FTA Issues NOFO for Standards Development

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is seeking proposals to develop voluntary standards and standards-related best practices, guidance, and tools in safety and other areas that improve public transportation under the Technical Assistance and Workforce Development Program.

According to FTA’s Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), released in the Nov. 22 edition of the Federal Register (download below), up to $3 million will be provided to one, competitively selected applicant. The deadline to apply is Jan. 23, 2023.

“Transit industry standards promote operating transit vehicles safely, implementing innovative mobility models consistently and efficiently, addressing rail/rail crossing safety, increasing resiliency, providing better information to travelers, ensuring data integration, supporting battery electric bus and charging systems interoperability, improving cybersecurity, implementing integrated fare payment systems, assisting in emergency response communication, improving worker safety, and enhancing performance in many other areas,” FTA reported in the Federal Register. “Additionally, standards provide value to manufacturers of public transit products and services and to the transit agencies that purchase those products and services by ensuring they meet specific performance criteria and address interoperability and safety.”

According to FTA, the selected recipient will perform an industry standards assessment and develop a priority list of standards that require immediate action. Upon direction from FTA, the recipient will develop or modify voluntary standards, best practices, guidance and tools to help public transit agencies adopt those standards. Standards development, FTA said, must directly engage a broad group of transit stakeholders, including federal, state, local, national, public, nonprofit, academic, and private-sector representatives.

Eligible standards areas can include, but are not limited to:

  • Bus and rail safety.
  • Mobility.
  • Fare collection.
  • Intelligent transportation systems.
  • Accessibility.
  • Equitable service standards.
  • Procurement.
  • Security.
  • Resiliency.
  • Asset management to maintain a state of good repair.
  • Operations.
  • Maintenance.
  • Zero-emission vehicles.
  • Charging systems.
  • Maintenance facilities.
  • Bus workstations.
  • Traveler information.
  • Interoperable data standards.
  • Vehicle propulsion.
  • Emergency response communications.
  • Vehicle electronics.

FTA said it will create an internal FTA Standards Working Group, which will partner with the selected applicant, its industry partners, working groups, and standards development organizations (SDO) in the assessment, review, prioritization, and selection of transit standards to be developed or modified.

Eligible applicants include:

  • Providers of public transportation, including public transportation agencies, state or local government Departments of Transportation, and federally recognized Indian tribes.
  • Private for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, or consultants.
  • State, city or local government entities, including multi-jurisdictional partnerships, and organizations such as Metropolitan Planning Organizations.
  • Other organizations, including research consortia, not-for-profit industry organizations; and institutions of higher education, including large research universities, particularly those with Minority Serving Institution status.
  • SDOs.
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