On November 12, 2021, FTA released a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to solicit project proposals for the Enhancing Mobility Innovation Competitive Funding Opportunity. The NOFO makes available $2 million in Fiscal Year 2021 funds. Project proposals are due January 11, 2022.
FTA’s Enhancing Mobility Innovation program advances a vision of mobility for all – safe, reliable, equitable, and accessible services that support complete trips for all travelers. The program promotes technology projects that center the passenger experience and encourage people to get on board, such as integrated fare payment systems and user-friendly software for demand-response public transportation.
The Enhancing Mobility Innovation program supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities to promote equity and advance transportation that is climate-smart.
Enhancing Mobility Innovation projects fall under two categories:
- Accelerate innovative mobility: Concept development and/or demonstration projects that improve mobility and enhance the rider experience with a focus on innovative service delivery models, creative financing, novel partnerships, and integrated payment solutions
- Software solutions: Projects that support the development of software solutions that facilitate integrated demand-response public transportation that dispatches transit vehicles through riders’ mobile devices or other means
This program builds on FTA’s existing mobility innovation investments, such as the Mobility on Demand Sandbox, the Accelerating Innovative Mobility Initiative and the Integrated Mobility Innovation Program. FTA seeks targeted projects of national significance that can advance the goals of Enhancing Mobility Innovation to:
- Support innovation in passenger-centric mobility that meets evolving needs
- Advance equitable and climate-smart transportation
- Contribute to knowledge of national significance to improve public transportation service
- Advance the vision of mobility for all
Eligible activities include all activities leading to the development and/or testing of innovative mobility project efforts. This notice solicits applications in two topical areas:
- Projects that develop novel operational concepts and/or demonstrate innovations that improve mobility and enhance the rider experience, focused on innovative service delivery models, creative financing, novel partnerships, and integrated payment solutions, or other innovative solutions.
- Eligible activities may include all activities leading to uncovering the next iteration of promising technologies, practices and strategies that accelerate innovations in mobility for transit, including, but not limited to, technology scanning and feasibility analysis, stakeholder engagement and outreach, planning, acquiring essential equipment or services, project implementation, modeling forecast of climate and equity impacts of proposed novel concepts and evaluating project results.
- Projects that develop software to facilitate demand-response public transportation that dispatches transit vehicles through riders’ mobile devices or other means.
- Eligible activities may include establishing user needs; defining system requirements; development, validation and verification of the software; modeling and simulation; and/or pilot implementation, with a software solution.
Eligible applicants include:
- Providers of public transportation, including public transportation agencies, state or local government DOTs, and federally recognized Indian tribes
- Private for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, including shared-use mobility providers, private operators of transportation services, technology system suppliers and integrators, bus or vehicle manufacturers or suppliers, software and technology developers, financial institutions, consultants, research consortia, and industry organizations
- State, city or local government entities, including multi-jurisdictional partnerships, and organizations such as Metropolitan Planning Organizations
- Institutions of higher education including large research universities, particularly those with Minority Serving Institution status
Eligible applicants are encouraged to identify one or more project partners with a substantial interest and involvement in the project to participate in the implementation of the project.
The Enhancing Mobility Innovation Competitive Funding Opportunity implements two provisions of the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Pub. L. 116-260), that directs FTA to fund $1,000,000 to accelerate mobility innovations that improve mobility and enhance the rider experience, and $1,000,000 to fund competitive awards for the development of software solutions to facilitate demand-response public transportation, and is authorized under the Public Transportation Innovation Program (49 U.S.C. § 5312).
Allocation of Funding
The Enhancing Mobility Innovation projects are funded under FTA’s Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment program authority.
The federal share of project costs under this program is limited to 80 percent. Proposers may seek a lower Federal contribution. The applicant must provide the local share of the net project cost in cash, or in-kind, and must document in its application the source of the local match.