Grants - TransitCenter

Strong civic advocacy is key to enacting the type of transit reforms that will make cities in the US more just, accessible, and sustainable. Our grantmaking supports efforts to build community power in service of more useful, equitable transit service that increases access to opportunity in cities across the US.
TransitCenter does not accept unsolicited grant proposals, requests, or letters of inquiry. Major grants are by invitation only. To learn more about the application process for dispatch grants please click here.
Walk Bike Nashville
2019
2019

After the Vote: Maintaining Momentum in Nashville for Dedicated funding for Transit and Transportation

Granted $11,000 to keep the momentum for transit rolling post referendum by laying the groundwork for a new coalition to push for critical short-term transit needs and dedicated funding in the medium term.

Recipient: Walk Bike Nashville
The Piedmont Environmental Council (Coalition for Smarter Growth)
2019
2019

DC bus report card

The Coalition for Smarter Growth granted $25,000 to create a critical report card on WMATA bus routes that operate primarily within the District of Columbia on city streets. The report card would analyze data and performance in ways similar to the recent Miami Transit Alliance Transportation Report Card/Where’s My Bus campaign and be designed for public/media release.

Recipient: The Piedmont Environmental Council (Coalition for Smarter Growth)
Smart Growth America – Greater Greater Washington
2019
2019

Building Capacity for Bus Advocacy in Washington, DC

Greater Greater Washington (GGWash) will develop and implement a bus advocacy program focused on Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (locally elected DC representatives) in 2019/2020, aimed at building greater support for bus priority projects in DC.

Recipient: Smart Growth America – Greater Greater Washington
RVA Rapid Transit
2019
2019

The Riders Agenda

Granted $40,000 for advocacy to surface rider priorities during the CEO search process via our existing network of riders and transit advocates.

Recipient: RVA Rapid Transit
Conservation Law Foundation – Transit Matters
2019
2019

Regional Rail + Equity

TransitMatters granted $23,000 to support organizing efforts around our Regional Rail plan with a special focus on minority communities and regional equity.

Recipient: Conservation Law Foundation – Transit Matters
2019
2019

Clevelanders for Public Transit - RTA reform and system redesign

Advocacy campaign to push for reform of the RTA and a redesign of the system.

Recipient: Americans For Transit
2018
2018

Building an Equitable Pittsburgh Transit Network: Transit Innovations to Move All Riders

Advocacy campaign to enhance local bus service per input from riders and implementation of rapid boarding and payment processes. Granted supported AV research and outreach to other transit and grassroots advocacy organizations nationwide to build a transit-focused platform on this topic. PPT intends to research and draft a platform position paper on AVs in the second quarter of 2018, and host a national call on the issue with other transit organizations in the third quarter of 2018.

Recipient: Thomas Merton Center, Inc.
2018
2018

Where's My Bus Campaign

Granted $25,00 to support our team to ride buses on a daily basis, talk to bus riders, collect their stories and data, and provide them with advocacy support. In addition, this support will allow our team to build a preliminary online tool based on rider experiences and data to support upcoming advocacy efforts during the fall budget hearings.

Recipient: Miami Dade Transit Alliance
2018
2018

High Impact Journalism

Streetsblog Denver granted $20,000 to continue their essential reporting on Denver’s plans to overhaul its transit system.

Recipient: Colorado Nonprofit Development Center – Streetsblog Denver
2018
2018

Accountability for Better Transit Service in Baltimore

Advocacy campaign to reverse service cuts and hold MTA accountable for the BaltimoreLINK plan.

Recipient: Baltimore Community Foundation, Inc. – Central Maryland Transportation Alliance
2018
2018

Prospect Avenue Walkability Initiative

Advocacy campaign to increase community advocacy capacity in order to improve walkability in what will soon be the city’s newest high frequency enhanced bus route — the Prospect MAX.

Recipient: BikeWalkKC
2018
2018

Bus Riders Unite Organize for Transit Equity in East Portland

Transit equity advoacacy campaign for the East Side of Portland, OR

Recipient: OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
2018
2018

Downtown Columbus Transit Pass Program (aka Downtown C-pass)

SID is pursuing a Transit Pass Program that would offer free (to the user) and unlimited access to transit services to an estimated 43,000 employees in downtown.

The goals of the Transit Pass Program are to increase transit ridership, increase commercial occupancy rates in office buildings, reduce employee turnover, and improve access to jobs.

Recipient: SID Public Services Association
2018
2018

Organizing support for transit improvements through bus audits

San Francisco Transit Riders granted $20,000 to facilitate getting people on the bus to be active participants and advocates for better transit by creating a Bus Audit. We will work in partnership with the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency to develop this new approach.

