USDOT awards $27 million for next phases of Complete Trip - ITS4US Deployment Program

June 10, 2022
Four projects received a share of the funding to advance projects providing more efficient, affordable and accessible transportation options for underserved communities.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded $27 million to four projects in support of the implementation of Phases 2 and 3 of the Complete Trip - ITS4US Deployment Program. USDOT says the funding is part of its comprehensive strategy to support accessibility across all modes of transportation for all travelers.

The Complete Trip – ITS4US Deployment Program is a three-phased initiative designed to create large-scale, replicable deployments that generate increased mobility options across multiple modes of transportation to address the challenges of planning and executing complete trips. The first phase of the program awarded $38 million to five projects in January 2021.

“By bringing together public-sponsored and private-sponsored research, the program will enable communities to build local partnerships that develop and deploy integrated and replicable mobility solutions to achieve complete trips for all travelers,” said USDOT Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology Dr. Robert C. Hampshire. “For the first time, USDOT has centered equity as a department-wide strategic goal. The ITS4US program is a critical step towards reducing inequities across our transportation systems and the communities they affect.”

USDOT explains the multimodal program identifies ways to provide more efficient, affordable and accessible transportation options for underserved communities that often face greater challenges in accessing essential services, including people with disabilities, older adults, low-income individuals, rural residents, veterans and limited English proficiency travelers.

Details on the projects awarded funds

The four awardees for Phases 2 and 3 are the Heart of Iowa Regional Transit Agency (HIRTA), Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), University of Washington (UW) and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA).

HIRTA was awarded $2.87 million for the Health Connector for the Most Vulnerable: An Inclusive Mobility Experience from Beginning to End project. This project will implement a scalable and replicable solution that enables inclusive access to non-emergency medical transportation for all underserved populations and their caregivers by resolving access to barriers with the use of advanced technologies. USDOT says this solution will include information and wayfinding services to guide users for every step of their trip. This deployment will provide enhanced access to healthcare options for all travelers in Dallas County, Iowa.

As HIRTA told Mass Transit in April 2022, while the deployment is starting in Dallas County, the goal is to expand the program regionwide. The HIRTA team has created 14 different documents that provide a foundation for those transit systems that wish to implement a similar program. HIRTA also received nearly $4 million in funding through the first phase of the Complete Trip - ITS4US Deployment Program.

“We are thrilled HIRTA is one of four projects selected to receive this funding allowing our project to move from a concept and into development, where we can deploy the service in our communities. Our ‘Health Connector for the Most Vulnerable: An Inclusive Mobility Experience from Beginning to End’ project focuses on the complete trip, not just pickup and drop off. Once all phases are complete, our success will allow us to replicate this program throughout the HIRTA region. Thank you to all of the incredible people who helped us with Phase 1 and everyone who will be helping with Phase 2 and 3,” said HIRTA’s Executive Director Julia Castillo.

GDOT has been awarded more than $8 million for the Safe Trips in a Connected Transportation Network (ST-CTN) project in Gwinnett County, Ga. GDOT is leading the ST-CTN project with support from the Atlanta Regional Commission to provide Gwinnett County residents with detailed information and step-by-step navigation tailored for users’ specific needs along with a range of other features geared to improve trip efficiency and safety. This concept is comprised of an integrated set of advanced transportation technology solutions including connected vehicles, transit signal priority, machine learning and predictive analytics to support safe and complete trips, with a focus on accessibility for those with disabilities, aging adults and those with limited English proficiency.

The Atlanta Regional Commission was awarded $9.3 million through the first phase of the Complete Trip - ITS4US Deployment Program for the same project.

The ST-CTN system includes a mobile application that will provide users with the ability to create a personalized trip plan with information regarding the navigation of physical infrastructure, the ability to provide safe alternative trip routes when encountering unexpected obstacles and the ability to ensure user safety throughout the trip.

USDOT has awarded $9.7 million to UW for the Transportation Data Equity Initiative, which aims to create the foundational data tools necessary for both public and private entities to collect, share, manage and use transportation data that provide equitable outcomes to all travelers regardless of location, income or disability. This effort includes: 1) working with existing standards committees to extend and update three existing, early-stage international data standards: OpenSidewalks, General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS)-Flex, and GTFS-Pathways; 2) developing a series of tools that help agencies, jurisdictions and other stakeholders collect the data that can be stored with these refined data standards; and 3) using three unique accessible mobility applications to demonstrate these three very different uses of the data. UW received a grant of $11.5 million during the first phase of the of the Complete Trip - ITS4US Deployment Program.

NFTA in Buffalo, N.Y., has been awarded $6.7 million for its Complete Trip Deployment project, which will improve mobility to, from and within the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) by deploying new and advanced technologies focused on addressing existing mobility and accessibility challenges. The project integrates an accessible trip planning tool with current transit services, indoor/outdoor wayfinding, community-based on-demand shuttle services that include a fleet of fully autonomous shuttles and intersection pedestrian safety technologies aimed at providing complete trip support to travelers with disabilities in BNMC and neighboring communities. Central to the project is a complete trip platform that can factor in travelers’ preferences and accessibility-related needs in providing comprehensive trip planning and execution support to registered users. The platform, accessed both offline and online via multiple interfaces including an app, will integrate with multiple enabling technologies and services including fixed-route transit, community shuttles, smart intersections that use tactile and mobile technologies that assist travelers with disabilities navigate intersections safely, and wayfinding infrastructure such as smart signs and information hubs to support outdoor and indoor navigation. ICF International, Inc., received a grant of $8.2 million during the first phase of the of the Complete Trip - ITS4US Deployment Program.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.