WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced an opportunity to apply for $8 million in federal funding for projects that demonstrate innovative approaches to mobility issues in public transportation. The program, known as the Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox, will support research and technology deployments that improve public transportation efficiency and effectiveness, enhancing safety and connectivity in America’s transportation system.
“Innovation is driving our world forward, and we want public transportation providers to seize opportunities to embrace new ideas and solutions,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Technology is a powerful tool for bringing people together like never before – to connect communities in ways that build and increase opportunity.”
The Mobility on Demand Sandbox Demonstration Program is part of a larger MOD research effort at FTA and DOT that seeks to support transit agencies and communities as they navigate the evolving landscape of personal mobility. Mobility on Demand projects and services help make transportation systems more integrated, automated, and accessible, while offering better connections to both existing and future infrastructure and public and private transportation options.
Projects funded through the MOD Sandbox could include smartphone apps; innovative fare payment and finance mechanisms; connected vehicles and infrastructure; shared-use and on-demand services; and a broad range of other mobility solutions. And, as public transportation is a lifeline to jobs, education, and other opportunities for millions of Americans, it is critical that MOD projects embrace accessibility and equity for all travelers.
A detailed explanation of the program’s goals and selection criteria can be found in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) in the Federal Register and at Grants.gov.
“We are excited to see the creativity that communities nationwide will use to enhance ways to improve mobility,” FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers said. “We believe the latest in research and technology can help improve access and mobility for all.”
Existing FTA grantees, such as public transportation agencies, state departments of transportation, and Native tribes, are eligible to receive funds under the program, and applicants are encouraged to partner with private and non-profit organizations to deliver their projects. Applications are due by July 5, 2016.
As outlined in DOT’s Beyond Traffic framework, America’s transportation systems must be redeveloped and reimagined in response to a changing world. The DOT Smart City Challenge, currently underway, represents the dynamic and innovative approaches needed to address mobility in the 21st century.
The MOD Sandbox is one of FTA’s several ongoing public transportation innovation programs. Currently, interested parties also have the opportunity to apply for $55 million in FY2016 funds via the Low and No-Emissions Vehicle Deployment Program (Low-No), for which the application period closes on May 13, 2016.