WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced the availability of $9.3 million in research funding for innovative projects that will improve rail transit and bus operator safety. This includes $7.3 million for projects that demonstrate and evaluate new technologies, safer designs and practices to improve rail transit safety; and $2 million for projects that redesign transit bus operator compartments to improve safety for bus operators and the passengers they serve.
"This $9.3 million funding opportunity demonstrates the Department’s commitment to enhancing the safety of our nation’s public transportation systems for transit riders and employees," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.
Two Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs) appear in this week’s Federal Register.
Under the Safety Research and Demonstration (SRD) Program NOFO, FTA has made available $7.3 million for research projects that mitigate trespassing hazards on rail transit systems and improve the operational safety of shared corridor fixed guideway systems, including highway-rail grade crossing safety. This NOFO will also support innovative projects that demonstrate advanced technologies to improve rail transit safety.
Under the Redesign of Transit Bus Operator Compartment to Improve Safety, Operational Efficiency, and Passenger Accessibility Program NOFO, FTA has made available $2 million to support research projects to develop new transit bus operator compartment designs that protect operators from assault and improve their view of the road while still allowing them to interact with passengers, including people with disabilities and those in need of special assistance. The new designs also will improve bus drivers’ access to vehicle controls and will accommodate Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
"We are committed to working with the transit industry to improve the safety of our nation’s public transportation systems," said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. "We look forward to supporting innovative new designs and projects that will better protect transit employees and passengers alike, as well as improve the overall safety and reliability of the service."
Eligible applicants include public transportation providers, state and local government entities, nonprofit organizations and colleges. Applications will be evaluated based on criteria listed in the NOFOs.
Applications for SRD Program funding and the Redesign of the Transit Bus Operator Compartment to Improve Safety, Operational Efficiency, and Passenger Accessibility Program are due on March 24, 2020.
FTA’s Public Transportation Innovation Program (49 USC § 5312) authorizes FTA to fund research, development, demonstration and deployment projects to improve public transportation.