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Competitive

Accelerating Advanced Digital Construction Management Systems Program

What's New

  • On October 13, 2023, FTA announced funding for the Advanced Digital Construction Management Systems (ADCMS) Program. FTA’s Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) solicits proposals from organizations interested in accelerating the use of advanced digital management systems in the transit industry to improve the delivery of transit infrastructure projects.
    • The NOFO makes approximately $5.1 million available for an organization to promote digitally based systems that integrate every step of a capital project -- from planning through asset management -- to ensure projects stay on schedule and on budget. Project proposals are due February 12, 2024.
  • FTA hosted a webinar for potential applicants on Thursday, October 26, 2023. The presentation is available here.

Overview 

The Accelerating Advanced Digital Construction Management Systems Program, created as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law aims to improve how transit agencies deliver capital construction projects. The ADCMS program will fund demonstrations to accelerate the adoption of field-tested digital platforms to reduce costs and improve the delivery of transit infrastructure projects. Digital systems for construction management provide a technology solution for workers throughout the infrastructure project, enabling them to perform tasks faster, more safely, smarter, and more accurately.  

FTA is seeking an organization to identify and demonstrate digital construction management tools to better manage transit construction projects, in partnership with at least two transit agencies. This effort will contribute to a best practices document to guide broader implementation of digital systems.  

Many transit agencies have implemented elements of construction management, such as program management, but not the more holistic, integrated approach provided by advanced digital systems. These systems take advantage of modern technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and real-time data processing to streamline and coordinate work processes across an organization and throughout the project.  

Match

The maximum federal share of project costs under this program is limited to 80 percent. Applicants may seek a lower federal contribution. The applicant must provide the non-Federal share of the net project cost in cash, or in-kind, and must document in its application the source of the non-Federal match. Eligible sources of non-Federal match are detailed in FTA Circular 6100.1E
 

Transit Worker and Rider Safety Best Practices Research Project

What’s New

  • On August 9, 2023, FTA announced a grant for $500,000 under a cooperative agreement with the University of South Florida for a research project to help transit agencies address transit worker and rider assaults. The project will identify public safety risks for transit workers and riders, determine the most effective mitigation strategies to minimize those risks, and promote the implementation of those strategies.

Overview

The Transit Worker and Rider Safety Best Practices Research Project is part of a larger safety research effort at the USDOT to provide technical and financial support to transit agencies and the transit industry to pursue innovative approaches to reduce safety hazards.

FTA seeks to fund a cooperative agreement to:

  • produce a best practices report (phase 1) 
  • conduct pilot demonstration project (phase 2)

This NOFO will provide funding for phase I. Eligibility for phase II is subject to the availability of future funding.

Statutory Reference(s)

Public Transportation Innovation (49 U.S.C. § 5312)

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

  • FTA is working with the American Public Transportation Association and its partner, the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR), to identify current and future priorities for new standards development. This survey is meant to gather responses from a wide section of our industry – transit agency personnel across disciplines (operations, maintenance, safety, human resources, procurement, technology/systems groups, etc.) and within each transit mode – rail, bus, paratransit ferry, etc., transit industry associations, members of the academic community and other researchers, federal and state agency employees, consultants, industry vendors/business groups, and others.
  • On September 14, 2023, FTA published a link to Mobility Standards and Guidelines Resources (MSGR) tool. This tool was developed with the goal to provide information on available standards, open-source specifications, and case studies associated with the interoperability among various components of the Mobility on Demand (MOD)/Mobility as a Service (MaaS) ecosystem.
  • On August 4, 2023, FTA announced the selection of a multi-organizational team led by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) to carry out the new FTA Standards Development Program (SDP). The goal of FTA’s new SDP is to develop voluntary standards, best practices, guidance and tools for the transit industry. Transit standards enable transit agencies to benefit from new technologies and operate their systems consistently and efficiently, and ensure manufacturers meet specific performance criteria, including safety, interoperability, and data integration. The project will begin with APTA and its partners performing broad engagement and assessment of industry needs, evaluation, and prioritization.

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
  • Standard Development Organizations

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).

