Our grantmaking supports organizations improving transit and urban quality of life, strengthening neighborhoods, and building stronger, more accessible regions.

We offer several grant opportunities including our annual open call and a rolling grant program known as Dispatch grants.

How we fund:

Open Call

TransitCenter’s largest funding program is our annual open call. The next call for proposals will be in early 2017. Questions can be directed to

Dispatch Grants

Dispatch grants are available on a rolling basis to support timely opportunities and organizational capacity building. TransitCenter accepts proposals from civic organizations improving transit in their own communities. Read a description of the grant program, view the application, and follow these instructions to apply online. Contact with questions.


2016 Dispatch Grants

    • Circulate San Diego Transit Oriented Development Policy Research
    • Transportation Alternatives – Leveraging the L-train Shutdown for Lasting Transit Improvements
    • Coalition for Smarter Growth – Staff and Organizational Development
    • Greater Greater Washington – Communication and Organizational Development
    • Sustain Charlotte – Outreach around a Bus Network Redesign
    • San Francisco Transit Riders Union – Audit on Transit Equity Priority Projects
    • Metropolitan Planning Council   Organizational Exchange

2016 Open Call

In 2016, TransitCenter awarded sixteen major grants totaling over $1.7 million. The following projects were chosen to receive the grant awards:

  • Active Transportation Alliance – Speeding Up Chicago’s Buses $150,000 to work with the Chicago Transit Authority and city on practical strategies for system-wide bus service improvements.
  • Circulate San Diego – Democracy, Equity, and Transit Planning in San Diego $60,000 to influence the makeup, philosophy and governance of local Community Planning Groups – one of the most influential forces affecting land use and transportation policy in San Diego.
  • Center for an Urban Future – New York City’s Transit Advocacy Gap: Engaging Employers and Workers for Systemic Change:  $100,000 to produce and disseminate an analysis on transit challenges of New York City’s healthcare workers and engage healthcare sector leaders in transit advocacy.
  • Green Mobility Network – Miami Dade Great Streets Demonstration Project: $150,000 for development of short-term projects such as walkability improvements for stops/stations and transit priority street segments throughout Miami-Dade County.
  • LA Mas – Community Inspired Urbanism for First/Last Mile Strategies: $147,850 for first/last mile and transportation demand interventions at the LA Metro Gold Line Lincoln Heights/Cypress Park Station and surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Open Plans – Telling the story of useful transit: $70,000 to Open Plans/Streetsblog to produce a series of 50 articles evaluating what policymakers in U.S. cities are getting right about transit and land use, and what they are getting wrong.
  • Coalition for Smarter Growth Implementing a parking cash-out commuter benefit: $100,000 to educate Washington DC employers and stakeholders on the benefits of unbundling parking from employer benefits cash-out and assist agencies implement an effective parking cash-out system.
  • Portland State University – From driving more to driving less: a national precedent for reconsidering traffic impacts: $125,000 to the Portland State University (PSU) Foundation to refine first-of-its-kind California regulations to reduce driving in partnership with the State of California and MPOs around the state.
  • Sustain Charlotte – Dignifying Transit: Improving Walkability for Charlotte’s Bus Stops: $80,000 to Sustain Charlotte to improve pedestrian access to key bus stops.
  • The Nature of CitiesTransforming Transit Data into Knowledge: $67,710 to produce a series of online learning modules to teach advocates, citizens and agency staff how to make meaningful use of open transit data.
  • TransForm Revolutionizing the Commute in Silicon Valley: $85,000 to promote tolling on Highway 101 and support increased transit service in the corridor.
  • Ride New Orleans – Organizing Transit Riders for Tangible Wins: $115,000 for advocacy for enhanced, community-focused transit service.
  • Transportation Choices Coalition Sustainable Planning for a Growing Puget Sound: $100,000 to Transportation Choices Coalition to reform the funding allocation process of the Seattle region metropolitan planning organization.
  • State Smart Transportation Initiative Reducing SOV demand at the local level:  $140,500 to develop transportation demand management policy and implementation for  Los Angeles, Madison, WI, and Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • UCLAWhat do voters want from transit, and can agencies deliver it?  $144,701 for survey research examining motivations of Los Angeles residents and transit riders who support transportation funding measures.
  • Walk San Francisco – Building Robust, Uncompromised Transit Projects: $130,000 to create new strategies with the SFMTA for reforming community engagement strategies around critical transit projects.

2015 Open Call

In 2015, TransitCenter awarded nine major grants totaling $838,700. The applicants were ranked on their potential impact to improve public transportation, originality, and applicants’ track records, as well as their consistency with TransitCenter’s own programming.

The following projects were chosen to receive the nine grant awards:

      • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA: “Scaling Up Co-Creative Planning of Transit Corridors,” which will pilot new methods of engaging the public in transportation planning.
      • TransForm, Oakland, CA: “Stopping Highway Expansion and Improving Funding for Transit,” advocacy for improving transportation in the busy corridor between San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
      • National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), based in approximately 30 cities nationwide: “Developing Leadership for Transit Streets, “ a series of training seminars for local officials and transit agency staff to apply the soon-to-be-released NACTO Design Guidelines for Transit Streets (also commissioned in part by TransitCenter) to improve streets for transit vehicles and riders.
      • Open Plans, New York, NY: “Streetfilms Series: How Transit Agencies are Addressing Challenges,” a set of short films documenting interesting projects and programs at various transit agencies around the country.
      • Transportation for America, Washington, DC: “State-level Policy Network for Transit Financing,” an educational peer-to-peer network for state legislators and state government officials who deal with transportation policy.
      • National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), Boston, MA, Kansas City, MO, Salt Lake City, UT, Sacramento, CA and Washington, DC: “Advancing Scenario-based Planning,” a training program for staff of metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to enable improved decision-making about transportation investments.
      • New York University, New York, NY: “Intelligent Paratransit,” an effort to improve the information technology, costs and service quality for transit service for the elderly and citizens living with disabilities in New York City.
      • Alta Planning and Design, Portland, OR: “Evaluating Transportation Demand Management Results,” a research and peer networking approach to creating performance metrics for programs intended to influence the demand for transportation.
      • State Sustainable Transportation Institute, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI: “New tools for understanding trip-making and accessibility,” an applied research project to improve forecasting techniques for transportation services.