Securing funding for projects can be the most frustrating and complicated piece of the puzzle. This workshop provided information about where to find grant funds, whom to collaborate with to get them and how to use research results once the grant project is complete. The four panelists in this workshop represent the FMCSA, UMassSafe at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Connecticut Transportation Research Safety Center (CTRSC) at the University of Connecticut and the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at the North Dakota State University.
WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT GRANT FUNDING?
While funding exists for the development and implementation of transportation safety projects and programs, the mechanisms through which to acquire said funding can be complicated and difficult to navigate.
ADDRESSING FUNDING AT THE SUMMIT
To address the issue of project and program funding through the FMCSA Grant Program, the planners of the Summit sought out a variety of speakers that shed light on this topic. The presentations in this workshop included the following:
• Overview of the FMCSA Grant Program - Tom Keane of the FMCSA, talked about FMCSA’s grant programs, including; formula and competitive grants, eligibility information, details about the grant management lifecycle, timelines, and how to access grant information.
• Examples of Successful Partnerships to Access Funding - Robin Riessman of UMassSafe provided examples of successful partnerships between the university and a variety of state agencies, sharing examples of projects that have been supported with FMCSA grants. Kevin Slater of the CTRSC shared the collaborative efforts to improve Connecticut’s State Safety Data Quality rating through the development and implementation of training for police officers in investigating large vehicle crashes.
• Disseminating Research Results - Brenda Lantz of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute talked about methods for researchers to submit and disseminate their results utilizing the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the Journal of the Transportation Research Record as well as the benefits of becoming involved with a TRB standing committee or subcommittee.
The first step to acquiring funding through the FMCSA Grant Program is to go to the source. FMCSA provides funding webinars after a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) is published. In addition, staff of the FMCSA Division Offices, which exist in each state, are available as resources on available funding opportunities. As can be gleaned by the information shared during these presentations, the best way to navigate the FMCSA Grant Program process is through partnerships. University research programs are adept at rules and regulations regarding grant proposals, and can provide guidance to state departments.
More information on these presentations can be found in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Research Summit Summary Report. In addition, the presentations can be accessed by clicking here.