Selected Project

American Public Transportation Association (APTA)

Resources

  • In calendar years 2021-23, FTA published the following reports under the Standards Development Program: 
BusRailWorkforce
Guidebook for Deploying Battery Electric Buses (Report 0254)Research Report and Findings: Specifications and Guidelines for Rail Tunnel Inspection and Maintenance (Report 0236)FTA Standards Development Program: Medical Fitness for Duty and Fatigue Risk Management (Report 0223)
Procuring and Maintaining Battery Electric Buses and Charging Systems – Best Practices (Report 0253)Research Report and Findings: Review of Specifications and Guidelines for Rail Tunnel Repair and Rehabilitation (Report 0235)FTA Standards Development Program: Over-the-Counter and Prescription Drug Use in the Public Transit Industry (Report 0217)
Safety and Security Certification of Electric Bus Fleets - Industry Best Practices (Report 0252)Research Report and Findings: Light Rail Technology Scan and Case Studies (Report 0234) 
FTA Standards Development Program: Transit Bus Operator Temporary Barrier to Reduce COVID-19 Exposure (Report 0224)Research Report and Findings: Crash Energy Management for Heavy Rail Vehicles, Light Rail Vehicles, and Streetcars (Report 0233) 
Transit Bus Accident Investigations—Background Research (Report 0222)Research Report and Findings: Emergency Egress in Rail Transit Tunnels (Report 0232) 
Effective Practices in Bus Transit Accident Investigations (Report 0204)Research Report and Findings: Specifications and Guidelines for Rail Tunnel Design, Construction, Maintenance, and Rehabilitation (Report 0231) 
FTA Standards Development Program: Crashworthiness/Crash Energy Management for Transit Bus (Report 0179)FTA Standards Development Program: Mitigations for Trespasser and Suicide Fatalities and Injuries (Report 0227) 
FTA Standards Development Program: Crashworthiness/Crash Energy Management Follow-up for Less than 30 Ft Bus (Report 0141)Use of Event Data Recorders in Rail Transit (Report 0226) 
 FTA Standards Development Program: Needs Assessment for Transit Rail Transmission-Based Train Control (TBTC) (Report 0225) 
 Rail Transit Agency Accident Investigations—Background Research (Report 0221) 
 FTA Standards Development Program: Rail Transit Roadway/Pedestrian Grade Crossing, Exploratory Report (Report 0216)
 
 
 Research Report and Findings: Review of Standards for Track Inspection and Maintenance (Report 0215) 
 FTA Standards Development Program: Rail Transit Roadway Worker Protection (Report 0212) 
 Effective Practices in Rail Transit Accident Investigations (Report 0203) 
 Inward- and Outward-facing Audio and Video Recordings for Transit Rail Vehicles (Report 0200) 
 Emergency Lighting and Signage for Rail Transit Passenger Vehicles (Report 0199) 

Rail Vehicle Replacement Grants

Replacing Aging Transit RailcarsWhat's New

  • On February 21, 2024, FTA announced the allocation of approximately $631 million to 3 projects in 3 states in funding from the Rail Vehicle Replacement Program. 
  • On November 2, 2023, FTA held a public webinar with information about the Rail Program and how to apply.

Overview

The Rail Vehicle Replacement Program makes funding available competitively to help fund capital projects to replace rail rolling stock. For the purposes of this program, rail rolling stock is defined as revenue service, passenger carrying vehicles, or propulsion (locomotives) vehicles necessary for the provision of rail public transportation. The program is a set-aside of the State of Good Repair Formula Grants Program (49 U.S.C. 5337).

Eligible Recipients

Eligible recipients are state and local government authorities in urbanized areas (UZAs) that are eligible for State of Good Repair Formula Funding (Section 5337).

Eligible Activities

Eligible activities are the replacement of rail rolling stock. For the purposes of this program, rail rolling stock is defined as revenue service, passenger carrying vehicles, or propulsion (locomotives) vehicles necessary for the provision of rail public transportation. Funded capital projects must be in an agency’s Transit Asset Management (TAM) plan, according to 49 CFR 625.

Statutory Reference

49 U.S.C. 5337 / Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Bipartisan Infrastructure Law), §30016 

Match

The federal share is not to exceed 80 percent of the net project cost. The maximum share of the grant funding cannot exceed 50 percent of the net project cost.

For example, a rail vehicle replacement project with a total eligible cost of $100,000,000 may receive up to $50,000,000 from this program. The remaining $50,000,000 could be provided from a combination of non-Federal and other Federal funds, up to $30,000,000 of which could be other Federal funding. For a $100,000,000 project, at least $20,000,000 (20-percent) must be non-Federal funds.

