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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Standards Development Program

Collage of four images consisting of a bus, light rail train, heavy railcar and Standards Development report cover and pages.

What's New

Overview

The Standards Development Program (SDP) seeks to develop meaningful transit standards, including minimum performance standards and best practices for efficient, reliable and safe operation of public transportation systems, both rail and non-rail modes.

The goals of FTA’s SDP are to:

  • Determine the need to revise or expand existing transit standards due to innovation and technological advancements
  • Determine the need for new transit standards in areas where standards are lacking or where there are gaps within existing standards
  • Work with the transit industry to develop and implement safety and other standards and best practices

The primary objectives of the SDP are to:

  • Conduct background literature review, data gathering and analysis to determine gaps and needs for standards development
  • Work with industry stakeholders to inform the standard development process, including associated transit research reports and findings
  • Work with Standard Development Organizations (SDOs) to develop guidance documents, standards, or recommended practices for voluntary adoption by the transit industry

Eligible Activities

In accordance with Federal public transportation law (U.S.C. § 5314(a)(1)(B)), activities may include technical assistance and the development of voluntary and consensus-based standards and best practices by the public transportation industry. This includes standards and best practices for safety, fare collection, intelligent transportation systems, accessibility, procurement, security, asset management to maintain a state of good repair, operations, maintenance, vehicle propulsion, communications, and vehicle electronics.

The SDP provides funding for background literature review, analysis, testing, and evaluation of industry critical topic areas, in accordance with Federal public transportation law (U.S.C. § 5314(a)(1)(B)). SDP program funds are used to advance FTA’s standards program through targeted technical assistance and the support activities indicated above in safety and non-safety topic areas to determine if standards should be developed or if existing standards should be modified to address these topic areas. Eligible activities also include the development of public transportation standards in partnership with the transit industry and SDOs. 

The SDP does not include funding for capital procurements.

Eligible Recipients

Eligible project partners and sub-recipients may include, but are not limited to:

  • Public transportation systems
  • Private for-profit and nonprofit organizations, including technology system suppliers and bus manufacturers
  • Operators of transportation, such as employee shuttle services or airport connector services or university transportation systems
  • State or local government entities
  • Other organizations that may contribute to the success of the project team including consultants, research consortia or nonprofit industry organizations, and institutions of higher education

Statutory References

Technical Assistance and Workforce Development (49 U.S.C. § 5314(a)(1)(B))

Allocation of Funding

Standards Development Program projects are funded under Technical Assistance and Workforce Development (49 U.S.C. § 5314).

Match

At this time, the federal share of project costs under this program is 100 percent. 

Selected Projects

American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Standards Project 
Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) Standards Projects 

Last updated: Friday, March 12, 2021