VTA, Western Reserve Transit Authority (WRTA) in Ohio and CALSTART joined forces to be one of 25 projects across the country to receive grant funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) the agency announced in an Aug. 27 news release. The grant will help VTA deploy automated electric vehicles designed for accessibility to augment first and last mile and paratransit services. Along with partner WRTA, VTA will test the ability of the automated vehicles to provide more inclusive, equitable, efficient and cost-effective service under different climates and operating conditions. Together, these agencies were awarded $2.3 million, the largest share of the $14 million overall grant that is part of the FTA’s Accelerating Innovative Mobility initiative to support mobility and innovation in the transit industry.
The other partner that will help administer and manager the project is CALSTART, a national nonprofit that helps industry companies and agencies build high-tech, clean transportation. They will help develop, collect and analyze information; develop project policies, procedures and reports; and lead outreach and engagement to enable national industry development of best practices.