WASHINGTON — U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has announced the first round of grants totaling more than $94 million for 59 projects across the country through the new Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grants Program.
The competitive grant program, established by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, provides state, local and tribal governments $500 million over five years “to leverage technology to create safer, more equitable, efficient and innovative transportation systems,” according to a news release.
“Every major advancement in the history of U.S. transportation has involved technological progress,” Buttigieg said. “The investments we are making today are about fostering innovations that improve people’s day-to-day lives, making transportation safer, more reliable, more efficient and more sustainable.”
The funding will support a diverse array of topics and communities, as listed below:
- Five State DOTs are working on projects that will improve safety for workers and drivers in work zones, including a multi-state collaboration that will deploy Automated Truck-Mounted Crash Attenuators, and projects that will leverage the Work Zone Data Exchange (WZDx) Specification. Additionally, over a dozen other SMART projects address worker safety.
- A number of projects will help improve transit reliability, speed, and fare payment, making the experience more seamless for riders. Projects in Alabama, Georgia, Connecticut, and New York will focus on transit innovation with investments in data integration, transit incentives, and accessibility tools.
- The City of Cleveland and others will demonstrate smart traffic signal technologies including Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures and transit and emergency vehicle signal priority.
- Cities across the U.S. including Buffalo, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Portland, Oregon, will leverage sensors and data to help cities understand and improve curb management practices by allocating their curb space to best serve local businesses, facilitate deliveries and integrate with transit and active transportation.
- Communities in Maine, Colorado and Massachusetts will focus on smart grid projects to prepare their communities for more widespread adoption of electric vehicles, including cars, buses and aircraft and ground vehicles at airports.
- Sensor deployments will enable new data collection and operational approaches, ranging from a flood warning system in Harris County, Texas, to crash detection in Nashville, to improved safety at Seattle’s at-grade rail crossings.
- Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) projects will leverage innovative aviation technology for infrastructure inspections in Alaska, California and Kansas, as well as medical package deliveries along Virginia’s Eastern Shore and in the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation.
- The Michigan Department of Transportation and Whatcom Council of Governments will integrate sensors and data to facilitate commerce at international border crossings, strengthening supply chains, reducing delays and minimizing congestion impacts in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest.
- Connected vehicle projects in states including Arizona, Michigan, Texas and Utah will deploy connectivity demonstrations that focus on topics like transit prioritization and safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
The first year of the program was oversubscribed with $6 of applications for every $1 available for grants, the news release noted.
“We are thrilled to see the interest in SMART during its inaugural year. This shows the important role this new program can play in helping support State, local, and Tribal efforts to advance technology applications,” said Dr. Robert C. Hampshire, deputy assistant secretary for research and technology and chief science officer.
This year’s awardees will build internal teams and partnerships as they refine their concepts, focus on technology procurement and demonstration, develop labor and workforce roadmaps and position their projects for impact in their communities, according to the news release.
The full list of awards totaling $94,783,781 can be viewed here. The maximum award per project was $2,000,000 for this round of funding. The next funding opportunity of $100 million is expected to be released this fall.
An interactive map depicting all SMART projects can be found here.
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