• This page, Funding for community transportation, is offered by
  • MassMobility

Funding for community transportation

Looking for funding for a community transportation service or coordination effort? Check out these federal, state, foundation, and other funding opportunities.

Table of Contents

Apply today! Upcoming deadlines

  • Community Compact Best Practices Program - Municipalities can apply for funding to implement a Best Practice, such as safe mobility or age-friendly efforts. Municipalities that did not apply in the FY22 program are eligible to apply for funding in the FY23 cycle. The program opens August 15 and will remain open until funds are exhausted.

  • MicroProjects -  municipalities and Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) in Central Massachusetts, as well as the Worcester Regional Transit Authority, can apply to the Central Massachusetts Metropolitan Planning Organization's new MicroProjects grant to fund first and last mile solutions, community transportation, and other small, non-traditional transportation projects, such as bikesharing facilities. Apply by January 20.

  • Areas of Persistent Poverty - funding from the Federal Transit Administration for planning studies, engineering, or development of technical or financial plans in Areas of Persistent Poverty or Historically Disadvantaged areas.  For example, these activities may include planning, engineering, or development of technical or financing plans for improved transit services; new transit routes; engineering for transit facilities and improvements to existing facilities; innovative technologies; planning for low or no emission buses; planning for a new bus facility or intermodal center that supports transit services; integrated fare collections systems; or coordinated public transit human service transportation plans to improve transit service in an Area of Persistent Poverty or Historically Disadvantaged Community, or to provide new service such as transportation for services to address the opioid epidemic, as well as increase access to environmental justice populations, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the effects of climate change. Apply by March 10. Learn more on a webinar February 7, 9, or 15.

  • AARP Community Challenge Grants - nonprofits and government entities are invited to apply for one of three grant opportunities: (1) flagship grants to improve community livability for older adults, including projects to deliver a range of transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, and access to public and private transit; (2) capacity-building microgrants of $2,500 plus technical assistance to implement a walk audit; or (3) demonstration grants to advance solutions that build capacity towards transportation systems change. Apply by March 15. Learn more on a February 8 webinar.

State funding

Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) funding

Name Description Timeline Example
Community Transit Grant Program
  • Massachusetts distributes federal and state funds for community transportation to expand services for older adults and people with disabilities through MassDOT’s Community Transit Grant Program.
  • This includes the federal 5310 program and the state Mobility Assistance Program (MAP).
  • Transit authorities, state agencies, municipalities, and non-profits can apply annually to MassDOT for capital or operating assistance.

Annual competitive application process usually opens in the spring

Report highlighting examples of strong projects

Most recent awards

Past years' awards

Helping Hand Mini-Grants
  • Small grants of up to $1000 to support transit services in rural and small urban areas
  • Offered through MArtap

Annual competitive process usually opens in the spring

Sign up for the MArtap newsletter to receive notification

  • Equipment such as laptops, printers, or scanners
  • Safe steps to help older adults access a vehicle
  • Marketing supplies
Complete Streets
  • Technical assistance and funding to support implementation on Complete Streets for all travelers
  • Available to municipalities
Program due dates and additional information
  • Improved crosswalk near Natick Senior Center
  • Improved sidewalk near Leominster Senior Center

 

Other state funding

Name Description Timeline Example

Taxi/Livery Partnership Grant Program

  • Statewide grant program providing funding to contract with taxicab, livery, or hackney businesses for transportation and delivery needs for the Commonwealth’s vulnerable populations and others
  • Run by MassDevelopment. Previously administered by MAPC
Approximately once or twice a year Meal delivery, workforce transportation, homeless transportation, and more
Transportation Network Company (TNC) disbursements
  • Municipalities receive annual funding based on the number of TNC rides originating there
Distributed annually to municipalities Senior transportation services, shuttles, and more
Efficiency and Regionalization Grant Program
  • Funding for efforts to regionalize services
  • Affiliated with the Community Compact, which offers technical assistance to cities and towns that pledge to implement best practices such as transportation, age-friendly policies, and other topics

Usually annual; in 2022, opened in January and closed in February

Piloting a first mile/last mile service in Beverly
Massachusetts Community Health and Healthy Aging Funds
  • Department of Public Health funds to improve population health outcomes through innovative and sustainable approaches that bring together a variety of people and partners
  • Recognizes transportation as a social determinant of health that affects community health and healthy aging
The inaugural round of applications opened in fall 2019, and grants were announced in fall 2020. A second round was held in 2022
  • Transportation to healthy food and fitness for low-income seniors
  • Age-friendly walkability in a rural region
  • All grantees
Community Connections
  • Boston Region MPO funding for first- and last-mile solutions, community transportation, and other small, nontraditional transportation projects such as updating transit technology and improving bicycle and pedestrian facilities
  • The 97 cities and towns that are part of the Boston MPO are eligible, as well as Regional Transit Authorities within the region
Annual program. Applications in 2021 were due in December New funding stream as of 2020
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
  • Municipalities can apply for public social services funding to offer free or reduced-fare rides to low-income individuals
Opens in December, due in March Wareham uses CDBG funds to offer discounted dial-a-ride fares, bus passes, and out-of-town medical transportation to low-income seniors 
COMMBUYS
  • State contract opportunities
   

 

Federal funding

 

Additional Resources

Private funding

Massachusetts foundations and initiatives

Regional foundations and initiatives

National foundations and initiatives

Fundraising from local businesses

  • Local banks have sponsored vehicles and transportation services in some regions of Massachusetts
  • Many restaurants are willing to partner with nonprofits to host fundraisers where some of the profits from a meal go to your organization
  • Corporate giving programs based in Massachusetts may be a source of funds or volunteers - example from Lowell

 

Additional Resources

Other fundraising strategies

  • Fundraising events can be targeted to transportation or mobility efforts
  • Individuals can leave money in their wills to support local transportation services
    • For example, the Belchertown Council on Aging (COA) received funds from the estate of a senior who had been a regular customer of the COA van
  • The Town of Acton implemented a meals tax to increase local funding available to support transportation
  • Crowdfunding sites provide a platform to raise funds from individual donors in support of a defined project

Funding to improve walkability in Massachusetts

WalkBoston compiled a listing of funding opportunities to improve walkability in Massachusetts communities.

Funding for individuals

Individuals looking for help funding their own transportation expenses can look to the following sources for help:

Create an organization whose mission is to fundraise for transportation

  • Tasks for Transit is a nonprofit dedicated to raising funds from individuals and corporations, using those funds to buy Worcester Regional Transit Authority bus passes, and distributing the bus passes to partner charities to give to their consumers.
  • A grassroots initiative chose accessible transportation as the beneficiary of a fundraising initiative they took on

Grantwriting tips

Data sources

These data sources may be helpful as you craft the case for why your project will effectively meet an important need:

National resources

Funding, financing, and fares - information and links from the National Center for Mobility Management

Contact

Online

Email MassMobility massmobility@dot.state.ma.us
Visit our website MassMobility 

Help Us Improve Mass.gov with your feedback

Feedback