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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $1.37 Million in Grant Awards to Six Projects in Six States to Advance Transit Infrastructure Innovation and Safety Nationwide

Monday, November 30, 2020

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced grant awards to six projects in six states totaling approximately $1.37 million in research funding through the Real-Time Asset Management Program. These projects will support infrastructure innovation in the transit industry.  

“These research grants will help improve transit operations and enhance safety for riders who use these systems every day,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The primary goal of the Real-Time Asset Management Program is to enhance asset management of infrastructure and safety by deploying innovative technologies that can provide real-time condition assessment of transit capital and facilities. This program is an opportunity for transit agencies to assess, detect, monitor and track deficiencies related to infrastructure and evaluate the cost-effectiveness and practicality of proposed state-of-the art solutions.

“FTA is leveraging cutting-edge technology to better maintain our nation’s transit assets, which will improve safety for both riders and front-line workers,” said FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams. “These innovative new designs will help transit systems maintain a state of good repair, which is particularly important during the COVID-19 public health emergency.”

The following projects are selected to receive funding:

  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will receive $395,000 to partner with four transit agencies to install and demonstrate smart sensing technology. The project will focus on the installation of smart sensing modules that provide real-time monitoring of rail transit infrastructure and rolling stock.  
  • The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) will receive $150,000 to initiate an electronic inventory of its light-rail system to monitor, detect and identify track deficiencies. The project will enable MDOT MTA to maintain a more accurate assessment of its light rail system.
  • The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTC) will receive $131,661 to partner with the University of Nevada to demonstrate real-time transit infrastructure monitoring in the City of Reno. The monitoring system, which will use electronic sensors, will assist RTC in maintaining its system in a state of good repair.
  • The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will receive $170,000 to deploy automated scanning technology to assess the condition of its overhead contact system wires across its 262-mile regional rail network.
  • The Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority (DART) will receive $184,000 to demonstrate real-time digital technology to monitor its rail stations, tracks, bridges, tunnels and highway-rail crossings. 
  • The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) in Salt Lake City will receive $338,155 to develop an optical imaging system to monitor the conditions of its rail system.

Project proposals were evaluated based on criteria outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity.