Opportunity number
Department of Transportation (DOT)
Highway Research and Development Program
Due date
Project funding
Upto $10M
Program funding
Funding size
$5M to $25M

Highway Research and Development Program

RFP Summary provided by the agency

USDOT hereby requests applications in response to this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to result in multiple grant awards to eligible entities to fund demonstration projects that test the safe integration of automated driving systems into the Nation’s onroad transportation system. See details below for applicant eligibility. Public Law 115-141 appropriates funding for a “highly automated vehicle research and development program” to fund planning, direct research, and demonstration grants for Automated Driving Systems (ADS) and other driving automation systems and technologies. Of the total amount provided, $60,000,000 must be used for demonstration grants that test the safe integration of ADS into our Nation’s on-road transportation system. Anticipated award amounts resulting from this NOFO will vary. Public Law 115-141 and its accompanying Joint Explanatory Statement provide additional information related to these funds. Safety has consistently been DOT’s top strategic and organizational goal. Automation offers the potential to improve safety for vehicle operators and occupants and other travelers sharing the road. To address this potential, the USDOT hereby solicits applications to result in awards to eligible entities for an Automated Driving System(ADS) Demonstration Program to fund planning, direct research, and demonstration grants for the research and development of ADS, defined in the SAE International Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to Driving Automation Systems for OnRoad Motor Vehicles, J3016_201806,3 as well as certain technologies associated with ADS.

What is the mission and focus of the program: research, social, economic or others?

The goals of the ADS Demonstration Program are:
a. Safety.
b. Data for Safety Analysis and Rulemaking.
c. Collaboration: This program seeks to work with innovative State and local governments, as well as universities and private partners, to create collaborative environments that harness the collective expertise, ingenuity, and knowledge of multiple stakeholders. These projects should include early and consistent stakeholder engagement, including early coordination with law enforcement, local public agencies, industry, transportation-challenged populations, the public, and other relevant stakeholders as applicable to conduct these demonstrations on terms that work for all parties. terms that work for all parties.

In addition to the program goals listed above, the focus areas of the ADS Demonstration Program are:
a. Significant Public Benefit(s): Fund a select number of larger-scale projects that result in a significant benefit(s) to the public.
b. Addressing Market Failure and Other Compelling Public Needs: Fund projects where industry lacks adequate incentives to participate. This includes areas where cost, risk, or complexity are too significant for any single private sector entity (e.g., cybersecurity) or where a lack of private sector investment has not proven sufficient to support particular groups (e.g., access for individuals with disabilities).
c. Economic Vitality: Ensure that these Federal funds support the U.S. industrial base through Buy American and other requirements. Recognizing Executive Order 13788, proposed projects must support economic vitality at the national and regional level, including advancing domestic industry and promoting domestic development of intellectual property.
d. Complexity of Technology: Fund a collection of projects that demonstrate automation, with preference for demonstrating L3 or greater automation technologies.
e. Diversity of Projects: Fund a collection of projects that serve a variety of communities, including urban, suburban, and rural environments, and that serve a variety of transportation markets including freight, personal mobility, and public transportation.
f. Transportation-challenged Populations: Fund projects that test applications with the greatest potential to service transportation-challenged populations, including older adults and individuals with disabilities. As applicable for such populations, projects may focus on entry, egress, and options to make transfer easy, which may include design of ADS for accessibility, usability, and safety, including securement and restraint systems for wheelchairs and other equipment for people with disabilities.
g. Prototypes: Given the focus on demonstrations, fund projects that include technologies that are, at a minimum, in limited prototype state suitable to support safe demonstrations but do not need to be ready for broader deployment. Demonstrations must meet all applicable safety standards or have a detailed approach concerning how the grantee intends to apply for any necessary exemptions.

How do you submit to this opportunity?

Applicants must submit their applications via Grants.gov under the Notice of Funding Opportunity Number cited herein. Applications must be submitted through the Grants.gov Workspace.

Who are the target applicants: cities, universities, companies, small business, nonprofits, or others?

County governments
City or township governments
Others (see text field entitled “Additional Information on Eligibility” for clarification)
Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
State governments
Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
Additional Information on Eligibility: State and local governments, tribal governments, transit agencies and authorities, metropolitan planning organizations, other subdivisions of State or local governments (including public port authorities/districts), public academic institutions, public research institutions, or a multijurisdictional group* thereof applying through a single lead Applicant.Private companies and private universities are NOT eligible Applicants. However, private companies and private universities may be a sub-recipients or subcontractors.

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