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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

Zero Emission Research Opportunity (ZERO)

Date Posted:
Date Closed:
Opportunity ID: FTA-2017-001-TRI
Opportunity Announcement PDF:
Opportunity Announcement PDF:
Opportunity Announcement TXT:
Opportunity Announcement TXT:


Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Zero Emission Research Opportunity (ZERO). The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces the availability of $2.75 million of funding for its Zero Emission Research Opportunity (ZERO). This solicitation also will establish eligibility for possible future funding, subject to Congressional appropriations and FTA approval, for ZERO. The purpose of the program is to facilitate the advancement, production, and deployment of zero-emission public transportation vehicle technology and related infrastructure. FTA intends to select, and enter into cooperative agreements with, multiple (up to three) nonprofit consortia to build on past research innovation and development efforts to facilitate the deployment of zero-emission vehicles and associated advanced technology. Eligibility for future ZERO funding opportunities in fiscal years 2017-2020 will be limited to those nonprofit consortia selected under this fiscal year 2017 notice. Potential research partners such as transit agencies, other nonprofits, vendors, suppliers and systems integrators may work with multiple consortia. The federal cost-share of a project carried out under ZERO shall not exceed 80 percent.  

Subject to FTA discretion and future appropriations, the selected organization(s) will be eligible for future funding from FY17-FY20, without further competition. Synopses and the full announcement with additional details are referenced in the Federal Register as funding opportunity FTA-2016-009-TRI-ZERO and posted on as opportunity FTA-2017-001-TRI. Proposals must be submitted electronically through by midnight EST on February 21, 2017.


ZERO represents the latest partnership with the public transportation industry to solve challenges, increase efficiency, and reduce the costs and risks of deploying zero-emission vehicles in transit service. ZERO will support the industry as it examines the potential of larger zero-emission fleets. Since 2008, FTA has provided more than $150 million to support the research, development and deployment of cleaner more efficient public transit vehicles. The ongoing Low and No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program has proven the interest of transit agencies to procure and operate highly innovative and efficient models, including battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell buses.

In implementing ZERO, FTA will use a cooperative research model similar to FTA’s successful National Fuel Cell Bus Program. Under this model, research and demonstration projects are defined and conducted by pre-selected non-profit consortia that, under FTA direction, assemble and manage project teams. Teams, comprised of transit agencies, vendors, suppliers, and others, will introduce an enhanced level of research management, program continuity, and flexibility to federally funded transit research. Through ZERO, FTA seeks to refine this research model and create a research environment that results in greater industry involvement and more innovative and successful projects.

Eligible Applicants: 

Eligible applicants and recipients under this program are limited to nonprofit organizations leading a consortium of entities. All consortia must include at least one provider of public transportation. The following entities may be part of a consortium:

  • Departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Federal Government, including federal laboratories
  • State and local governmental entities
  • Providers of public transportation
  • Private or non-profit organizations
  • Institutions of higher education
  • Technical and community colleges

If future funding becomes available, the selected nonprofit organization(s) will have the opportunity to compete amongst each other for future project funding for the duration of the FAST Act authorization (through fiscal year 2020).  

Link and Instructions for attaching the supplemental form to the SF-424:

All applicants must complete the supplemental form specific to ZERO and attach it to their submission in Applicants should refer to the NOFO for further information about required application contents.


Applicants must submit proposals electronically by midnight Eastern Time on February 21, 2017. Any nonprofit organization intending to apply should initiate the process of registering on immediately to ensure completion of registration before the submission deadline.

For Further Information Contact:

Please send any questions on this notice to or contact Sean Ricketson, ZERO Program Manager, Office of Research, Demonstration, and Innovation (TRI), (202) 366-6678.