Recipient: San Francisco Transit Riders
2018
2018

Nolensville Pike Improvements

Bus advocacy project along Nolensville Pike, a transit corridor that is underserved.

Recipient: Walk Bike Nashville
2018
2018

Finding Friends for Transit- Charleston, SC 2017

The funding we seek from the Transit Center will be used to build a core of 350 – 500 engaged transit riders – extending our existing cadre of 150 supporters – who can provide a supported leadership layer of transit advocates ready to exert the influence needed to assure that the $600 million in funding obtained in our election victory is used to build a better transit system. This new organized core will connect to thousands of other people and community groups with rapid, useful and motivating information on improving transit and resolving current system problems.

Recipient: Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina, Inc (Lowcounty Transit)
2018
2018

Bus Riders United- Sunday Service Campaign

The goal of Bus Riders United (BRU) is to address transit inequality by organizing bus riders and the community and improve local bus service in Southeastern Massachusetts. We have built a strong community-labor coalition, and most importantly have organized bus riders to successfully restore service in the RTA region that serves two cities, New Bedford and Fall River, Massachusetts and 8 towns with a total population of 308,614. BRU was instrumental is restoring and then extending night service., bringing back Monday Holiday service, fare restructuring and greater transparency to SRTA through bus rider representation. However, we still do not have Sunday bus service and we have heard loud and clear from bus riders that life doesn’t stop on Sundays.

Recipient: Community Economic Development Center of SE MA
2018
2018

Report on Transit Supportive Land Uses for MTS

Our proposal is to research, write, and publish a report outlining how San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) should adopt a policy to allow transit-supportive development on its substantial land holdings.

Recipient: Walk San Diego
2018
2018

Reducing Barriers to TOD

Granted $10,000 to support our policy and advocacy staff to conduct the necessary research for a detailed research paper outlining a variety of tools that the City of San Diego can adopt to reduce barriers to TOD and conduct a series of outreach activities once the report is released., write the report, promote and advance its recommendations, and conduct outreach activities that will occur after the report’s publication.

Recipient: Walk San Diego
2018
2018

Three day convening

The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) granted a TransitCenter Dispatch Grant of $10,000 to support the two-day convening of three civic organizations with a combined 300 years of experience—San Francisco’s SPUR, New York’s Regional Plan Association (RPA), and Chicagoland’s MPC. Represented by each organization’s leader— Gabriel Metcalf (SPUR), Tom Wright (RPA) and MarySue Barrett (MPC) — plus three senior staff each, these peer organizations will exchange ideas and best practices for promoting sustainable, equitable growth in their respective regions.

Recipient: Metropolitan Planning Council
2018
2018

From plan to action: Implementing a vision for active transportation in downtown Seattle

Transit and active transportation modes function best when they work together. First/last mile solutions, such as safe and intuitive bike routes between transit hubs and the places people need to go, are an inherent part of maximizing the reach and utility of mass transit infrastructure. Likewise the reach and utility of bicycling as a mode is maximized when paired with transit trips. Therefore, Cascade Bicycle Club (Cascade) sees bicycle and transit networks as interconnected and mutually beneficial. Because Cascade recognizes that an urban infrastructure needs both transit and active transportation to get people where they want to go, Cascade’s Policy team’s goal is to make transit and biking work hand-in-hand.

Recipient: Cascade Bicycle Club
2018
2018

Education Transporation Access and Equality

Together Colorado is collaborating with students, families, Denver Public Schools, the City and County of Denver, the Donnell Kay Foundation and others to design a student transportation plan which will allow the school district’s high school students to access the same low cost transportation passes offered to Colorado businesses and municipalities. With the implementation of a successful student pass model, Together Colorado anticipates other school districts and municipalities adopting a similar program and thus improving transportation use and access across the state.

Recipient: Together Colorado
2018
2018

WalkDenver Transit Rider Advocacy

WalkDenver granted $10,000 to support our efforts to advocate for transit riders and pedestrians in two major city-wide planning efforts taking place for the first time in Denver: 1) the development of a city-specific transit plan, Denver Moves Transit, and 2) a Vision Zero Action Strategy for eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

Recipient: Colorado Nonprofit Development Center – Walk Denver
2018
2018

Implementing plans for regional network improvements

The Partnership for Smarter Growth (PSG) granted $10,000 to support our joint campaign with RVA Rapid Transit to secure an effective regional transit network for the City of Richmond, Virginia and two adjacent counties.

Recipient: Partnership for Smarter Growth
2018
2018

RVA Advocacy Leadership Development

RVA Rapid Transit granted $10,000 to support our joint campaign with The Partnership for Smarter Growth (PSG) for a regional transit system in Metro Richmond.

