The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded six application development research contracts, totaling $6.185 million* for a period of performance through FY 2019, under its Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI) to improve mobility options for all travelers, particularly those with disabilities.
ATTRI is a multimodal departmental effort that has been at the leading edge of identifying and developing transformative transportation applications for all disabilities. “ATTRI’s success depends on working cooperatively with other agencies as well as the private sector,” said Michael F. Trentacoste, Associate Administrator for Research, Development and Technology; Director, Turner Fairbank Highway Research Center. “We recognize the interdisciplinary nature of accessible transportation research and actively seek opportunities to leverage resources, accomplishments, and knowledge advances both within the USDOT and across federal agencies. We can’t do this alone.”
In 2016, ATTRI issued a Broad Agency Announcement soliciting proposals for development of applications that will lead to transformational changes and revolutionary advances in accessible transportation, personal mobility, and independent travel for all travelers, offering a totally new travel experience in intermodal surface transportation in the United States.
With nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population comprising individuals with disabilities, and other demographic trends such as the increasing number of aging Americans, USDOT recognized the importance of exploring innovative mobility options. Emerging technologies and creative service models can offer all Americans enhanced travel choices and accessibility at levels once only imagined.
USDOT is making a significant investment to bring creative solutions to travelers with disabilities and to engage other federal agencies and public-private entities in testing and deploying ATTRI applications in the coming months.
USDOT reviewed a total of 34 proposals and granted the following awards in three application technology areas—wayfinding and navigation, pre-trip and concierge services, and safe intersection crossing:
“The ATTRI program, and the innovators taking part in this important program, are working to make mobility more accessible to all Americans, including those with disabilities,” said Vince Valdes, Federal Transit Administration Associate Administrator for Research, Demonstration and Innovation. “These projects give FTA and the broader USDOT community the opportunity to leverage transformative technological advances to ensure that public transportation fulfills its promise to serve everyone.
Wayfinding and Navigation:
- City College of New York – Smart Cane for Assistive Navigation (SCAN) integrated with a smart phone application. (Award: $631,000)
- AbleLink Smart Living Technologies – A new open wayfinding media standard and infrastructure to support the creation of geographically-specific cloud-based libraries of routes that adhere to the SMART standard for users in different metropolitan or rural areas. (Award: $923,721)
- Pathway Accessibility Solutions – A wayfinding tool for wheelchair users and people with visual impairment that provides routes tailored to the user’s preferences. (Award: $913,389)
- TRX Systems – Smart wayfinding and navigation system to obtain real-time location, en-route assistance, and situational awareness. (Award $889,101)
Pre-Trip and Concierge Services:
- AbleLink – A suite of assessment, self-directed learning, and trip execution technologies to support independent travel for individuals with cognitive disabilities. (Award: $828,154)
Safe Intersection Crossing:
- Carnegie Mellon University – Connect pedestrian travelers with disabilities to the traffic signal systems (and by extension to nearby connected vehicles and infrastructure), and use this connectivity to develop assistive services for safe intersection crossing and increased independent mobility. (Award: $2,000,000)
A key ATTRI partner, the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research under the Administration for Community Living within the Department of Human Services, will make a separate announcement for applications in the robotics and automation technology area.
These applications will enhance independent mobility for all travelers, including those with disabilities, using transformative technologies, universal design, and inclusive information communication technologies.
Intelligent Transportations Systems Joint Program Office Director Ken Leonard notes, “ATTRI is exploring the formation of an accessible transportation network that is far more economical, expansive, and welcoming, which is of increasing importance not only to travelers with disabilities, but to all travelers in the United States.”
*Includes the base and the optional years and is subject to availability of funds and successful performance objectives.
For more information on ATTRI, please visit: https://www.its.dot.gov/research_archives/attri/index.htm.