The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has opened a competition for $5.1 million to develop new digital platforms that would manage transit infrastructure projects throughout their lifecycles more efficiently, and avoid delays and overruns. 

In announcing the availability of funding on Oct. 13, Nuria Fernandez, head of DOT's Federal Transit Administration, said in a statement, “Our goal is to help agencies deliver projects on time and under budget. This grant will help us do just that.”

Fernandez added, “These advanced platforms are all about efficiency and provide comprehensive tools that will allow transit agencies to complete projects more seamlessly.”

FTA is aiming to select one “program lead” entity for the Accelerating Advanced Digital Construction Management Systems demonstration program. That lead organization would receive the $5.1-million grant.

The program lead will develop a tool that allows for at least two transit agencies to demonstrate at least two different types of digital solutions on construction projects. according to FTA's Federal Register notice for the new program.

The construction projects used to demonstrate the new platforms also must be FTA-funded.

The types of organizations eligible for the grant include transit authorities, state and local agencies, academic institutions and private for-profit and nonprofit organizations. 

FTA also said in its notice that the envisioned program lead organization—and that entity's key staff for the project—“cannot be a provider of, or have a financial interest in, a proprietary advanced digital construction management software solution.”

Applicants are required to contribute a minimum of 20% of the cost of the project. 

Applications are due by Feb. 10, 2024.

The pilot digital platform program was created in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and is part of FTA's Public Transportation Innovation Program, for which the IIJA authorizes $193 million over five years.