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South West Transit Association

SporTran Transit Awarded Close To $1 Million in National SMART Grant Funding from USDOT’s

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced more than $50 million in grant awards for 34 technology demonstration projects across the country through the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grants Program. SporTran Transit, the public transit system in Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana, was announced as an award recipient for their SporTran EMPOWER (Equitable Mobility, Public Outreach, Workforce Education, and Resilience) project. 

“We’re thrilled to have been named as one of 34 systems nationwide to receive these funds to innovate transit in our community,” states SporTran CEO Dinero’ Washington. “The SporTran EMPOWER Project will focus on developing curriculum and training for AV and EV transit operations in partnership with labor and workforce development partners, and engage community organizations, in anticipation of piloting autonomous, first-and-last-mile microtransit shuttle service. The $995,400 received will be used to develop local skills in emerging tech and contribute new economic paths for our region.” 

The competitive Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grants Programestablished by President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, provides $500 million over five years for State, local, and Tribal governments to leverage advances in technology to create safer, more efficient, and more innovative transportation systems. The projects announced today are a part of the President’s Investing in America agenda and encompass locations across 22 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. 

"The Biden-Harris administration is proud to award $50 million to promising technology projects that have the potential to help Americans travel more safely, affordably, and efficiently," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. "Today's funding will help 34 communities across the country advance innovative solutions for better rail crossings, safer road intersections, improved transit accessibility, and more." 

This is the second year of SMART grant awards, for which the Department received 321 eligible grant applications.  

“The continued popularity of SMART, building on last year, demonstrates the demand for purpose-driven technology solutions undertaken by State, local, and Tribal agencies. We are thrilled to announce another round of exciting and innovative projects,” said Dr. Robert C. Hampshire, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology and Chief Science Officer 

Selected projects, as demonstrated in this partial list, focus on how various technologies make transportation safer, cleaner, more equitable, and more affordable across the country in both rural and urban settings:  

  • Projects including the City of Chattanooga, TN, Charleston, SC, and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation in WA, focus on using connected vehicle and smart roadside sensors to improve safety for drivers, pedestrians, and other road users on urban streets and rural highways.  

  • In Wyoming and Maryland, statewide highway projects will address work zone safety for highway crews through data sharing and speed management. 

  • Talladega, AL will deploy smart traffic signals and sensors near the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind to detect and protect pedestrians. 

  • Projects in Denver, CO and Contra Costa County, CA will streamline and unify dozens of disparate paratransit providers and systems to make them more accessible.  

  • Building on last year’s uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) grants, two new projects in the southern Allegheny mountains in Pennsylvania and the eastern shore of Maryland will use UAS to deliver emergency and chronic medical supplies to remote areas.  

  • In Canovanas, Puerto Rico, and Broward County, FL, projects will build new digital models of transportation infrastructure to better predict and track maintenance, target improvements, and communicate with the public – especially around storms, flooding, and other weather impacts. 


The SMART Grants Program is a two-stage program, with these grant awards focusing on Stage 1 activities, including Planning and Prototyping. Recipients will focus on conducting demonstration projects focused on advanced smart community technologies and systems to improve transportation efficiency and safety. 

The full list of awards can be viewed here.  

An interactive map depicting all SMART projects can be found here.   

For more information on the SMART Grants Program, sign up for the SMART newsletter on the program website or reach out to  


Additional Info

Media Contact : Leslie Peck (318) 401-7169

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