Public Transportation Research, Technical Assistance, and Training
The Federal Transit Administration's Research, Development, Demonstration, Deployment, Cooperative Research, Technical Assistance, Standards Development, and Human Resources and Training programs are authorized at 49 U.S.C. 5312, 5313, 5314, and 5322 and collectively seek to develop solutions that improve public transportation. Its primary goals are to increase transit ridership, improve safety and emergency preparedness, improve operating efficiencies, protect the environment, promote energy independence, and provide transit research leadership; develop and conduct workforce development activities, training and educational programs for Federal, State, and local transportation employees, United States citizens, and foreign nationals engaged or to be engaged in Government-aid relating to public transportation work; and to sponsor development of voluntary and consensus-based standards to more effectively and efficiently provide transit service, as well as support the improved administration of Federal transit funds. To accomplish this, FTA funds projects to support research and development, demonstration, deployments of various technologies and operational models for transit; a national cooperative research program, a national training institute, national technical assistance centers, and transit workforce development programs. The Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment Projects program (49 U.S.C. 5312) supports research not generally undertaken by the private sector including studies on transit policy issues, operational efficiency, and travel behavior. These projects will promote the use of clean energy and air quality improvement. The program also funds long-term, high-risk, high-potential payoff investigations of new technologies, which is critical to developing a public transportation system that is efficient, attractive, and reliable. The majority of the funds (75 percent) appropriated under 49 U.S.C 5338 to support this section, must be used for a discretionary Low and No Emission deployment program. The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) (49.U.S.C 5313) funds shorter-term research projects that address immediate operational issues facing the transit industry. These projects are designed to identify immediate improvements in transit safety, equipment and system design, system operations, and the economic development impact of transit investments, among other topic areas. These funds are awarded to the National Academies of Science. The Technical Assistance and Standards (49 U.S.C. 5314) funds support provide resources and direct assistance to support compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), human services transportation coordination requirements, the transportation needs of elderly individuals, increased transit ridership, transportation equity needs, and any other technical assistance activities deemed necessary by FTA, such as improvements in safety and asset management. The Human Resources and Training program (49. U.S.C 5322) creates Ladders of Opportunity to help build pathways for job-seekers by leveraging opportunities in the transit industry in manufacturing, operations and maintenance. This program, among other activities, awards grants to transit agencies and other entities for workforce development programs and projects.
General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Federal Transit Administration, Department of Transportation
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants; C - Direct Payments For Specified Use; L - Dissemination of Technical Information; M - Training
Fiscal Year 2016
FTA continued to implement new programs and manage active programs in accordance with current Federal Public Transportation Law and FTA’s research vision that innovative technologies, projects, partnerships, and world-class Infrastructure promote economic growth, productivity, safety, and improve quality of life in communities. FTA’s research mission is to advance public transportation innovation by leading research, development, demonstration, deployment, evaluation, and implementation practices and technologies that, enhance effectiveness, increase efficiency, expand quality, promote safety, and ultimately improve the transit rider’s experience. FTA awarded agreements for research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects, and evaluation of research and technology of national significance to public transportation that improves public transportation in our nation. Projects were chosen through a new transparent, participatory, and consensus oriented planning process. Also, as there is a five-year authorization, FTA is developing a five-year strategic plan. Following are top accomplishments for FY 2016, and for further information on FY 2016 research projects and their accomplishments please see the 2016 FTA annual research report which can be found at the following URL: https://www.transit.dot.gov/research-innovation/fta-annual-report-fy-2016-public-transportation-innovation-research-projects-fta To support infrastructure capital investment innovations, FTA established a new testing program to assess low or no emission vehicle (LoNo) components. The program provides assessments of low- or no-emission vehicle components, documenting (at a minimum) the maintainability, reliability, performance, structural integrity, efficiency, and noise of the tested components and continues FTA’s legacy of supporting the transit industry in the introduction of advanced technologies to reduce the energy consumption and emissions of transit buses. FTA selected The Ohio State University and Auburn University to receive research funds to conduct the program. Both universities will conduct testing, evaluation, and analysis of low or no emission (LoNo) components intended for use in LoNo transit buses used to provide public transportation. To enhance safety in public transportation systems, the Safety, Resiliency, and All-Hazards Emergency Response and Recovery Research Demonstrations (SRER) Program carried out by FTA continued to work with grantees who are developing and testing new innovative technologies in safety. One example is the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) project that is mitigating the risks of one of the most hazardous roles in rail transportation – inspecting and maintaining track and wayside infrastructure. MARTA partnered with Bombardier to deploy six miles of TrackSafe technology on MARTA's rail system to improve track worker safety and reduce hazards associated with track inspection, maintenance, and repair. The technology alerts track workers to the presence of an approaching train, and train operators and control