FHWA awards more than $52 million to improve travel experiences

May 26, 2023
The eight states to receive the grants will use the funds to implement technology-based solutions to improve safety, mobility, connectivity and performance of highway and transit systems.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) awarded $52.78 million to eight states through the Advanced Transportation Technology and Innovation (ATTAIN) program. The program was formerly known as the Advanced Transportation Technologies and Innovative Mobility Deployment Program and underwent a name change with the signing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

FHWA says the ATTAIN program provides competitive grants to deploy, install and operate advanced transportation technologies to improve safety, mobility, efficiency, system performance, intermodal connectivity and infrastructure return on investment. The grants allow states to implement technology-based solutions that will improve the travel experiences of highway and transit users.

“Your zip code shouldn’t determine whether you have access to safe, affordable transportation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “With President Biden’s investments in innovative technology, we’re helping communities make transportation safer and more efficient, particularly in places that haven’t received enough resources in the past.”

The program promotes advanced technologies to improve safety and reduce travel times for drivers and transit riders that can serve as national examples of innovation to improve access to transportation for all communities.

“These grants will help deliver a more leading-edge transportation system designed to reach everyone and to work for everyone, especially those in communities that have lacked access to efficient transportation,” said Federal Highway Administration Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “Whether we’re addressing climate change or making roads safer, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is bringing critical solutions to the communities we serve.”

The eight selected projects will help advance intelligent transportation systems technologies that improve mobility and safety. The projects include the extension of real-time traffic information and signal timing systems, including for transit, along with other advanced technologies.

How transit will benefit from the grants

Of the eight selected projects, three are transit specific, representing a total grant pool of nearly $20 million.

The Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation has been selected for a $9.3 million ATTAIN grant to expand the current goMARTI pilot in Grand Rapids, which is a free on-demand automated microtransit service. The 18-month project launched in September 2022 to expand mobility access for the Grand Rapids community by complementing the town’s existing fixed-route bus lines. The aim of the service is to use technology to help those with mobility challenges achieve an independent lifestyle.

The California Department of Transportation will use its $7.7 million grant to deploy open-loop payments technology to offer seamless payment to highway and transit services for Los Angeles County residents as part of its Southern California Mobility Wallet. The project area includes regions of persistent poverty and disadvantaged communities.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) will receive a $2.9 million grant for its Boston Regional Transit Signal Priority Program. MBTA has a plan to make transit service more reliable and efficient through the use of transit signal priority (TSP) systems. MBTA says its TSP program helps public transit vehicles stay on schedule, resulting in improved travel times and increased reliability. Its TSP program is part of MBTA’s Better Bus Project, which will incorporate dedicated bus lanes, shared bus and bike lanes, rapid response bus lanes and TSP to speed bus movements in areas with high ridership and chronic delay issues.

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.