Injecting Innovation into Public Transportation: Announcing nine new TransitCenter grantees - TransitCenter
November 6, 2015
Injecting Innovation into Public Transportation: Announcing nine new TransitCenter grantees

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Contact: Kyle Moler | 202-478-6173 | [email protected]

TransitCenter awards nearly $1 million in grants to projects focused on improving urban mobility across the country

New York, NY — TransitCenter, a foundation dedicated to improving urban mobility, today announced that it has awarded nine major grants totaling $838,700 to a range of organizations contributing original new work to the field. TransitCenter announced the competition in May 2015 and received 91 applications from civic organizations, universities, government agencies and firms from across the country. The applicants were ranked on the basis of their potential impact to improve public transportation, originality, and applicants’ track records, as well as their consistency with TransitCenter’s own programming. Grantees will work with TransitCenter’s internal staff to launch these projects in the coming months, with all of them expected to be in full swing by early 2016.

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.

“The philanthropic sector can play an important role in facilitating change in the field of urban mobility and accessibility,” said Helen Chin, the Director of Sustainable Environments at Surdna Foundation. “It is exciting to see TransitCenter stepping into its new role as a grant maker and thought partner.”

“TransitCenter’s philanthropic support of NACTO helps bring great ideas into practice, and enables the public sector to undertake innovative research and leadership development that cities can’t often undertake on their own,” said Ed Reiskin, Director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and President of the NACTO board.

Sarah Kaufman, Assistant Director for Technology Programming at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation called TransitCenter’s grant program “an exciting opportunity to put research into practice,” adding that the grant to the Rudin Center would “contribute to the mobility of all New Yorkers.”

“Selecting these winners was both gratifying and daunting,” said Jennifer Elam, Grants and Operations Manager for TransitCenter. “It was tremendous to see so many strong applications from around the country, and very energizing for us to be able to select such excellent grantees.”


For more information or to speak to TransitCenter experts about the grantee program, please contact Kyle Moler at 202.478.6173 / [email protected].


About TransitCenter

TransitCenter is a foundation committed to improving urban mobility. TransitCenter believes new approaches are needed to change the urban landscape and empower communities, policymakers, businesses, and riders to take action. TransitCenter works through research, convenings, collaborations, and publications that inform and improve the practice of planning, financing, and operating transit that bolsters the overall vitality of our cities. For more information please visit 

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