center staff to the specific location of workers. FTA is also leading projects to develop safety standards and improve safety culture in collaboration with national industry experts. Mobility innovations were accomplished through the Ride to Wellness Program aimed which is seeking to increase access to care, improve health outcomes, and lower healthcare costs through increased partnerships between public transportation and health providers. To help agencies identify ways to utilize automation, an active FY 2016 project is developing materials to help in the planning and executing of U.S. DOT-sponsored transit automation development and demonstration projects. And, the Accessible Transportation Technology Research Initiative (ATTRI) is researching innovative technologies that can increase independence and mobility for people living with disabilities. A yearly statutory program in Section 5312, is the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP): with the National Academies of Science. This cooperative agreement funded transit research activities as recommended by the TCRP Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee, an independent governing board for TCRP. For more information on the projects funded and major accomplishments for TCRP, please see their annual report at the following URL: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/tcrp/TCRPAnnual2016.pdf FTA held a Workforce Development Summit in Washington, DC on June 7, 2016. The meeting was attended by 45 representatives of current active grantees and former FTA recipients, allowing discussions focused on the workforce challenges facing the public transportation industry, innovative projects conducted by grant recipients, collaboration opportunities and the importance of partnerships, funding opportunities, and performance measurement. FTA funds the National Transit Institute Program (NTI), and over the last NTI delivered 322 training courses throughout the U.S. to 7,738 participants with an average cost per course of about $13,000 and an average cost per participant of approximately $580. In addition, NTI conducted 120 sessions of All Hazards Awareness and Preparedness for Transit Employees in preparation for Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California in February 2016, with 1,437 staff of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) trained. The National Transit Institute (NTI) continued its focus to develop and deploy training programs for the public transportation industry. NTI held a workforce summit on behalf of FTA, and over a year period fielded over 300 courses training over 7,200 people. In FY 2016, FTA continued to fund two technical assistance centers: the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC), and the National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM), Accomplishments for the NADTC in 2016 included developing online courses on Section 5310 and other areas; awarding eight community grants; holding five webinars, launching a new website with useful materials that benefit older adults, individuals with disabilities, caregivers, and public transportation providers; and supporting 800# inquiries through the Eldercare Locator. Additionally, the NADTC provided targeted technical assistance in response to locally-identified challenges. NCMM supported FTA by funding $400,000 in planning grants to 16 communities for the development of innovative solutions to healthcare access transportation challenges. Local coalitions of cross-industry providers, including consumers, spanning the healthcare, transportation, human service, and other industries, developed replicable strategies to enhance access to preventive, dialysis, behavioral health, and post-hospitalization care. NCMM also organized and hosted Peer Exchanges in Baltimore and Austin (Texas), allowing transit agencies and MPOs an opportunity to learn from each other about effective transit planning. The NCMM also continued to provide support to communities and shared best practices around the field of mobility management and in the area of coordinated planning.Fiscal Year 2017
1) The National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM) provided technical assistance across all FTA regions anddeveloped useful technical assistance products to promote mobility management, conducted research, presented at meetings, and helped agencies problem-solve. Examples include: NCMM assisted the American Cancer Society with a community partnership strategy in key southern regional metropolitan areas, and assisted with transit system/governance information and general mobility; and managed and provided technical assistance to 16 Healthcare Access Mobility Design Challenge grantees. 2) National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC). Accomplishments included the development of online courses and training materials to assist Section 5310 recipients and sub-recipients with providing transportation services to benefit older adults and people with disabilities. Project also conducted a community grant program, developed webinars and maintained a website with useful materials that benefit older adults, individuals with disabilities, caregivers, and public transportation providers. 3) The National Transit Institute delivered 270 training courses throughout the U.S. to 7,298 participants. 4) The Transit Cooperative Research Program managed 52 active projects; completed 14 publications and updated its Strategic Plan for marketing and dissemination. 5) FTA funded work to develop a Safety Standards Strategic Plan and Data Collection Strategy which included publication of a resource document for the public transportation industry with transit safety standards and protocols and a report titled “ “Review and Evaluation of Public Transportation Safety Standards.” 6) Innovative Safety, Resiliency, and All-Hazards Emergency Response and Recovery (SRER) Program The SRER Program developed innovative approaches to eliminate or mitigate safety hazards, improve infrastructure resiliency, and improve all-hazards emergency response and recovery. FTA funded 12 projects under SRER in 9 states to explore solutions in three areas: (1) operational safety; (2) infrastructure or equipment resiliency; and (3) all-hazards emergency response and recovery methods. Under operational safety, SRER is developing and testing new or substantially improved technologies, methods, practices, and techniques to reduce the risk of transit-related injuries and fatalities for transit workers and riders.Fiscal Year 2018
Information is in new assistance listings 20.530 and 20.531.Fiscal Year 2019
Data is available under assistance listings 20.530 and 20.531.Fiscal Year 2020
Data is available under assistance listings 20.530 and 20.531.