Selected Projects

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) for Transit Buses Demonstration and Automated Transit Bus Maintenance and Yard Operations Demonstration Program

What's New

  • On June 8 , 2023, FTA announced $11.6 million to six projects to research automation technologies to improve safety and efficiency in bus service and yard operations. 
  • On September 22, 2022, FTA announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to solicit proposals from organizations interested in advancing research into transit bus automation through demonstrations of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and automation of bus movements in transit bus yards. The demonstration projects will help determine potential benefits, costs, and other impacts of transit bus automation. The demonstration projects will also provide transit agencies with resources, guidance, and tools to make informed deployment decisions.

Overview

The Transit Bus Automation Research program provides $5 million for ADAS for Transit Buses demonstrations to help improve transit bus safety and efficiency. Another $1.5 million for an initial phase of Automated Transit Bus Maintenance and Yard Operations demonstrations is available to improve worker efficiency and safety in bus yards.

As part of FTA’s Strategic Transit Automation Research (STAR) Plan, the projects will demonstrate transit bus automation technologies in real-world settings, help establish the feasibility of deploying ADAS and Automated Transit Bus Maintenance and Yard Operations, and improve understanding of the impacts, including transit workforce impacts. Additional information may be found on FTA’s Transit Automation Research webpage.

Eligible Projects

Eligible activities for the ADAS for Transit Buses Demonstration include engineering activities leading to the demonstration of ADAS use cases, such as requirements, architecture, and design development; equipment installation and integration; and pre-demonstration testing. Workforce engagement, training, and skills development activities related to the demonstration are also eligible. Projects will consist of a 12-month minimum for operational demonstration in revenue service. Eligible projects must propose to demonstrate at least one ADAS use case.

Eligible activities for the Automation for Maintenance and Yard Operations Demonstration include applicable systems engineering activities leading to the proof-of-concept demonstration, such as requirements, architecture, and design development; equipment installation and integration; and testing. Workforce engagement, training, and skills development activities related to the demonstration are also eligible.

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants under this NOFO include the following:

  • Public transit agencies
  • State/local government entities
  • Metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs)
  • Federally recognized Indian tribes
  • Institutions of higher education, particularly those with Minority Serving Institution status

Applications must clearly identify the eligible applicant and all project partners on the project team. Eligible project partners under this program may include, but are not limited to:

  • Bus manufacturers
  • Technology system suppliers, developers, and integrators
  • Operators of transportation services, such as employee shuttle services, airport connector services, university transportation systems, or parking and tolling authorities
  • State or local government entities
  • Labor unions and other workforce representatives
  • Other organizations, including consultants, research consortia, and not-for-profit industry organizations

In the application, eligible applicants are encouraged to identify one or more project partners with a substantial interest and involvement in the project activities or objectives to participate in the implementation of the project. 

If an application that involves such a partnership is selected for funding, the competitive selection process will be deemed to satisfy the requirement for a competitive procurement under 49 U.S.C. 5325(a) for the named entities. Applicants are advised that any changes from the proposed partnership after selection will require FTA’s written approval, must be consistent with the scope of the approved project, and may require competitive procurement unless an exception applies.

To be considered eligible, applicants must be able to demonstrate the requisite legal, financial, and technical capabilities to receive and administer Federal funds under this program. 

Statutory Reference

Federal public transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5312) authorizes FTA’s Public Transportation Innovation Program. Through this program, FTA may support research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects, and evaluation of research and technology of national significance to public transportation that the Secretary determines will improve public transportation service.

Allocation of Funding

Up to $6.5 million is available for demonstration projects, including $5 million for ADAS for Transit Buses and $1.5 million for an initial phase of Automated Transit Bus Maintenance and Yard Operations. Subject to availability, additional funding may be provided to implement a second phase of the Automated Transit Bus Maintenance and Yard Operations Demonstration. The ADAS for Transit Buses Demonstration and Automated Transit Bus Maintenance and Yard Operations Demonstration Competitive Funding Opportunity is funded under FTA’s Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment Program authority.

Match

The maximum Federal share of project costs under this program is limited to 80 percent. Applicants may seek a lower Federal contribution. The applicant must provide the non-Federal share of the net project cost in cash, or in-kind, and must document in its application the source of the non-Federal match. Eligible sources of non-Federal match are detailed in FTA Circular 6100.1E.
 

