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Transportation Technology Grants: Moving Projects Forward

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is injecting around $550 billion over five years into United States infrastructure. About half of IIJA funding has been funneled to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to support road infrastructure and new technologies in transportation that will improve traffic safety and operations as well as reduce transportation impacts on the environment.

We have rounded up details on three key grant funding opportunities available through IIJA that can help move your transportation technology projects forward (Curious about other funding opportunities? See USDOT’s tracker here).

First, Some Background: IIJA Transportation Funding, by the Numbers

IIJA will invest $110 billion in roads, bridges, and other major projects. Another $11 billion will go toward supporting state and local transportation safety programs. Last year, the U.S. reached the highest number of road fatalities (42,915 people) since 2005. Therefore, funding is aimed at reducing the fatality rate, especially among vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and bicyclists. IIJA will also invest close to $40 billion in improving transit systems, as public transportation is essential to cities’ transportation systems and can positively impact the inclusion of underrepresented communities. An additional $66 billion will be invested in passenger and freight rail. Moreover, while the U.S. electric vehicles (EV) market is growing, it is currently limited by the insufficient spread of the EV charging network. The bill invests $7.5 billion to build a national network of EV chargers with a particular focus on rural communities. Further, IIJA will help tackle zero-emission transportation challenges by investing $5 billion in electric school buses. The remaining funds will be allocated to airports, ports, waterways, water infrastructure, and high-speed internet.

Grant Funding Spotlight #1: Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation Grants Program

Under IIJA, the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grants Program provides up to $100 million in annual grant funding from 2022 to 2026. Funding supports public agencies (e.g., state, local, and tribal governments) in planning and implementing demonstration projects related to advanced smart community technologies and systems. The SMART Grants Program does not require matching funds, and partnerships between public agencies and the private sector are welcome.

In its July 2022 webinar, USDOT emphasized the grants are intended for demonstration projects, explaining they will focus on funding projects that fall between the research stage and widespread adoption (e.g. projects that are “on the edge of deployment” and that are not yet widespread across the country).

The SMART Grants Program will be administrated in two stages:

  • Stage I: Offers grants up to $2 million over an 18-month period of performance for planning and prototyping efforts
  • Stage II: Offers grants up to $15 million over a 36-month period of performance for implementation efforts

In Stage I, the public sector can build internal partnerships with other public, private, academic, nonprofit, and community organizations to prototype a concept and report results. Stage I outcomes should be either a fully realized implementation plan or information not to proceed with the concept. Stage II supports projects ready for implementation and integration with the existing transportation system.

USDOT estimates they will award 30 to 50 grants in Stage I funding. Notably, funding follows a linear process wherein Stage II funding is reserved for successful Stage I grant recipients. Each year over the next five years, interested parties may apply for Stage I funding.

The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is expected in September 2022. You can sign up to receive a notification when the NOFO opens.

Projects funded through the SMART Grants Program are expected to improve traffic safety and operations as well as reduce emissions, and there are eight eligible project types:





Coordinated automation

Using automated transportation and autonomous vehicles to minimize accessibility impacts

Public fleets (snowplows, emergency response)


Connected vehicles


Traffic signal priority

Implementing the Work Zone Data Exchange Standard


Using collective intelligent infrastructure to allow sensors to gather and report real-time data to inform transportation operations and performance

Adaptable smart infrastructure to facilitate on-demand right-of-way for pedestrians and cyclists

Systems integration

Integrating intelligent transportation systems into existing transportation systems to create new value

Integrating climate or socioeconomic data into transportation operations to improve equity

Commerce delivery and logistics

Applying innovative data and technology solutions to support efficient goods movement

Global positioning system (GPS) data to improve on-time pickups and deliveries

Truck reservation systems at ports and container yards to reduce gate congestion

Innovative aviation

Leveraging innovative aviation technologies to support transportation safety and efficiency

Using UAS to detect debris on roadways or to inspect transportation infrastructure

Smart grid

Developing programmable and efficient energy transmission and distribution systems to support the adoption or expansion of energy capture, electric vehicle deployment, or freight/commercial fleet fuel efficiency

Vehicle-to-grid technologies

Traffic signals

Improving the active management and functioning of traffic signals

Automating traffic signal performance measures

Optimizing corridor timing

Improved vehicle, pedestrian, and cyclist detection

Grant Funding Spotlight #2: Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant Program

The IIJA also established the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Grant Program, making $5 billion in grant funding available from 2022 to 2026 ($1 billion allocated each year). The SS4A program focuses on projects that help to achieve the national goal of zero roadway deaths and serious injuries.

The deadline for SS4A grant applications this year is September 15. Entities that may have missed this year’s application window will have opportunities to apply under future NOFOs for this program. You can sign up to receive email notifications regarding program updates.

Like the SMART Grants Program, SS4A funding is split into two buckets: one for action plan grants and one for implementation grants. Action plan activities focus on conducting outreach as well as collecting and analyzing data to create safety action plans that provide strategies to prevent roadway fatalities and serious injuries. Implementation grants provide funding to implement projects and strategies outlined in an action plan. Therefore, implementation grant applicants must first have an existing action plan.

The following applicants are eligible for SS4A grants:

  • A political subdivision of a state or territory, defined as a unit of government created under the authority of state law (e.g., cities, towns, counties, special districts, certain transit agencies, etc.)
  • Federally recognized Tribal governments
  • Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs)

Multijurisdictional groups of entities from those described above are also eligible.

For 2022, USDOT plans to award hundreds of action plan grants and up to 100 implementation grants. SS4A grant recipients are expected to match 20 percent of eligible activity costs.

Grant Funding Spotlight #3: Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment

Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) is an existing grant program that is being expanded through the IIJA. With the introduction of the IIJA, ATCMTD will continue for an additional five years (2022 – 2026), with approximately $50 million in funding allocated per year.

The original program focused on rural transportation, transit, paratransit, and environmental protection. The expanded version under the IIJA will include advanced transportation technologies that will enhance the emergency evacuation response by federal, state, and local authorities; integration of real-time transportation information to the public; communication for automated vehicles; advanced systems for parking; and congestion pricing.

The NOFO for this year is not yet available, but information about granted awards from previous years is available on the Federal Highway Administration website. 

Connect With Us

Trihydro’s transportation technology professionals have experience partnering with clients to identify and prioritize project concepts, identify appropriate funding opportunities, and prepare grant applications. Connect with us if you would like to learn more or need support achieving your goals. 

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Shane Zumpf Trihydro
Shane Zumpf
Business Unit Leader, Technology Services & Solutions, Laramie, WY

Shane has 15 years of experience as a software architect, specializing in creating enterprise applications. Shane has presented on Connected Vehicle (CV) topics ranging from the WYDOT CV pilot program to CV integration best practices within Traffic Management Centers.
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