average cost per trip.
- Santa Monica, California ($330,432) for its Big Blue Bus program to partner with the Transit app on a digital survey allowing users to provide feedback on their rides so agencies can better adjust to their customers’ needs.
- District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments ($250,000) to develop a Vanpool Microtransit pilot program that leverages its existing software with employers to connect riders with more convenient vanpool options.
- The University of Maryland-College Park ($800,000) to develop software for transit agencies that generates tradable credits gained from emissions reductions and social equity to incentivize residents to utilize public transit.
- The Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority in New York ($283,219) to support automated enrollment into low-income fare programs to enhance the rider experience and equitable access to the transit system.
- NEORide’s Council of Governments ($338,600) representing 18 mass transit agencies in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Arkansas to develop a demand-response system that would allow client management and scheduling software to share client, trip and provider and vehicle information for enhanced performances.
- MobilityData, Inc. ($798,000) to establish a pilot program refining data quality issues and datasets for more accurate, timely and efficient transit data available to the public.
- NTT Data ($500,000) to work with Florida’s Collier Area Transit to develop a transit digital twin that will provide real-time information on occupancy, operations and efficiency in addition to transit prediction and simulation services.
The ATCMTD program will continue through 2026, USDOT officials report. Since its conception six years ago, the initiative has invested more than $300 million in more than 55 projects.