Recipient: Richmond Hill – RVA Rapid Transit
2018
2018

Greater Greater Washington Professional Development

With support from TransitCenter, we will take advantage of professional development (PD) opportunities to better train our staff and volunteers in key skills that will magnify the impact of their existing work. GGWash was granted $10,000 to provide PD opportunities to staff and volunteers to help us reach more members of the public, elected officials and transportation leaders and mobilize them to take action on issues and policies that will improve transit options for residents across the Washington DC region.

Recipient: Smart Growth America – T4A
2018
2018

High Impact Journalism

Through reporting and media, shape Denver’s plans to overhaul its transit system in a way that advances accessile, high-frequency transit that gets people to work, school, and daily needs.

Recipient: Colorado Nonprofit Development Center – Streetsblog Denver
2018
2018

What Riders Want Transit Dashboard

Our proposed project is to create an online dashboard highlighting metrics that riders care about. Drawing on our own experience and research (such as our Culture of Transit market report and Rate Your Ride engagement tool), as well as national expertise (such as TransitCenter’s Transit Ridership Recipe and Who’s On Board 2016), we intend to focus on five key metrics: access to jobs, reliability, frequency, speed and walkability.

Recipient: Baltimore Community Foundation, Inc. – Central Maryland Transportation Alliance
2018
2018

Advocacy for bus network improvements

Sustain Charlotte requests $20,000 to advocate for, and educate the public about the benefits of CATS CEO John Lewis’s stated goal of redesigning the bus network to more effectively and efficiently serve riders.

Recipient: Sustain Charlotte Inc.
2018
2018

Investing in Place is requesting a $5,000 Dispatch Grant to fund activities and materials supporting our mobility advocacy summit - The Tripping Point 2.

Investing in Place believes that transit is only as good as the access that individuals have to it. For that reason, Investing in Place is seeking to direct local transportation dollars in the city of Los Angeles to repairing broken and buckled sidewalks, installing new painted crosswalks and bus shelters, and addressing the lack of shade trees along the city’s streets. The present state of the city’s pedestrian environment is a barrier to walking and biking, and it also inhibits mobility for differently-abled individuals. Addressing these conditions will improve the transit riding experience by improving access to local bus and rail transit and increasing the ability of the differently-abled to make use of fixed-route transit service.

Recipient: Community Partners – Investing in Place
2018
2018

L-train shutdown coalition building

The Regional Plan Association was granted $20,000 for advocacy work around the closure of the L-train, set to happen in 2019. The NYC subway line, which serves 225,000 every weekday between Manhattan and Brooklyn, needs to be closed in order for repairs to the tunnels under the East River, damaged by Superstorm Sandy. The MTA has decided it will fully close the line between Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn and 8th Avenue in Manhattan for a period of 18-months to undertake these repairs. The closure is a crisis and will be very difficult on L-train riders, but it provides a rare opportunity for transit advocates to win reforms that they have been seeking for decades. These includes ambitious bus rapid transit and street configuration/traffic calming projects.

Recipient: Regional Plan Association
2018
2018

L-Train Organizing

Transportation Alternatives (TransAlt) was granted a $20,000 Dispatch Grant to spring into action in response to the unexpected L train shutdown, which will close the Canarsie tunnel connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn completely for one and a half years or partially for three years starting in 2019. Although the physical shutdown looms a few years away, it is imperative that TransAlt start mobilizing its grassroots networks in Lower Manhattan and North Brooklyn now. It will take a multi-year effort to organize citizens, coalition partners and elected officials to advocate for innovative transit solutions that will not only help mitigate the short-term L train crisis but also seize a rare opportunity to significantly influence the future trajectory of transportation in two critical New York City regions.

Recipient: Transportation Alternatives Inc
2018
2018

New Jersey Transit Bus Reform

We have a moment right now to make real progress on bus reform. Not only is NJ Transit at a moment of transition, but the state and how its residents commute is also rapidly changing, becoming more urbanized and more focused on transit needs. But the only way we’ll get commuters to abandon their personal vehicles is to reform bus operations not only between New Jersey and New York, but within commuter hubs in New Jersey as well. We can play a key role in giving riders a voice on transit issues and advancing substantial improvements to bus service. By launching a bus turnaround-like campaign for New Jersey Transit, Tri-State Transportation Campaign can advocate for allocation of capital and operating funds toward better bus service for NJ Transit.

