Since 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation has invested an amount of $8 billion dollars through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grant program (aka “BUILD grants,” formerly known as TIGER grants). In 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a Statement of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for a $1.5 billion discretionary grant program called Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE).

These grant programs have helped U.S.DOT in repairing and buildingrepair and build a new road, rail, transit, and port projects that maintain critical pieces, rail, transit, and port projects that maintain critical parts of our nation’s freight and passenger transportation networks.

After the approval of the Bipastrain Bill, many cities and states are starting to prioritize projects to qualify for federal funding that focuses on rebuilding critical infrastructure. Federal grants like the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) hold billions of dollars in possible grants, and states that want to qualify need compelling evidence that funds are well spent. The Transportation grants like BUILD AND RAISE have fierce competition. That means you’ll need a strong application if you’re looking for funding for your project.

Deliberating Key Components

In general, there are several key components to consider while creating a strong application for your transportation infrastructure projects. To briefly summarize, the key areas to focus on in your application are:

1.  1.     Pay close attention to the NOFO (Notice of Funding Opportunity)

First The first step is always to go through the Notice of Funding Opportunity since each NOFO outlines who is eligible to apply and its requirements. Each NOFO outlines who is eligible to apply, its requirements, and the justification for the eligibility criteria. It is important to follow all of the funding agencies guidelines and deadlines when writing the grant and submitting the grant by the deadlineapplication.

2.     Assemble a Well-Rounded Team

Writing the grant application is a team effort. Leveraginge the strengths of each organization and and have a well- rounded and strong team on responsible for the a project is always a huge plus. Having strong and qualified team members and consultants working on your project proves your accounts credibility and reliability.

3.     Strong Network

While representatives from partnering agencies and a consultant may be part of your core team, it doesn’t have to stop there. Including your state’s Department of Transportation (DOT), as well as federal officials and senators, on your team can assist your application to succeed.

4.     Secure Letters of Support

Request for letters of support from your supporters once you have created a network of supporters. Strong letters of support indicate to the review committee that you have done the research and earned the support you need to see the project through to completion if it’s financed.

5.     Have a Solid Plan – Including Benefit of Cost Analysis (BCA)

It’s critical to have a solid plan in place and define your precise utilization of the BUILD grant funds. Grant applications need exhaustive review and must include every aspect of the project from start to finish, including financing sources like the BCA that are well-matched.

Solidifying Your Grant Application

While transportation grants like BUILD provide many unique and innovative opportunities for DOT to invest in the U.S. transportation infrastructure, obtaining these grants can be very challenging. Geospatial data can help public and private organizations to scale their application and stand out from the competition. Location analytics companies can provide such solutions to project applicants. For example, AirSage leverages decades of experience working with big data and advanced technologies using patented location data methodologies to provide solutions for the transportation industry.

Some of the essential key metrics that can boost these grant applications are:

1.     Traffic Counts

Vehicle and pedestrian traffic counts are possible with geospatial data analysis. Any form of road traffic may be evaluated, from the largest highways to back roads where counting isn’t possible or where more traditional methods are being used. Local governments and planners may utilize these data to enhance infrastructure, develop alternate routes in congested areas, and identify more efficient traffic solutions. In addition, geospatial data may be used for environmental purposes to examine vehicle kilometers driven to quantify the benefits of planned projects on air quality.

In one of our case studies, see how geospatial data helped improve the efficiency of Winnipeg’s transportation system.

2.     Trips origins and destinations

Analyzing trips from the point of origin to the point of destination can allow you to understand aspects like trip duration and potential route concerns. This information is used to enhance road design by anticipating more efficient routes, optimizing current routes and infrastructure, and diversifying modes of transportation to get to a certain location.

3.     Population Density and Walking Patterns

You can utilize location analyses to evaluate densely populated areas and create dynamic heatmaps of human movement that can be converted into bike lanes or pedestrian routes, minimizing the usage of motor vehicles while giving instant health advantages.

4.     Freight Travel Patterns

The advantages of location analysis can be seen not just in public and private transit but also in business travel. Tracking freight routes from point A to point B, keeping track of their trip duration, parking records, and separating commercial trucks from personal vehicles all contribute to improving travel patterns, reducing congestion, and ensuring effective logistics across the country.

5.     Traffic Peaks and Polluted Areas

It’s critical to identify regions with the largest traffic and pollution peaks, especially in large cities that are becoming heavily crowded and congested. Location intelligence enhances localized neighborhood analyses, allowing planners to make more targeted decisions on traffic flow management, new road infrastructure construction, and the development of new low-emission zones.

6.     Increasing Demand in E-bikes and Pedestrian Infrastructure

Today people seek alternative mobility options, hence there is an increasing number of travelers that are opting for micro-mobility, like bikes, e-bikes, scooters, or just strolling. However, transportation planners have a lot of unaddressed concerns in this area. Where are the most bike lanes or pedestrian spaces needed? What is the best operational region for a new bike-sharing service? Where should docking stations or a scooter lane be placed?

Geospatial big data analytics can provide solutions to these and other concerns, as well as assist city planners in improving current infrastructure and identifying places with a high demand for new spaces and lanes for non-motorized vehicles and walkers.

7.     Analyzing Audience Insights

Demographic and psychographic data on who, when, and where someone visits a certain location can aid in determining the economic advantages of tourism. These statistics also make it possible to set targets for an equal allocation of transportation projects, thus increasing equity nationwide.

As we discuss the possible solutions and methods to creating a winning application for transportation grants, knowing the severity of traffic congestion on a specific roadway network and analyzing the economic benefits of the projects is very important.Geospatial big data analysis provides valuable insights such as model tracking, traffic improvement, and quantification of travel time reductions, which further helps in the grant application and process.

Within AirSage’s Insights, the Nationwide Trip Matix solution can help run analyses to learn about a range of personal attributes, such as the origin and destination of trips, trip purpose classifications, and home zone at the census block group level. Users can additionally rate research based on the day of the week, with figures presented in person-trips and extrapolated to indicate population mobility essential to transportation planning projects.

You can learn more about Location Analytics solutions for Transportation Grants here. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our team.