USDOT Preparing for Second Round of SMART Grants

The U.S. Department of Transportation is now accepting applications for the second round of its new Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation or SMART grants program through October 10.

[Above photo by USDOT]

The SMART program – established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA – provides up to $500 million in grants over five years to conduct demonstration projects focused on “advanced smart community technologies and systems” that improve both transportation efficiency and safety.

USDOT Sec. Pete Buttigieg. Photo by AASHTO.

“New technologies like connected vehicles, smart traffic signals, and more have the potential to make our transportation system dramatically safer and more efficient, yet many public sector agencies aren’t equipped to harness the full potential of these innovations,” explained Pete Buttigieg, USDOT secretary, in a statement.

The agency pointed out that this second SMART notice of funding opportunity is accepting applications for “Stage 1 Planning and Prototyping” grants; providing funding for efforts aimed at solving real-world transportation problems and focused on building data and technology capacity and experience for state, local, and tribal governments.

Successful projects will create sustainable partnerships across sectors and levels of governments engaging industry, labor, academia, and nonprofits to better meet community transportation needs, noted Robert Hampshire, USDOT’s deputy assistant secretary for research and technology and chief scientist.

Dr. Robert Hampshire. Photo by the USDOT.

“[The] inaugural SMART grants reflected this dynamic, centering on solutions in areas like safety, transit innovation, and managing public space, addressing pressing challenges in communities with right-sized innovations,” he pointed out.

The program also recognizes that many public sector transportation agencies face challenges finding the resources and personnel to leverage new technologies; so, the program builds in the time and support to enable successful deployment. 

The funding opportunity is open to public sector entities seeking to carry out transportation projects that demonstrate at least one of the following technology areas: Coordinated automation; connected vehicles; systems integration; delivery/logistics; innovative aviation; smart grid; and traffic signals.

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