Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) will highlight FTA’s commitment to support and advance innovation in the transit industry. AIM will drive innovation by promoting forward-thinking approaches to improve financing, system design and service. Acting Administrator Jane Williams announced the plan during the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting on January 14, 2020.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced during a transit industry call on March 26 that deadlines for current FTA competitive grant programs will be extended for 30 days amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The deadline for the AIM Program Notice of Funding Opportunity is now May 18.
On March 18, 2020, FTA announced an $11 million Notice of Funding Opportunity under the AIM Initiative to support and advance innovation in the transit industry. AIM challenge grants will help transit agencies explore new service models that provide more efficient and frequent service, which will help retain riders. As a funding partner, FTA will help alleviate the potential risks involved in adopting new technologies and practices.
In addition, FTA’s Fiscal Year 2020 competitive grant programs, which total $615 million, will highlight innovation as part of their selection criteria. This will provide applicants with an opportunity to showcase how they can incorporate new approaches to improve the rider experience.
The AIM initiative will establish a national network of transit agencies that will test and share project results and use FTA’s technical assistance centers to promote promising innovations.
FTA’s Technical Assistance Centers will provide targeted technical assistance to deploy successful innovative models and develop case studies and hands-on resources. The centers will hold workshops focused on bringing together transit agencies to discuss best practices, identify barriers, and advance the adoption of new technologies and practices while ensuring safety for riders.