The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has announced the availability of $29 million in competitive research funds to help transit agencies improve safety, natural disasters and emergency resiliency and emergency response capabilities.
For first time, funds available through the FTA’s Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment Program are dedicated to creating and implementing solutions to strengthen transit safety and improve transit system emergency resiliency and response.
“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.
The FTA notes that the 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 FTA is expected to announce in 2014 the projects it selects for funding.