Recipient: Tri-State Transportation Campaign
2018
2018

Transit Rider Engagement and Transit Policy Momentum

This project aims to capitalize on the momentum gained in the last few years to create a region in which taking transit enables full access to jobs, education, health care, and other needs that ensure the equitable, thriving community that all residents deserve. That means consistently improving access to economic opportunity, reduced travel times, and an ever-more accessible and growing regional transit system.

Recipient: Transport for NOLA
2018
2018

Building Ridership and Equity from the Ground Up: Pittsburgh’s Riders’ Vision for Public Transit

This year, Pittsburghers for Public Transit is proposing systemic change to PAAC’s process of decision-making, by insisting that riders, bus operators and other stakeholders be collaborators from the start. We are using the Port Authority’s RFP for a mobile fare payment app as a test case, by putting forward rider suggestions for the RFP and insisting that riders be part of the selection body to determine the most effective and equitable transit fare app. This dovetails with our larger fare equity campaign, as our existing fare payment systems have limitations that disproportionately penalize low-income riders and families that the mobile fare payment app could help address. In addition, with our greater set of campaign planks laid out in our Riders’ Vision for Public Transit, we are calling on the Port Authority to collaborate with riders on tangible improvements to the system, including extending our dedicated busway network, linking transit policy with affordable housing policy, and implementing free transfers and fare capping.

Recipient: Thomas Merton Center, Inc. (Pittsburghers for Public Transit)
2018
2018

30x30 Rider Network: Redefining Rapid, Bringing the City Together

SFTR will to take advantage of the current climate in SF to propose a 30×30 Rider Network. This project will have riders redefine what rapid Muni service means. With this 30x30R campaign, SFTR will demonstrate the potential of a network of rapid transit lines that would truly tie the districts together into one accessible city; rapid lines that can be traveled end-to-end in 30 minutes by the year 2030.

Recipient: San Francisco Transit Riders
2018
2018

Transit Justice through Community Organizing

The popular conception of Oregon’s policy environment is one of environmentally-friendly outcomes. Our continued push to link equity and climate resilience to smart transportation investments seeks to harness this popular attitude into real action on behalf of state, regional and local decision-makers. We see a high potential to drive equitable outcomes across policy areas, as well as improve air quality, increase livability for our citizens, and decrease carbon output for the future of our world.

Recipient: OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
2018
2018

Just Make it Work: Moving Transit Solutions and Policy Forward in Miami-Dade County

Granted $75,000 to Transit Alliance to change the dominant transit narrative in Miami-Dade County by getting city and county officials, as well as local residents back to basics. A campaign educating these groups on exactly how transit works and what successful transit needs will be critical for bringing about more grounded and realistic conversations and action. Likewise, Transit Alliance Miami (TA Miami) seeks to showcase how relatively simple improvements like increased frequency and reliability in bus service can serve more riders and attract ridership, in lieu of exorbitant spending on massive new rail projects.

Recipient: Miami Dade Transit Alliance
Livable Streets Transportation Alliance of Boston Inc
2018
2018

Getting Boston on Board: Fixing and Expanding Boston’s Bus System

Granted $80,000 to Livable Streets to build a system that matches Boston’s ambition to be a world class city, LivableStreets will:

  1. Hold the City of Boston accountable, ensuring that it does not lose momentum or backtrack.
  2. Create a vision for bus service expansion and a pathway for achieving that vision.
  3. Continue to build a coalition of riders and elected officials who are ready to fight for better bus service.

Recipient: Livable Streets Transportation Alliance of Boston Inc
2018
2018

Back on the Bus/Fair Fares Chicago

Granted $105,000 to Active Transportation Alliance for the third year of their “Back on the Bus” bus advocacy campaign in Chicago.

Recipient: Active Transportation Alliance
Sustain Charlotte Inc
2017
2017

Advocacy for Charlotte's Bus Network Redesign

$100,000 granted to organize residents to advocate for more frequent service as the Charlotte Area Transit Authority undertakes the largest change to the city’s bus network.

Recipient: Sustain Charlotte Inc
Active Transportation Alliance
2017
2017

Back on the Bus: Next Stage

$72,800 granted to push for the policy recommendations they outlined in last year’s report “Back on the Bus: Speeding up Chicago’s Buses,” in order to make sub-standard bus service a political issue and improve bus service in Chicago.

Recipient: Active Transportation Alliance
2017
2017

Safe Routes to Transit: New Strategies to Connect Transit and Pedestrian Advocacy

$120,000 granted for a joint effort by Walk San Francisco and the San Francisco Transit Riders Union to a build a stronger and more organized political constituency in favor of transit- and pedestrian-priority street projects in San Francisco.

