US govt awards $65m in transport technology grants


The US Department of Transport has awarded almost $65 million in grants to cities around the country for the development of new smart transport technologies.

Projects funded by the initiatives, which are distributed via the Federal Highway Administration’s Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) programme and the Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox programme overseen by the Federal Transit Administration, will improve the efficiency of the US’ highway network, make the most of existing capacity and encourage the better use of data in traffic planning.

Announcing the grants, US transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said technology is transforming how people move around the US, and a lot of the most exciting innovations are happening at the local level.

He highlighted developments such as autonomous vehicles, better data analytics and connected infrastructure as key contributors to this.

“These grants will enable cities and rural communities to harness new technologies to tackle hard problems like reducing congestion, connecting people to mass transit, and enhancing safety,” he said.

Among the cities receiving grants as part of the ATCMTD scheme is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which has been awarded $11 million for the development its its Smart City Challenge program. This will include innovations such as the deployment of smart traffic signal technology along major corridors that aims to reduce congestion at intersections by up to 40 per cent.

Elsewhere, Denver, Colorado, will receive around $6 million in order to develop connected vehicle technology to help alleviate the congestion caused by the influx of around 200,000 commuters a day.

While the ATCMTD-funded projects will focus on boosting highway efficiency and utilisation, projects awarded grants as part of the MOD Sandbox programme will support efforts to integrate mobility tools such as smartphone apps, ride-sharing initiatives and demand-responsive public transport services.

Cities set to benefit from this include Portland, Oregon, which will receive funds to integrate shared-use mobility options into its existing trip planning app, allowing users to plan efficient trips even without nearby transit access.

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