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), Pub. L. 112-141, signed into law on July 6, 2012, and effective October 1, 2012, and the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)., Public Law 112-141, 49 U.S.C. 5312-5314, 5322
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (Public Law No. 114-94), signed into law on December 4, 2015, and effective October 11, 2015, 49 U.S.C. Section 5312/FAST Section 3008 and Section 5314/FAST Section 3009., Public Law 114-94, 49 U.S.C. 5312 & 5314
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicants may include State and local DOT's, nonprofit institutions, universities, and legally constituted public agencies and operators of public transportation services, and private for-profit organizations. Also, urban and rural transit agencies, Indian Tribes, public 4-year degree-granting institutions of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a))-in order to carry out the duties of the NTI.
FTA will specify the credentials and documentation through application instructions from program managers and the individual notices of funding opportunity published to support the various sections and program purposes. At a minimum, the initial proposal should include the standard form required for use as a cover sheet for submission of pre-applications and applications "instructions for application for federal assistance (SF-424) form", project objectives, background, and project description, including schedule, budget, a data management plan, and applicant's organizational experience. Applicants approved will have to do a resolution by an authorized body approving the filing of an application; and complete certifications and assurances as compiled in FTA's Annual List of Certifications and Assurances. Legal opinion and compliance with labor requirements are required later.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Preapplication coordination is required. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review. To the extent funding is available for discretionary activities, FTA will publish specific application instructions in a notice of funding availability or a request for proposals.
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. In addition, FTA guidance for this program can be found in FTA Circular 6100.1E, "Research, Technical Assistance and Training Program: Application Instructions and Program Management Guidelines." Potential applicants should follow the instructions in this Circular, which may be found at the FTA website at https://www.transit.dot.gov/regulations-and-guidance/fta-circulars/final-circulars.
An FTA award obligating Federal funds is reflected in a contract, grant, interagency agreement and/or cooperative agreement. Agreements are awarded electronically, and grants or cooperative agreements use FTA's Transit Award Management System (TrAMS). As a pre-requisite to work with the government and apply for Federal funds, you must have a valid Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, must register in grants.gov; be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM) and continue to maintain an active SAM registration with the current information at all times during which the organization has an active Federal award. To access this web-based system, a user name and password are needed and can be obtained by contacting the appropriate FTA staff. The Federal Transit Administrator makes the final decision to approve a project. To access funds, the recipient must execute the Agreement and be set-up in FTA's financial system. Additionally, project awardees must comply with the DOT public access plan. It is required awardees develop a Data Management Plan that will identify whether and how they will provide for the long-term preservation of, and access, to, Digital Data Sets associated with their research activities; the plan must be in place prior to receiving an award.
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
From 30 to 60 days. Varies
How are proposals selected?
Please see published Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) and Requests for proposals. FTA published notices between FY 2014 and 2015; and has allocated the funding.
How may assistance be used?
See “Objectives”. There are multiple assistance opportunities within this assistance listing. Generally, the program supports research not undertaken by the private sector including studies on transit policy issues, operational efficiency, and travel behavior. Funding will provide for training and educational programs which may include courses in recent developments, techniques, and procedures related to intermodal and public transportation planning; management; environmental factors; acquisition and joint use rights-of-way; engineering and architectural design; procurement strategies for public transportation systems; new technologies; emission reduction technologies; way to make public transportation accessible to individuals with disabilities; construction, construction management, insurance, and risk management; maintenance; contract administration; inspection; innovative finance; workplace safety; and public transportation security. The program will also fund innovative workforce development activities in areas with special emphasis on targeting areas with high unemployment; provide advanced training related to maintenance of alternative energy efficient or zero emission vehicle; and address current or projected workforce shortages in areas that require technical expertise. In addition, it will provide for the development of voluntary and consensus-based standards and best practices by the public transportation industry, including 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.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
• Milestone Progress Reports (MPR). A recipient must submit a quarterly MPR for each active project. The MPR is the primary written communication between the recipient and FTA outlining accomplishments to date which should include tasks accomplished along with outputs, outcomes, and impacts of the work relative to the goals of the program. Recipients are encouraged to highlight major accomplishments that represent a significant result or finding that should be promptly shared. • Final Technical Report. At the conclusion of a project, a recipient must submit a final technical report documenting project performance and the final results, outcomes, and impacts of research, development, demonstration, deployment, or technical evaluation projects, including an executive summary.
Agreement recipients shall retain records for 3 years following submission of a final expenditure report, pending resolution of audit findings, all project contracts documents, financial records, and supporting records.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.
