Incorporating Art and Design into Federally Assisted Projects

Program Eligibility

While many FTA programs provide assistance for transit projects that can benefit from quality design and the inclusion of art, some areas offer greater potential for such aesthetic treatment.  Design and construction services that might involve considerations of art include site planning, landscape design, architectural design, interior design, and engineering systems design.

Photo: A light rail vehicle approaches the Washington / Central Avenue station in Phoenix, AZ.
Under FTA programs, eligible capital expenses include the acquisition, construction, and improvement of public transit facilities and equipment, passenger shelters, park and ride lots, passenger amenities, ferry terminals, construction and rehabilitation of transit facilities, as well as historic and intermodal facilities.

Examples of programs that offer particular opportunities for funding art in transit are:

Neon lights add a touch of color to an otherwise ordinary escalator, enhancing the experience of transit riders.Transit Enhancements

Public art that enhances public transportation service or use and is physically or functionally related to a transit facility is an eligible activity for FTA funds as a transit enhancement.  While public art is an eligible expense in itself, recipients should note that art is available to improve the appearance of other eligible transit enhancement projects listed under Section 5302(a)(15).

Recipients of Urbanized Area Formula Funds operating in a urbanized area with a population area over 200,000 is required to certify that it expended not less than 1 percent of its Federal assistance authorized under 49 U.S.C. 5307 each fiscal year on transit enhancements.

Public art is one of several eligible activities that can be utilized to meet this requirement set under Section 5307(d)(1)(K).

Photo: A Stephen Antonokos creation provides unique lighting to an escalator at the Exchange Place PATH station in Jersey City, NJ.

How to Report Art and Design Activities to FTA

To report on art and design activities related to an FTA grant, FTA recipients should referred to the current version of FTA Circular 5010, “Grant Management Requirements,” for a discussion on specific project administration requirements.  Additionally, recipients will need to consult the program-specific circular pertaining to application and reporting requirements for each program from which they will utilize funds for the purposes of art and design.  For a full listing of FTA program circulars, visit the FTA Circulars page.

The local transit agency or public entity undertaking a transit project should provide adequate administrative and technical support to develop and implement the art program encompassing various media as well as make a long-term commitment to the maintenance of art, as is customary with other physical assets.

Information on minimum requirements for transit enhancements and how to submit Transit Enhancement Reports can be found in the current versions of FTA Circular 5010, “Grant Management Requirements” and FTA Circular 9030, “Urbanized Area Formula Program: Grant Application Instructions.”

Port Ayers transfer center in Corpus Christi, TX. Local residents decorated the thousands of tiles that adorn this facility.

Port Ayers transfer center in Corpus Christi, TX. Local residents decorated the thousands of tiles that adorn this facility.