TriMet awarded $678,000 federal grant to expand trip planning IT platform

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Future local and national applications for intermodal mobility and trip planning tool

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently awarded TriMet a $678,000 Mobility on Demand (MOD) SandBox grant that will enable the agency to extend the Open Trip Planner (OTP) platform. This will help us add additional shared-use mobility options into our existing trip planning tool.

The OTP, initially released as an open source project by TriMet in 2009, was the first planning tool to introduce multiple modes in one trip with the original focus on incorporating biking and walking with transit.

Adoption of OTP technology has been strong, with implementation in dozens of cities and countries worldwide. TriMet will now build upon the core of Open Trip Planner to incorporate shared-use mobility options.

“TriMet has led the charge for open data and collaboration in transit data app development,” said TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane. “This grant will continue to strengthen our customer-centric approach to data sharing and help our customers make informed decisions about their mobility choices, including the critical first and last mile connections for their transit trips.”

Some of the additional elements we will be building into the platform include improvements to basemap data so the trip planner can support enhanced pedestrian/wheelchair accessibility information for customers; and improvements to regional address data that will make location search and geocoding more effective and user-friendly.

“We’re on the cusp of a transportation technology revolution,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer.  “This grant gives TriMet the opportunity to lead the nation in utilizing mobile technology and coordinating with private sector transportation providers to meet the mobility needs of a diverse and growing region.”

The MOD Sandbox Program, managed by the Federal Transit Agency (FTA), is part of a larger research effort at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that supports transit agencies and communities as they integrate new mobility tools, making transportation systems more efficient and accessible, particularly for people who lack access to a car.

A total of $8 million in MOD Sandbox Program grant funds was awarded to 11 agencies nationwide. The FTA chose projects that have demonstrated solutions in real-world settings. The announcement was made by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx at the 2016 White House Frontier Conference this week.

This two-year project will begin in January 2017.

Background on the Mobility on Demand initiative

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, developed the Mobility on Demand (MOD) initiative to help communities nationwide incorporate the latest technology into their public transit services, with the goal of making them more effective, efficient, and equitable. Urban, suburban, and rural communities alike will benefit from better first and last mile connections, improved paratransit services, smart congestion management, and more.