Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams recently announced the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) initiative, which aims to support and advance innovation in the transit industry via $11 million in challenge grants.
The AIM initiative includes the grants to help transit agencies experiment with new ways of doing business, such as exploring new service models that provide more efficient and frequent service. The goal of the new service models is to encourage travelers to choose transit. FTA will also support outreach to both urban and rural areas to ensure widespread exposure to projects.
AIM challenge grants will be detailed in an upcoming FTA Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). The initiative will establish a national network of transit agencies that will test and share project results and use FTA’s technical assistance centers to promote promising innovations.
Williams also announced that as part of the AIM initiative, FTA’s Fiscal Year 2020 competitive grant programs, which will total $615 million, will highlight innovation as part of their selection criteria. This will provide applicants with an opportunity to showcase how they can incorporate new approaches to improve the rider experience.
“The Accelerating Innovative Mobility initiative will enhance the service, design and financing of public transportation systems through forward thinking and innovative practices,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
“Innovation has never been more important than it is today,” Williams said. “We need to continue to innovate to keep pace with today’s fast-changing transportation network.”