Community Project Funding/Congressionally Directed Spending

What’s New

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (Public Law 117-328) appropriated $360.5 million in Transit Infrastructure Grants for Community Project Funding (CPF), also known as Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS).  

Overview

CPF is appropriated and allocated from the General Fund for Transit Infrastructure Grants only on an annual basis and at the discretion of Congress. The total funding amounts are specified in the Consolidated Appropriations Act corresponding with each fiscal year, if applicable. The list of projects are found in the accompanying Joint Explanatory Statement.

Eligible Recipients

CPF recipients and their allocations are determined by Congress. All recipients are specifically identified in the Appropriations Act corresponding with the applicable fiscal year.

Eligible Activities

Expenses for these projects that are eligible under FTA’s authorizing language in federal law (Chapter 53 of Title 49, United States Code) are eligible for reimbursement.  

Match

Fiscal year 2022 CPF grants are funded at 100 percent federal share, as Congress did not specify a local match requirement. Fiscal year 2023 CPF grants are available at up to an 80 percent federal share.

Statutory Reference

Projects

The current year CPF allocations (Apportionment Table 20) and the prior year unobligated allocations (Apportionment Table 21) are updated annually and posted on Current Apportionments. The following amounts have currently been appropriated to date:

  • Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (Pub. L. 117-328, 2022) $360,459,324
  • Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (Pub. L. 117-103, 2022) $200,798,267

Mobility, Access & Transportation Insecurity: Creating Links to Opportunity Research and Demonstration Program

"Metro Station"

What's New

  • On January 11, 2024, the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies released a MATI Program Request for Proposals (RFP). The RFP will lead to the selection of applicants that will participate in a multi-phase demonstration to address issues of transportation insecurity. More information on the RFP and supporting outreach efforts are available here
  • On November 13, 2023 the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies, the MATI Program Research Lead, hosted a public webinar offering an overview of the upcoming Request for Proposals (RFP) for the MATI Demonstration Program. The UMN team reviewed the MATI program and timeline offering attendees the opportunity to share input about the focus of the program and the elements included in the RFP.
  • On February 8, 2023, FTA announced the selection of the University of Minnesota-Center for Transportation Studies as the program lead for the Mobility, Access & Transportation Insecurity: Creating Links to Opportunity Research and Demonstration program, following the notice of funding opportunity published August 9, 2022. More information about the MATI program, including information for communities considering applying to be a demonstration site, will follow soon.

Overview

The Mobility, Access & Transportation Insecurity: Creating Links to Opportunity Research and Demonstration program lead will support FTA in establishing an initiative to explore strategies to improve people’s mobility and access to daily needs and evaluate outcomes and impacts upon individuals and communities.  FTA’s efforts aim to support an equitable, integrated transportation system that meets transportation needs for low-income individuals and/or communities of need.

Eligible Activities

All activities leading to the establishment of a research and demonstration program that will explore interventions to ensure mobility access and evaluate outcomes and impacts. Eligible activities include:

  • data collection
  • transportation feasibility study and analysis
  • economic analysis
  • stakeholder engagement and outreach
  • obtaining necessary equipment and services
  • acquiring or developing software and hardware interfaces to implement the project
  • performance measurement and evaluation

Eligible demonstrations must target low-income people and communities that routinely experience a lack of reliable transportation. All demonstrations should share similar characteristics of target population, urban context, and availability of public transportation resources. Eligible research demonstration activities include:

  • planning, engineering, or development of technical or financing plans 
  • public engagement and participant recruitment
  • capital or operating expenses serving the treatment group
  • technology application 
  • similar necessary components to design and select demonstrations.

Eligible Recipients

Eligible applicants include:

  • Departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the government, including federal laboratories
  • Institutions of higher education including research universities, particularly those with minority-serving institution status
  • Non-profit organizations
  • For-profit organizations 
  • Technical and community colleges

Eligible applicants may also identify one or more partners with substantial expertise, interest, and involvement in the proposed effort. 

Statutory Reference

FTA's Public Transportation Innovation Program (49 U.S.C. 5312) supports research and demonstrations to develop and deploy ideas, practices and approaches that advance the interests of public transportation. This NOFO (Federal Assistance Listing: 20.530) was developed to establish a research demonstration program to explore interventions toa ensure mobility access and evaluate outcomes and impacts upon individuals and communities, pursuant to that authority.

Allocation of Funding

The Mobility, Access & Transportation Insecurity: Creating Links to Opportunity Demonstration Research Program is funded under FTA’s Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment program authority.

