MassDOT Announces Regional Transit Innovation Grant

Nov 7, 2023

Through the state budgeting process, MassDOT has available $15 million in discretionary operating and capital funding to award to transit providers as Transit Innovation Grants. The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative encourages age- and dementia friendly stakeholders to partner with their regional transit authorities or other transportation providers to inform applications.

Awards will be made on a competitive basis with funding provided contractually. At least 25 percent of the funding ($3,750,000) will be reserved for rural areas. Successful applicants will be required to report quarterly on their progress for the duration of the grant, as well as provide a one-page summary report of accomplishments at the end of the grant.

Any transit provider providing public transportation in Massachusetts is eligible. For the purposes of this solicitation, public transportation is defined as shared-ride services open to the general public, or to a large segment of the general public (such as any person with a disability who cannot ride fixed-route transit, in the case of ADA paratransit services). Services open to the general public will receive priority. Services that prioritize certain segments (such as older adults, people with disabilities, or employees) but open available seats to the general public on an incidental basis will also receive priority.

MassDOT is looking to fund projects that include, but are not limited to, the following categories and subcategories:

  1. Enhancing and Expanding Transit Service
    1. New and innovative service delivery models – pilot a new approach that may provide better or more cost-effective service for your riders and service area
    2. Expanded service hours or weekend service – expand service temporally to better serve rider needs
    3. Rural connectivity – provide transit in a rural area underserved by current options
    4. Connectivity improvements across regional transit authority service areas – expand options for riders looking to travel from one transit authority service area to another
    5. Expanding mobility for low-income individuals and any other transit dependent populations
  2. Transit Electrification
    1. Small grants related to electrification of fleets, for expenses not covered by other funding streams
  3. Other

Operating and capital expenses are eligible in each category.

Projects should not duplicate or compete with existing transit services already funded through MassDOT. Coordinating with and complementing existing services is encouraged.

What is innovation?

  • Innovation looks different in different contexts. Innovation can include, but is not limited to:
    • Piloting a new approach to mobility
    • Piloting a service that has been demonstrated to be effective in other regions, but has not previously been offered in your region
    • Expanding an existing service geographically or temporally
    • Enhancing existing service to improve the rider experience or reach additional riders
    • Involving partner agencies that have not been involved before
    • Incorporating new forms of rider engagement into your service to improve the rider experience
    • Incorporating promising practices from other sectors, such as public health or the arts
    • Something else! Insert your creative idea here
  • Innovative approaches do not have to be completely new to qualify for this funding.
  • In your application, describe your innovation and why it is a good fit for your region’s needs.

For more info, check out the Regional Transit Innovation Grant webpage here.