Recipient: Walk San Francisco Foundation
Walk Bike Nashville
2017
2017

Transit for Nashville: Pedestrian Access and Safety

$65,357 granted to watchdog the city’s Vision Zero and WalknBike plan, which will make pedestrian access to transit a central part of Nashville’s transit debate.

Recipient: Walk Bike Nashville
LA-Más
2017
2017

Institutionalizing Creative First/Last Mile Interventions

$75,000 granted to LA-Más to push LA-region agencies to streamline the implementation of creative first/last mile interventions at transit stations and stops and to combat rising pedestrian deaths and sinking transit ridership in the second most populous region in the nation.

Recipient: LA-Más
2017
2017

Nola Transit Rider Activate and Engagement

$120,000 granted to build and mobilize grassroots support for transit investments that serve the majority of the city’s transit riders. In 2018, they will watchdog implementation of the RTA’s new strategic plan, campaign for immediate improvements that riders prioritize, and advocate for agency accountability and reform.

Recipient: Ride New Orleans
Active Transportation Alliance
2016
2016

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.

Recipient: Active Transportation Alliance
We are thrilled to be partnering with TransitCenter because they’re a national leader in public transit advocacy and provide valuable insight into what’s being done around the country.
– ATA Executive Director Ron Burke
2016
2016

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.

Recipient: Center for an Urban Future
2016
2016

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.

Recipient: Circulate San Diego
2016
2016

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.

Recipient: Coalition for Smarter Growth
2016
2016

Capacity Building

Communication and Organizational Development

Recipient: Greater Greater Washington
2016
2016

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.

Recipient: Green Mobility Network
LA-Más
2016
2016

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.

Recipient: LA-Más
2016
2016

Capacity Building

Organizational Exchange

Recipient: Metropolitan Planning Council
2016
2016

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.

Recipient: Portland State University
Ride New Orleans
2016
2016

Organizing Transit Riders for Tangible Wins

$115,000 for advocacy for enhanced, community-focused transit service.

Recipient: Ride New Orleans
With the TransitCenter's help, Ride New Orleans is stepping up its grassroots transit rider organizing campaign more effectively helping riders win targeted transit improvements.
- Alex Posorske, Executive Director, Ride New Orleans
2016
2016

Capacity Building

Audit on Transit Equity Priority Projects

Recipient: San Francisco Transit Riders Union
2016
2016

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.

Recipient: State Smart Transportation Initiative
2016
2016

Transforming 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.

Recipient: The Nature of Cities
TransForm
2016
2016

Revolutionizing the Commute in Silicon Valley

$85,000 to promote tolling on Highway 101 and support increased transit service in the corridor.

Recipient: TransForm
Transportation Alternatives
2016
2016

L Train Improvements Outreach

Transportation Alternatives is organizing citizens, stakeholder groups, and elected officials to direct transportation solutions to the coming shutdown of the L-train

Recipient: Transportation Alternatives
2016
2016

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.

Recipient: Transportation Choices Coalition
2016
2016

What 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.

Recipient: UCLA
2016
2016

Building Robust, Uncompromised Transit Projects

$130,000 to create new strategies with the SFMTA for reforming community engagement strategies around critical transit projects.

Recipient: Walk San Francisco
2015
2015

Evaluating Transportation Demand Management Results

Research and peer networking approach to creating performance metrics for programs intended to influence the demand for transportation.

Recipient: Alta Planning and Design
2015
2015

Scaling Up Co-Creative Planning of Transit Corridors

Pilot new methods of engaging the public in transportation planning.

Recipient: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2015
2015

Advancing Scenario-based Planning

Training program for staff of metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to enable improved decision-making about transportation investments.

Recipient: National Association of Regional Councils (NARC)
2015
2015

Developing Leadership for Transit Streets

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.

Recipient: National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
2015
2015

Intelligent Paratransit

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.

Recipient: New York University
Open Plans
2015
2015

Streetfilms Series: How Transit Agencies are Addressing Challenges

Set of short films documenting interesting projects and programs at various transit agencies around the country.

Recipient: Open Plans
2015
2015

New tools for understanding trip-making and accessibility

Applied research project to improve forecasting techniques for transportation services.

Recipient: State Smart Transportation Initative
TransForm
2015
2015

Stopping Highway Expansion and Improving Funding for Transit

Advocacy to improve transit between San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

Recipient: TransForm
Our optimized HOT approach now has incredible momentum and statewide credibility thanks to support from TransitCenter.
- Bianca Taylor, Communications Director at Transform
2015
2015

State-level Policy Network for Transit Financing

Educational peer-to-peer network for state legislators and state government officials who deal with transportation policy.

Recipient: Transportation for America