USDOT announces $94M in SMART Grants to create safer, more equitable transportation systems

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The U.S. Department of Transportation said it had awarded 59 grants totaling more than $94 million on Tuesday.

The new Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) grant will help state, local, and Tribal governments create safer, more equitable, efficient, and innovative transportation systems, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.

“Every major advancement in the history of U.S. transportation has involved technological progress,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “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.”

Among the awardees are five state Departments of Transportation projects that will improve safety for workers and drivers in work zones, including a multi-state collaboration to deploy Automated Truck-Mounted Crash Attenuators. Other projects in Alabama, Georgia, Connecticut, and New York will focus on improving transit reliability, speed, and fare payments.

Grants were also awarded to cities. In Buffalo, N.Y.; Los Angeles, Cal.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Philadelphia, Pa.; and Portland, Ore., projects will leverage sensors and data to help cities understand and improve curb management practices. In Cleveland, Ohio, and others across the country, grants were awarded for projects that demonstrate smart-traffic signal technologies including Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures, and transit and emergency vehicle signal priority.

Other projects will focus on smart grids to prepare communities for more widespread adoption of electric vehicles, sensor deployments to enable new data collection to increase safety from a flood warning system in Texas, crash detection in Tennessee, and at-grade rail crossing safety in Oregon.

The program is in its first year and will ultimately make $500 million available over a five-year period. The DOT received applications for six times the amount available in grants.

“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.