U.S. DOT announces $800M available for transportation technology

The U.S. Department of Transportation is accepting applications for two programs that will make $160 million available annually for the next five years for projects that use technology to improve transportation infrastructure and make communities safer.

The first program is the new Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grants Program. The SMART Grants Program is made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed by President Biden on Nov. 15, 2021. 

The program will offer up to $100 million in grants annually over the next five years. It will fund projects that use data and technology to solve transportation challenges.

“As we undertake the most ambitious infrastructure investment in generations, thanks to the president’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we can and must plan for the transportation needs of the future,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “From connected vehicles that make driving safer, to smart traffic signals that reduce congestion, to sensors to detect the quality of pavement to help prioritize repair, our SMART grants will fund technology that makes people’s lives better in communities across America.”

SMART focuses on data, tech capacity

The SMART program will fund innovation and focus on building data and technology capacity and expertise. The program seeks proposals from public sector entities for demonstration projects in the following areas:

  • Vehicle technology, such as automation and connectivity.
  • Systems innovation, such as delivery and logistics, traffic signals, smart grid, and data integration.
  • New ways to monitor and manage infrastructure, such as sensors and drones.

“Achieving our transportation priorities related to safety, economic strength, equity, and climate requires bold investment in new technologies and approaches,” said Dr. Robert C. Hampshire, deputy assistant secretary for research and technology and chief science officer at DOT. “SMART supports a broad portfolio of projects across the country that will serve as beacons as we move toward a transportation system that is data-driven, values-based, and technology-enabled.”

ATTAIN looks at safety, environmental impacts

The second is the Federal Highway Administration’s $60 million Advanced Transportation Technology and Innovation (ATTAIN) program to promote advanced technologies to improve safety and reduce travel times for drivers and transit riders. 

As a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, ATTAIN-eligible projects will be evaluated on how they consider climate change and environmental justice impacts – including how they reduce transportation-related air pollution and address the disproportionate impacts on disadvantaged communities. In addition, projects are evaluated on their economic impact and potential to create jobs.

“As we level the playing field and improve the travel experience for everyone, we need to promote the use of state-of-the-art technologies, and the ATTAIN program does just that,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack. 

“The Biden-Harris Administration has taken a program with a track record of delivering innovation through the use of advanced technologies and made it truly forward-looking by refocusing its goals to include promoting equity and tackling climate change, in addition to creating jobs and delivering positive economic impact.”

The SMART Notice of Funding is open now and can be found at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html?keywords=SMART. Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, Nov. 18. State, local, and tribal governments and agencies are eligible. For more information, visit https://www.transportation.gov/grants/SMART.

The ATTAIN Notice of Funding can also be found at www.grants.gov. State departments of transportation, local governments, transit agencies, metropolitan planning organizations and other eligible entities are invited to apply. Applications must be submitted by Friday, Nov. 18. For more information, visit the FHWA web site.


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