- On Wednesday March 4, 2020, FTA hosted a webinar on two newly announced funding opportunities; the Safety Research and Demonstration Program and the Bus Operator Compartment Redesign Program. The webinar provided an overview of both programs, instructions on how to apply and provided an opportunity to ask questions about both programs.
In keeping with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s focus on improving safety in the nation’s transportation systems, FTA’s Bus Operator Compartment Program supports the redesign of transit bus operator compartments to improve safety for bus operators and the passengers they serve.
The program supports research projects to develop transit bus operator compartment designs that improve bus operator and public safety as well as bus operator access to vehicle instruments and controls without hindering the accessibility of passengers.
The Bus Operator Compartment Program supports research projects that protect operators from assault and improve their view of the road through innovative designs. The new designs also will improve bus drivers’ access to vehicle controls and will accommodate Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. Applicants must partner with at least one transit agency and at least one transit vehicle manufacturer (see Eligible Projects below).
The Bus Operator Compartment Program is intended to help transit agencies:
- Increase bus operator safety from assaults
- Increase operator visibility to improve safety of pedestrians and other roadway users (e.g. minimizing bus operator blind spots
- Increase passenger accessibility for positive interactions between operators and passengers, including assisting passengers in need of special assistance
- Improve ergonomics to reduce bus operator work-related health issues and injuries, as well as locate instrument and control interfaces to improve operational efficiency
- Reduce operator distractions
- Accommodate Americans with Disabilities Act compliance for passenger boarding, alighting and securement
As the program’s goal is to ultimately manufacture successful compartment redesigns, lead applicants must partner with at least one transit agency and at least one transit vehicle manufacturer to ensure the redesigns are feasible and can be manufactured into a prototype. Proposals should include a cost-benefit analysis of the redesign. This program will fund cooperative agreements in partnership with bus manufacturers, technology vendors, vehicle engineering and design firms, and transit agencies.
Applicants may submit one proposal for each project. Applicants wishing to submit multiple proposals must demonstrate that each proposed project meets the three main objectives: operator safety, operational efficiency, and passenger accessibility.
Proposals should also show how bus operators and their labor unions will be consulted and involved in the process. FTA will assess the strength of these partnerships and inclusion activities in the evaluation of applications.
Proposals should be separated into a research phase and design phase. The research phase should document the process to partner with a vehicle transit manufacturer and transit agency. It should also demonstrate how the prototype will meet the program objectives. The design phase should include engineering drawings and computer renderings that are ready for prototype manufacturing. The design phase should also demonstrate that the redesign complies with federal requirements applicable to buses.
Lead applicants must be one of the listed entities prescribed below. Additionally, project partners and subrecipients under this program may include, but are not limited to:
- Public transportation systems
- Private for profit and not-for-profit organizations, including technology system suppliers and bus manufacturers
- Operators of transportation, such as employee shuttle services, airport connector services or university transportation systems
- State or local government entities
- Other organizations, such as consultants, research consortia or not-for-profit industry organizations, and institutions of higher education.
49 U.S.C. Section 5312
Allocation of Funding
Bus Operator Compartment Program projects are funded under FTA’s Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment Program (49 U.S.C. § 5312). A total of $2 million is available for awards. FTA intends to award multiple Bus Compartment Program projects under this announcement.
The federal share of project costs under this program is limited to 80 percent. Proposers may seek a lower federal contribution. The applicant must provide the local share of the net project cost in cash, or in-kind, and must document in its application the source of the local match.
Applications are due by 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, March 24, 2020.