Department of Transportation Investing $160 Million for Tech-Centric Projects

dowell/Getty Images

Two programs, SMART Grants and ATTAIN, will dole out millions over five years as the Biden administration plans a U.S. transportation overhaul.

As the Biden administration continues its overhaul of U.S. infrastructure, the Department of Transportation announced a new influx of funding specifically intended for technological upgrades within the nation’s transit systems.

$160 million will be made available over the next five years to add new technology to two programs: the SMART Grants Program and the Advanced Transportation Technology and Innovation Program. 

“As we undertake the most ambitious infrastructure investment in generations, thanks to the president’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we can and must plan for the transportation needs of the future,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in prepared remarks. “From connected vehicles that make driving safer, to smart traffic signals that reduce congestion, to sensors to detect the quality of pavement to help prioritize repair, our SMART grants will fund technology that makes people’s lives better in communities across America.”

The SMART initiative is centered around using data analytics to support automation and connectivity in transportation vehicles. Transportation will address implementing advanced technologies in transit infrastructure and systems like logistics, delivery, traffic signals, data integration and smart electrical grids. $100 million in grant funding is available to data-driven projects. 

In addition, the Federal Highway Administration’s ATTAIN program will focus on using advanced technologies to create safer road conditions. $60 million of the total allocation will go toward reducing travel times for both drivers and public transit riders. 

Projects seeking grant funding within the ATTAIN initiative will also be evaluated based on their climate-positive impact, specifically how they plan to reduce carbon emissions from upgraded transportation projects. 

“As we level the playing field and improve the travel experience for everyone, we need to promote the use of state-of-the-art technologies, and the ATTAIN program does just that,” said Stephanie Pollack, the acting Federal Highway administrator. “The Biden-Harris Administration has taken a program with a track record of delivering innovation through the use of advanced technologies and made it truly forward-looking by refocusing its goals to include promoting equity and tackling climate change, in addition to creating jobs and delivering positive economic impact.”

Both programs are eligible for this funding via President Joe Biden’s landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.