U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $29 Million to Fund New Research on Strengthening Transit Safety and Disaster Recovery Capabilities

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10/21/2013
Contact: Amy Bernstein
202-366-0706

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently announced the availability of $29 million in competitive research funds for innovative public transportation projects (PDF) that will help ensure safe and reliable transit service for riders of America’s public transportation systems. The grants will help transit agencies strengthen operational safety, better withstand natural disasters and other emergencies, and improve emergency response capabilities.

“The American people are counting on us to deliver a safe and efficient transportation system that they can depend on day after day,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “That requires us to continue investing in new and better ways to keep transit as safe as possible while also ensuring that rail and bus lines can recover quickly after a disaster strikes and continue serving the millions of riders who rely on them.”

This is the first time that funds available through the FTA’s Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment Program have been dedicated to implementing market-ready solutions specifically designed to strengthen safety and improve transit system resiliency.

“For the first time in FTA’s history, we’re calling on the transit industry, the private sector, universities and others to work with us to develop and implement innovative solutions that reflect our commitment to safety and bringing transit facilities into a state of good repair,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “This will translate into real-world improvements that protect riders and taxpayers alike, ranging from reducing transit-related injuries to making transit systems less vulnerable to flooding and severe weather.”

Funding proposals will be considered in three areas:

  • Operational Safety: Projects that develop and demonstrate new or improved technologies, methods, and practices that will increase the operational safety of public transportation services. Examples include electronic intrusion detection systems, remote rail monitoring and train undercarriage inspection systems.
  • Resiliency: Projects that increase the resilience and robustness of public transportation systems so they can better withstand natural disasters and other externally caused emergencies. Examples include increasing a system’s resistance to corrosion from exposure to saltwater, mitigating the impact of flooding and severe weather, and increasing the ability to withstand extreme temperatures.
  • All-Hazards Emergency Response and Recovery: Projects to improve communications with emergency responders and demonstrate promising methods for restoring transit service in the wake of a major disruption. Examples include improving ways to locate and communicate with distressed passengers as well as transit workers, and using transit assets to assist with emergency response and recovery efforts.

The $29 million combines FTA research funds from Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013. FTA expects to announce projects selected for funding in 2014.

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