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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

  • Taxi/Livery Partnership Grant Program - The Metropolitan Area Planning Council, in partnership with MassDevelopment, is offering grants up to $250,000 to contract with taxicab, livery, or hackney businesses to meet transportation and delivery needs. Eligible grantees include regional transit authorities, municipal and state agencies, health and human services agencies, and nonprofit organizations across Massachusetts. Applications are due November 20. Learn more on a November 9 webinar.

  • Shared Winter Streets and Spaces - MassDOT is extending the Shared Streets and Spaces initiative that launched over the summer to help municipalities and transit authorities address the particular challenges of winter amid the ongoing public health crisis. Cities, towns, and transit authorities are eligible to apply for grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $500,000 to improve plazas, sidewalks, curbs, streets, parking areas, and other public spaces in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce. Bonus points are available for projects that take an age-friendly approach. Applications will be accepted in four rounds, with deadlines of December 4, January 5, January 29, and February 26.

  • Community Connections - Municipalities and Regional Transit Authorities within the Boston MPO region can apply for first- and last-mile solutions, community transportation, and other small, nontraditional transportation projects - including education about transportation options. Applications are due December 11.

  • Systems and Best Practices - grants from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation to expand, scale, or replicate “best in class” collaborations or ideas addressing the needs of older people in community. Learn more at a virtual info session November 17. Letters of intent due January 22.

  • Collaboration and Community Engagement - grants from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation to support multiple community stakeholders and sectors working toward a common goal of supporting age-friendly communities and addressing barriers in vulnerable communities. Learn more at a virtual info session November 17. Letters of intent due January 22.

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, non-profits, and for-profits can apply annually to MassDOT for capital or operating assistance.

Annual competitive application process usually opens in May with proposals due in June


This year's schedule

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
  • Improved crosswalk near Natick Senior Center
  • Improved sidewalk near Leominster Senior Center
Workforce Transportation Program
  • New funding stream available to support employment transportation
Applications were due October 2019. Grants were announced February 2020

Grants announced February 2020


Other state funding

Name Description Timeline Example
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, bus stop enhancements, 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
Opens in mid-January with grants due in mid-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
Application process fall 2019-winter 2020 New funding stream as of 2019
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
New program launching fall 2020 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 
  • 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 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



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