Match 

As permitted under 49 U.S.C. § 5312, given the substantial public interest of conducting research of national significance to inform public policy, the federal share may be up to 100 percent.

All Stations Accessibility Program

What's New

  • On December 19, 2023, FTA held a public webinar with information about the All Stations Accessibility Program and how to apply.
  • On November 30, 2023, FTA announced approximately $343 million available for Fiscal Year 2024 funding to help make it easier for people with disabilities and mobility needs to access some of the nation's oldest and busiest rail transit systems through essential upgrades, such as elevators. There is no award maximum or cap for ASAP grants. A webinar for the FY24 ASAP opportunity will be held on December 19, 2023, 1:00 PM – 2:00PM EDT. Register for the webinar.
     
  • On December 19, 2022, FTA announced that 15 projects in nine states will receive support to help make it easier for people with disabilities and mobility needs to access some of the nation’s oldest and busiest rail transit systems through essential upgrades, such as elevators. Funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, these grants represent the first round of funding designed to improve accessibility so everyone, including those who use wheelchairs, push strollers, or cannot easily navigate stairs, can reliably access the rail systems in their communities. FTA will provide approximately $686 million in FY22 and FY23 funding.

Overview

The All Stations Accessibility Program makes competitive funding available to assist in the financing of capital projects to repair, improve, modify, retrofit, or relocate infrastructure of stations or facilities to make all public areas of the station accessible to people with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs.

Eligible Recipients

Eligible applicants for ASAP include designated recipients that allocate funds to legacy rail fixed guideway public transportation systems, states (including territories and Washington D.C.) or local governmental entities that operate legacy rail fixed guideway public transportation systems. 

Eligible Activities

Eligible activities are capital projects to upgrade the accessibility of legacy rail fixed guideway public transportation systems for people with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs, by increasing the number of existing stations or facilities for passenger use that meet or exceed the new construction standards of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12131). Activities include:

  • Repairing, improving, modifying, retrofitting, or relocating infrastructure of stations or facilities for passenger use, including load-bearing members that are an essential part of the structural frame;
  • Developing or modifying a plan for pursuing public transportation accessibility projects, assessments of accessibility, or assessments of planned modifications to stations or facilities for passenger use or programs of projects in an eligible area.

Match

The federal share is not to exceed 80 percent of the net project cost for capital expenditures.

Statutory Reference

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Division J 

Additional Resources

FTA Ferry Programs

 

What's New

  • On April 17, 2024, FTA announced $316 million is available for Fiscal Year 2024 funding to improve and expand ferry service in communities across the country to help people connect to jobs and opportunity. View the notice of funding opportunity.
     
  • On November 30, 2023, FTA announced $220.2 million in grant awards to 13 projects in 8 states and the Territory of American Samoa to expand, improve and modernize passenger ferry service to provide more people access to jobs and opportunities.
    • Funding includes:
      • $50.1 million under the Passenger Ferry Grant Program to seven projects in four states.
      • $170 million under the Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program to six projects in four states and the territory of American Samoa.

Ferry Programs:

Passenger Ferry Grant Program – Section 5307(h)

The Passenger Ferry Grant Program makes funding available competitively to assist in the financing of capital projects to support passenger ferry systems in urbanized areas, such as ferry vessels, terminals, and related infrastructure. On November 30, 2023, FTA announced $50.1 million in grant selections to 7 projects in 4 states.

Electric or Low-Emitting Ferry Pilot Program - IIJA § 71102

Earlier this year, FTA announced $384.4 million in project selections through its Ferry Grant Programs, with $97.6 million in funding going toward the The Electric or Low-Emitting Ferry Pilot Program In January 2023, FTA awarded $97.6 million using Fiscal Year 2022 and 2023 funds from the Electric or Low-Emitting Ferry Pilot Program to 7 projects in 7 states.  

Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program - IIJA § 71103

The Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program provides competitive funding to States to ensure basic essential ferry service is provided to rural areas. On November 30, 2023, FTA announced $170 million in grant selections to six projects in four states and the territory of American Samoa.

Bus Exportable Power Systems (BEPS)

Illustration of a bus connected a building using an exportable power system.
Figure 1: Integrated BEPS configuration

What's New

  • On August 4, 2022, FTA announced the selection of a research group led by Inventev in Detroit, Michigan, to carry out the BEPS program. 
  • Inventev and its partners have now started the process of developing standards and specifications for BEPS technologies.
  • The target completion date is September 2024 with a hardware demonstration of BEPS in a practical environment.