Matching is mandatory. The local share requirements for Section 5312(a) research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects is at least 20% of the project cost unless increased by a clear and direct financial benefit to an entity participating in the project. The local share requirements for the Section 5312(b) research projects is at least 20% of the project cost unless increased by a clear and direct financial benefit to an entity participating in the project. The local share requirements for the Section 5312(c) innovation and development projects is at least 20% of the project cost unless increased by a clear and direct financial benefit to an entity participating in the project. The local share requirements for the Section 5312(d)(1) – (4) demonstration, deployment, and evaluation projects is at least 20% of the project cost unless increased by a clear and direct financial benefit to an entity participating in the project. There is no local share requirement for the Section 5313 Transit Cooperative Research program, The local share requirements for Section 5314(a) voluntary consensus based standards projects is at least 20% of the project cost. The local share requirements for the Section 5314(b) technical assistance to support transportation for seniors and individuals with disabilities projects is at least 20% of the project costs. The local share requirements for the Section 5322(a) Human Resources projects financed under MAP-21 is 50% of the project costs. The local share requirements for the Section 5322(b) Innovative Workforce Development projects is 50% of the project costs. There is no local share requirement for the Section 5322(d) NTI program.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
The period varies with the complexity of the project. Terms and conditions of each agreement are negotiated and agreed upon between FTA and the applicant. Method of Award: by Contract, interagency agreement, Grant or Cooperative Agreement. Projects are typically selected and awarded yearly.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
1200 New Jersey Ave. S.E.
Washington, DC 20590 US
(Project Grants (Contracts)) FY 18$2,179,076.00; FY 19 est $0.00; FY 20 est $0.00; FY 17$33,825,912.00; FY 16$42,000,000.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Most Federal transit laws are codified at Title 49, United States Code, Chapter 53 (49 U.S.C. chapter 53). Authorizing legislation is substantive legislation enacted by Congress that establishes or continues the legal operation of a Federal program or agency. FTA's most recent authorizing legislation is the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), Pub. L. 112-141, signed into law on July 6, 2012 and effective on October 1, 2012; FTA Fiscal Year Annual List of Certifications and Assurances for Federal Transit Administration Grants and Cooperative Agreements; FTA Circular 6100.1E for Research Projects; FTA Circular 4220.1F for Third-Party Contracting Guidance; and FTA Circular 5010.1E for Awards Management Requirements. In certain circumstances and in other fiscal years, contact the FTA Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation is necessary. Also, consult FTA website www.transit.dot.gov. Other information will be made available upon request.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2016
The Safety Research and Demonstration Program is an example of a 2016 program funded by FTA under Section 5312. The Safety Research and Demonstration (SRD) Program is part of a larger safety research effort of the U.S. Department of Transportation that provides technical and financial support for transit agencies to pursue innovative approaches to eliminate or mitigate safety hazards. The SRD Program focused on demonstration of technologies and safer designs. SRD objectives included: 1. Exploring advanced technologies to prevent transit vehicle collisions; 2. Enhanced safety of transit services by incorporating safer design elements; and 3. Evaluated cost-effectiveness and practicability of potential solutions. The FY 2016 SRD Program targets collision avoidance and mitigation and transit worker safety protection. The program provided financial and technical assistance for transit agencies to pursue cutting-edge technologies and innovative approaches to safety. The funding is intended to assess the practicality and effectiveness of potential solutions to improve safety as well as influence transit industry guidance and standards. For additional examples of 2016 program and projects please see the link below for FTA 2016 FTA Annual Research Report which can be found at the following URL: https://www.transit.dot.gov/research-innovation/fta-annual-report-fy-2016-public-transportation-innovation-research-projects-ftaFiscal Year 2017
1. FTA provided technical and financial support for transit agencies to pursue innovative approaches to eliminate or mitigate safety hazards, focusing on demonstration of technologies and safer designs. 2. FTA funded a project to review current transit safety standards, conduct data analysis, and provide recommendations to assist FTA with its effort to develop transit safety standards, guidance, or advisories. 3. FTA funded research to explore technologies, partnerships, and new business models to integrate innovative shared use mobility with existing public transit services. 4. FTA funded demonstration grants for communities to find and test promising, replicable public transportation healthcare access solutions to increase access to care, improve health outcomes, and reduce healthcare costs. 5. FTA funded a demonstration of innovative track asset management practices using an autonomous track inspection system.Fiscal Year 2018
For data, see assistance listing 20.530 and 20.531. 20.530 - Public Transportation Innovation, 20.531 - Technical Assistance and Workforce DevelopmentFiscal Year 2019
For data, see assistance listing 20.530 and 20.531. 20.530 - Public Transportation Innovation, 20.531 - Technical Assistance and Workforce DevelopmentFiscal Year 2020
For data, see assistance listing 20.530 and 20.531. 20.530 - Public Transportation Innovation, 20.531 - Technical Assistance and Workforce Development.