FTA Funding to Support Bus Automation Testing

The Federal Transit Administration recently made $6.5 million in research funding available to support bus automation projects that will improve transit system safety and efficiency.

[Above photo by New Flyer]

Examples of bus automation projects include strategies for avoiding collisions with pedestrians, improved emergency braking, and precision movement for bus fueling, charging and maintenance, the agency said in a statement.

Via a notice of funding opportunity, FTA is making $5 million available for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems for to improve bus operator safety and efficiency. Another $1.5 million is available for automated transit bus maintenance to improve efficiency and safety in bus support facilities.

Photo by the FTA

As part of its commitment to helping transit workers prepare for technological industry advancements, FTA will look at potential impacts on the workforce resulting from applications submitted through this funding opportunity.

As described in the agency’s Strategic Transit Automation Research or STAR Plan, FTA said it continues to explore the use of automation technologies in bus systems.

The agency is also funding several demonstration projects in real-world settings to determine potential benefits, costs, and other impacts of automation and is providing transit agencies with resources, guidance, and tools to make informed decisions as they consider deploying transit buses with automated features.

Research priorities will include exploring how new technology can improve safety by reducing collisions caused by human error, both by bus drivers and other people on the road, FTA said.

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