Overview

FTA’s Bus Exportable Power Systems (BEPS) program enables public transportation agencies, communities, and states to access resilient and flexible power options through hybrid electric bus fleet vehicles during major power disruptions. This program builds on BEPS technologies developed under FTA’s previous research grants that provided the ability to address a need for generating power immediately after natural disasters by transforming hybrid electric and fuel cell buses into mobile power generators.

The goal of this project is to develop “standards” to interconnect electrified transit buses to buildings, shelters, and microgrids for use as an emergency power supply after incidents that disrupt the local power grid.   

Goal

To develop national interoperable BEPS standards – working with FTA, industry stakeholders and technical partners – so that different manufacturers’ systems can use the same technology base and applications for BEPS solutions.

Objectives

The primary objectives of BEPS program are:

  • completion of an industry literature review on BEPS assessing system parameters, specifications, past results and recommendations; 
  • technology scans, surveys or case studies with transit agencies with experience utilizing BEPS; 
  • standards development;  
  • demonstration of a plug-and-play BEPS system that includes minimum specifications and parameters for interoperability; 
  • and a guide to implementing a BEPS system using these standards.

Eligible Activities

Eligible activities include all activities and efforts leading to the development of interoperable BEPS standards. Examples of project activities and efforts include but not limited to:

  • System design and demonstration of portable units, industry survey and data collection on existing BEPS systems; 
  • System specifications and standards development; 
  • Innovations for providing more effective and efficient BEPS systems using public-private partnerships with non-traditional transportation providers; 
  • Stakeholder collaboration convenings; literature reviews or case studies on BEPS systems; 
  • Surveys on BEPS systems in other industries that could be applicable to public transit BEPS systems; data collection and analytics; 
  • Establishing various use cases for BEPS deployment needs; defining system requirements; modeling and simulation; 
  • Development, validation and verification of the specification; and 
  • Development of industry standards and a guidebook for BEPS solutions that can be shared with the transit industry, including hybrid electric and fuel cell transit bus manufacturers.

Eligible Recipients

Eligible recipients 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, or consultants;
  • State, city or local government entities, including multi-jurisdictional partnerships, and organizations such as Metropolitan Planning Organizations;
  • Other organizations, including research consortia, not-for-profit industry organizations, and institutions of higher education, including large research universities, particularly those with Minority Serving Institution status;
  • Standard Development Organizations (SDOs)

Statutory Reference

The Standard Development for Bus Exportable Power Systems Competitive Funding Opportunity implements House Appropriations Committee direction accompanying  the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Pub. L. 116-260), that directed FTA to fund no less than $1,000,000 to develop interoperable national standards for BEPS that allow use of hybrid electric, and fuel cell buses as mobile power generators to power facilities such as hospitals following natural disasters, and is authorized under Technical Assistance and Workforce Development Program (49 U.S.C. § 5314).

Allocation of Funding

BEPS projects are funded under FTA’s Technical Assistance and Workforce Development Program.

Match

The Federal share of project costs under this program is 100 percent. 

The Value of Bus Exportable Power Systems

BEPS will perform a critical role in emergency situations:

  • Electric buses will have the ability to drive up to buildings such as a schools, places of worship, or stores and within a very short time be able to provide 75kW of power to maintain all important functions.  
  • The power source will let the buildings function as an emergency shelter or at least perform in normal capacity.
  • In addition to electric buses, hybrid or fuel-cell buses will also be able to provide this emergency power due to standards compatibility.

Potential Users of Bus Exportable Power Systems

Multiple users will be able to use BEPS safely and efficiently including:

  • Owners/operators of the buildings.
  • Local, state, and federal authorities who designate buildings as safety and resilience centers.
  • Fire, police, and other emergency personnel.

BEPS Interim Solution

The figure below shows the BEPS configuration with external inverter to transfer power from an electric or hybrid bus to a building. This is an interim solution until the manufacturers integrate power conversion in the bus. The integrated BEPS configuration is shown above.

Figure of bus connected to an external unit on one side of the unit and connected to the building.
Figure 2: BEPS with external inverter

Resources

Bus Exportable Power Supply (BEPS) System Use Strategy: Investigating the Use of Transit Buses as Emergency Generators (Report 0146)

Additional Information

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