November 29, 2022
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The U.S. Department of Transportation is now accepting applications for two programs that, in total, will make some $160 million available annually for the next five years for projects that use technology to improve the nation’s transportation infrastructure while also making communities safer.

[Above photo by the USDOT]

The first is the new Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation or SMART grant program, created by the $1.2 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA, enacted in November 2021.

That program will offer up to $100 million in grants annually over the next five years and aims to fund projects that use data and technology to solve “real-world challenges” such as vehicle automation and connectivity; smart traffic signals; and new ways to monitor and manage infrastructure, such as via sensors and drones.

Dr. Robert Hampshire. Photo by the USDOT.

“Achieving our transportation priorities related to safety, economic strength, equity, and climate requires bold investment in new technologies and approaches,” said Dr. Robert Hampshire, USDOT’s deputy assistant secretary for research and technology and chief science officer, in a statement.

“SMART supports a broad portfolio of projects across the country that will serve as beacons as we move toward a transportation system that is data-driven, values-based, and technology-enabled,” he added.

The second is the $60 million Advanced Transportation Technology and Innovation or ATTAIN program overseen by the Federal Highway Administration. It focuses on funding “advanced technologies” to improve safety and reduce travel times for drivers and transit riders alike.

The IIJA also added a new aspect to the ATTAIN project, adding in evaluations on how they consider climate change and environmental justice impacts – including how they reduce transportation-related air pollution and address the disproportionate impacts on disadvantaged communities.

“As we level the playing field and improve the travel experience for everyone, we need to promote the use of state-of-the-art technologies, and the ATTAIN program does just that,” said Stephanie Pollack, FHWA’s acting administrator.

editor@aashto.org

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