FY24 application cycle
Applications for the FY24 operating and mobility management cycle opened May 8, 2023 and closed on June 23, 2023. The FY24 vehicle cycle will open November 28, with applications due December 22, 2023. Learn more about applying.
The Community Transit Grant Program is an annual, competitive grant program to expand mobility for older adults and people with disabilities.
Who can apply: Transit authorities, Councils on Aging, municipalities, non-profit organizations, and private operators of public transit (shared-ride) services can apply.
Annual schedule: The grant typically opens in the spring, with applications due in late spring. Award announcements come in the fall, with funding available in January. Vehicles are typically delivered the following June - about a year after the application is submitted.
All projects must center the needs of older adults and people with disabilities, and all projects must respond to a need identified in your region's Coordinated Human Service Transportation Plan. Three types of projects are eligible:
- Mobility management
- Accessible vehicles
Scroll down for more information and examples of each project type.
Local match: The grant requires a local match of 50% for an operating project, 20% for a mobility management project, and 20% for a vehicle or other capital.
Funding streams: The Community Transit Grant Program is MassDOT's consolidated grant program that awards two streams of funding:
- Federal 5310 funding - Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities
- State Mobility Assistance Program (MAP) funding
MAP funds are used only for vehicles, while 5310 funds are used for vehicles as well as operating and mobility management projects.
Strong applications and projects incorporate these best practices:
- Respond to unmet local or regional transportation need
- Coordinate with partners across sectors to build on – not duplicate – existing transportation options
- Include riders in project planning, design, implementation, and evaluation
- Prioritize transportation for older adults and people with disabilities while offering unused seats to the general public
Read examples of how past grantees incorporated these best practices into their initiatives in our 2021 report Expanding Mobility through MassDOT's Community Transit Grant Program.
You can apply to the Community Transit Grant Program for funding to operate a transportation service that expands mobility for older adults and people with disabilities:
- The grant can pay up to 50% of the cost of operating your service, so you need a local match to cover the other 50%.
- Fares or donations that you collect from riders cannot count towards your local match. Federal rules require fares to be deducted from the project budget.
- Each grant covers one year of operations. You can apply for continued funding after a year, but it is not guaranteed.
Types of operating projects could include:
- Demand-response above and beyond what transit authorities are required to provide through the Americans with Disabilities Act
- Regionalized service among multiple Councils on Aging
- A community shuttle
- On-demand transportation
- Volunteer driver programs
Operating Project Example: The Quaboag Connector
The Town of Ware and the Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation (QVCDC) partner to operate the Quaboag Connector, a demand-response service serving ten rural towns at the intersection of Worcester, Hampden, and Hampshire Counties. Prior to the launch of the Connector, the region had very little transportation, and lack of transportation frequently emerged as a barrier preventing individuals from overcoming poverty, constraining regional economic development, and negatively affecting residents' health. Working closely with area Councils on Aging and other partners, the Town and QVCDC launched the Connector to meet the needs of local older adults and people with disabilities, with service open to others as well as space allows.
Operating Project Example: MedWheels
The Greater Attleboro-Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRA) provides a regionalized approach to long-distance medical transportation through the MedWheels service. Older adults and people with disabilities in participating towns can call GATRA to arrange a ride for medical appointments outside the scope of local transportation options. GATRA staff talk to callers about all transportation options and make referrals if the caller is eligible for another service. If the caller does not have another option, GATRA provides a cab ride paid through MedWheels.
Mobility Management Projects
Mobility management projects are other ways of expanding mobility for older adults and people with disabilities, other than operating a transportation service directly. Examples include:
- Paying the salary of a staff person who helps older adults and people with disabilities learn about and learn to use local community transportation services
- Paying the salary of a travel trainer, who helps older adults and people with disabilities learn to ride fixed-route public transit
- Capital expenses that expand mobility, such as software to allow a service to provide on-demand rides so riders can take trips without planning ahead
- Convening agencies to collaborate on community transportation issues, to create an environment that fosters coordination of services
Mobility Management Example: TRIPPS
The Brookline Council on Aging (COA) received Community Transit Grant Program funds to launch a mobility management initiative inside the COA. They recruited local older adults to serve as peer mentors, conducted "field trips" to encourage older adults to try new forms of transportation, and offered workshops on how to use ride-hailing services. After a few years of grant funding, the Brookline COA took the initiative on as part of their general operating budget. Brookline received a recent grant to create videos and written guides to share their transportation technology training more widely.
Mobility Management Example: PVTA Travel Training
The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) uses Community Transit Grant funding to support their travel training program.
Mobility Management Example: Blue Hills
A public health coalition in the Greater Quincy area identified transportation equity as a social determinant of health and convened partners to learn about needs, barriers, options, and opportunities.
MassDOT procures wheelchair-accessible vehicles for transit authorities, municipalities, Councils on Aging, non-profits, and private operators of public transit (shared-ride) services. When you apply, you will get a list of the types of vehicles available, and you will check off which type(s) of vehicle(s) you are applying for. MassDOT will purchase the vehicle on your behalf and have it delivered to you. For the FY24 vehicle cycle, we anticipate delivery in June 2025. This guide contains information about vehicles available for the FY24 vehicle application cycle.
MassDOT covers 80% of the cost, and you cover the remaining 20%. Transit authorities can get their vehicles fully covered, so if you are a municipality that is a member of a Regional Transit Authority (RTA), reach out to your RTA to see about partnering.
If you receive a vehicle, your drivers will need to participate in mandatory driver training.
Applicants are encouraged to explore opportunities to partner on coordinated projects and applications, including through sharing vehicles.
How to get started
Start early! Laying the groundwork ahead of time will help you have a strong application.
- Subscribe to our newsletter to get updates on and announcements of grant opportunities
- Talk with local partners and neighboring towns about collaborating on a coordinated approach. Connect with your Regional Coordinating Council if your region has one
- Reach out to the MassDOT Manager of Grant Programs and Mobility Management with any questions or for technical assistance: Rachel.L.Fichtenbaum@dot.state.ma.us
- Review your region's Coordinated Human Service Transportation Plan and other needs assessments
- Familiarize yourself with existing transportation options in your region to make sure your idea does not duplicate an existing service. Check your transit authority and search for additional options in Ride Match
- Brainstorm sources for local match funds