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$160m available through SMART and ATTAIN for innovative transportation projects, including microtransit

  •   3 min read

SMART and ATTAIN grants are open for applications. Read on to learn what kinds of projects are eligible and how to apply.

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This week, the Biden Administration announced two grant opportunities, totaling $160m in funding this year, for innovative projects which utilize technology to improve America’s transportation infrastructure.

Learn more

SMART

The new Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) program was created by Congress as part of the recent Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). SMART provides grants to states, political subdivisions including transit agencies or MPOs, tribal governments, and groupings of the above for demonstration projects implementing advanced technology to improve mobility, safety, and efficiency of transportation systems. Such technologies include autonomous and connected vehicles, smart traffic signals and intelligent sensor-based infrastructure, integration of intelligent transportation systems with other systems, advanced logistics solutions, and smart grid technologies.

SMART grants will be awarded through a two-stage process. Stage 1 grants are up to $2m, with no match, and will be used to partner with community stakeholders, conduct research, and prototype and refine grant concepts over 18 months into a full implementation plan. Stage 2 grants of up to $15m will build on these implementation plans to conduct scaled-up demonstration projects. 

Only recipients of Stage 1 grants may apply for Stage 2 grants. As such, USDOT is only soliciting Stage 1 applications this year; next year, both Stage 1 and Stage 2 grants will be available. USDOT anticipates awarding roughly 30 to 50 Stage 1 grants during this cycle.

As outlined in the BIL, projects should address the following transportation priorities: safety and reliability, resiliency, equity and access, climate sustainability, partnerships, and systems integration. In addition, USDOT will prioritize the following project characteristics: fit, scale, and adoption; data sharing, cybersecurity, and privacy; workforce development; and measurement and validation. For more information on these priorities, please consult the SMART NOFO.

ATTAIN

In addition to the new SMART program, the BIL also made changes to the existing “ATCMTD” program, now known as Advanced Transportation Technologies and Innovative Mobility Deployment (ATTIMD) or Advanced Transportation Technology and Innovation (ATTAIN). These changes include a reduction of local share from 50% to 20% as well as changes to eligible projects, including more explicit eligibility for on-demand services.

States, municipalities, transit agencies, MPOs, and other political subdivisions, as well as groupings of the above, may apply for up to $12m in funding over two to four years to deploy, install, and operate advanced technologies to improve safety, mobility, efficiency, system performance, intermodal connectivity, and infrastructure return on investment. ATTAIN projects are intended as model deployments to demonstrate effective use and deployment of emerging technologies. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) anticipates awarding between 5 and 10 grants this cycle. 20% of funding is reserved for rural areas.

A wide variety of technologies are eligible for ATTAIN funding, including but not limited to advanced mobility and on-demand transportation service technologies, payment service integration, transportation management technologies, and advanced traveler information systems. For a full list of eligible technologies, please consult the ATTAIN NOFO.

Proposals should provide benefits in the form of reduced traffic-related fatalities and injuries, reduced congestion, reduced emissions, optimized system performance, improved access to transportation, integration of payment systems, cost savings, and/or public access to real-time traffic and transportation information.

This year, FHWA is particularly interested in applications which address the following: state of good repair, integration of intelligent transportation systems with smart grid or other energy systems, advanced public transportation systems, efficient freight movement systems, rural transportation projects, and programs supporting the Complete Trip Program. For more information on these focus areas, please consult the NOFO.

Moving forward

Via’s mission is to harness the power of technological innovation to improve transit for all. Given the broad reach of these programs, we believe this is an extremely unique opportunity to be creative and groundbreaking in the next phase of your region’s transportation innovation. We’d love to partner with you on potential projects for SMART and ATTAIN including:

  • Launching an innovative on-demand service;
  • Implementing a road pricing system’ 
  • Deploying shared autonomous vehicles;
  • Re-envisioning urban design to make streets more pedestrian friendly and reduce community reliance on single occupancy vehicles. 

If you’re interested, please reach out to partnerships@ridewithvia.com. We’d love to help as you consider applying and can provide insight on the application process. Applications are due for both programs on November 18, 2022. 

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