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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $29 Million in Grants to Promote New Technologies to Improve Transit Safety, Emergency Response

Thursday, February 12, 2015

2/12/2015
Contact: Angela Gates
202-366-3669

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation announced today that 13 organizations in nine states will receive a share of $29 million in grant funding through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Innovative Safety, Resiliency, and All-Hazards Emergency Response and Recovery Demonstration funding opportunity. The grants will support cutting-edge developments in mass transit, utilizing state-of-the-art technology to help transit agencies improve track worker and passenger safety, better withstand natural disasters, and respond more effectively to emergencies. A list of selected projects is available online.

“Safety is our highest priority at DOT, and we are committed to ensuring that public transportation remains one of the safest ways to travel in the United States,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These grants will help transit agencies utilize the latest, most innovative technologies available to reduce collisions, protect track workers, improve operations during emergencies and natural disasters, and maintain equipment and infrastructure.”

Examples of the types of projects selected include track intrusion detection systems that will alert rail operators and transit officials to stop trains if a person or object is detected on the track; prototype equipment such as front-end bumpers for light rail vehicles that operate in mixed traffic to minimize the impact of collisions; and planning tools to help transit agencies protect equipment and infrastructure and deploy services during emergencies and natural disasters.

“FTA is proud to support cutting-edge technologies that have the potential to significantly improve transit safety and operations in the years ahead,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “It is critical that we continue to invest in 21st century systems that will keep transit riders and workers safe, and offer places like New Jersey and New Orleans the tools they need to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies and natural disasters.”

Among the projects selected nationwide:

  • The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will receive approximately $1.7 million to install and test a radar-based system of detecting track intrusions. The new system will alert rail operators and transit officials when people or objects are detected on the track, helping to avoid collisions.
  • The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority will receive approximately $1.8 million to equip additional buses in its Bus Rapid Transit and express bus fleets with GPS-based technology to improve safety and bus service within narrow shoulder lanes along highly congested corridors in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The technology will provide lane keeping information, lane departure warnings, and collision avoidance advisories to bus operators in various weather and road conditions.
  • The New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit) will receive $843,750 to develop an advanced forecast and observation system that can provide real-time information on the potential risk and magnitude of flooding before and during significant storm surge events. The system will help inform decision making in order to devote resources to where they are most needed and preserve critical infrastructure.
  • The Center for Transportation and the Environment, headquartered in Atlanta, GA, will receive $995,098 to develop, evaluate and plan the deployment of a Bus Exportable Power System that would allow existing transit buses to export power using their hybrid propulsion systems. The system essentially would transform hybrid buses into mobile power generators for use during all-hazards emergency response and recovery.

Demand for research demonstration funding far exceeded available funds. FTA received 72 proposals requesting approximately $160 million. Eligible applicants included public transportation providers, state and local governments, private and non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, and technical and community colleges.