2023-24 Request for ProposalS

C2SMARTER Center is soliciting proposals from its consortium faculty for transformative research projects and initiatives in 2023-2024. Proposed projects/initiatives should fit within the Center’s overarching theme of Reducing Congestion, addressing the Center’s and USDOT’s strategic goals and focus of implementable research, technology transfer, and educating/retraining the transportation industry workforce. Joint projects between members of consortium institutions are highly encouraged.

Proposed efforts shall identify and address USDOT research strategic goals and performance metrics, as identified in the USDOT RD&T Strategic Plan. In addition to the merit of the proposed topic, projects will be selected based on their proposed outputs (i.e., products, tools), external partners/users of the generated products, real-world implementations that will result, and/or student/workforce training. Meaningful partner participation is critical to the success and measurable outcomes of funded efforts. Funded projects/efforts are typically required to have a minimum 50% cost-share from non-federal sources, with a strong preference for real cash match or equivalent from non-University sources. Received proposals will undergo a multi-step and rigorous peer-review process to evaluate the merit of the proposed research, feasibility, and fit with the center’s themes.

Contact Center Administration at to confirm eligibility prior to submission.

Proposal Submission Key Deadines

● Abstract submissions to this RFP are due via the online form by August 6, 2023.

● Full proposals must be submitted via the online system by August 27, 2023.

● Review, follow-up, selection, and funding allocations will take place in September 2023, with final revised submissions due by September 29, 2023.

● All projects/efforts will be expected to commence by October 1, 2023 with a scheduled completion date of September 30, 2024 or earlier. Please ensure that proposed efforts can be completed within 1 year. If a multi-year effort is envisioned, describe tangible outcomes/outputs within the 1st year of the project, including an interim final report.

Download the Proposal Submission Guide

RFP Funding Tracks

Track 1: Deployment of Efficient and Reliable Multi-Modal Technologies

Proposals under Track 1 are for innovative yet practical deployments of technology for communities that most need them. Readily available micro-mobility and shared mobility modes such as e-bikes and jitneys have emerged as viable transportation alternatives, but piloting and implementation has been limited. Researchers will launch collaborative, interdisciplinary, initiatives which enable readily transferrable multimodal technologies and solutions: for example, ride-sharing or last-mile delivery solutions with connected, automated, and electric vehicles.


Example research initiatives: 

  • Equitable Commuting with Sustainable Micro-mobility
  • Electric Shared Mobility Governance 
  • Secure CAVs and EVs for Last-Mile Deliveries via Blockchain
  • Multi-Modal Trip Planner for Disadvantaged Travelers

Research proposals under this track should identify and feature the following components:

  • Technology product releases, prototypes, or tools aligned with USDOT Technology Transfer goals. Examples may include mobile applications, field installation of equipment, web-tool to model or analyze data, prototype of a new sensor/device, etc.
  • Agency or industry partner for the real-world implementation/demonstration of the project output. Partner commitment must be gained prior to authorization of the project.
  • Measurable outputs related to equity that target underserved communities or population.
Track 2: Research on Enhancing Operations through System Control and Design

Proposals under Track 2 will take advantage of infrastructure, testbeds, or large and novel datasets that will break new ground in our understanding of congestion reduction systems. These can be novel approaches using artificial-intelligence/machine-learning (AI/ML)-based methods in combination with complex simulation and modeling approaches. Research under this track shall advance the state of practice while having direct applications to real-world issues facing transportation systems and users.


Efforts under this track might include but are not limited to:

  • Traffic Control for Safe Intersections for Pedestrians with Disabilities
  • Cost-Effective Work Zone Management with AI-based Image Processing
  • Electric Trucks and Overweight Truck Enforcement to Reduce Congestion
  • Digital Twin to Equitably Reduce the Negative Impacts of Floods

Research proposals under this track should identify and feature the following components:

  • Implementations or pilot demonstrations to meet needs identified by agency or community partner goals. Examples may include new techniques or processes fitting a need that has been previously identified by user groups or project partners.

  • Agency or industry partner for the real-world implementation/demonstration of the project output. Partner commitment must be gained prior to authorization of the project.

  • Performance measures related to equity outcomes or impacts identified as addressing underserved communities or population.

Track 3: Evidence-based Policy-Making for Reducing Congestion

Proposals under Track 3 will leverage models and real-world data into the development and deployment of data-driven tools, centered around fairness and equity in long-term decision making where they are deployed. These can further implementations of responsible AI, smart cities and infrastructure, and adaptable infrastructure under the threat of major external disruptions such as COVID-19.


Example research initiatives:

  • Equitable Decision-making Data Architecture for Multi-Modal Planning
  • Multi-Scale Modeling for Accessibility and Congestion Performance Measures
  • Naturalistic Bicyclist Data & Multi-Modal Systems to Boost Transit Usage
  • Cloud-based Collaborative Curb Management & Congestion Reduction

Proposals under this track should identify and feature the following components:

  • Agency or industry partner requesting/driving the need for the policy or analysis. Partner commitment must be gained prior to authorization of the project.
  • How the research will address previously-identified equity issue(s).
Track 4: Education or Development Program Filling a Gap in Transportation Workforce Development

Proposals under Track 4 will create programs that will teach transformative technologies/methods that will reduce congestion to one or more diverse student groups, from primary-level students through working professionals. They will (1) equip students with the foundational knowledge they need to begin their careers, as well as instilling soft skills like adaptability and willingness to learn and experiment; or (2) help current industry and agency professionals upskill to master new technologies and keep up with rapid technological change.


Example initiatives:

  • Consortium student-driven research projects or capstones with mentorship
  • Cross-school and multi-entity learning and collaboration opportunities, including internships and other placement programs
  • K-12 targeted programs to interest and cultivate a new generation of transportation professionals
  • Technology/skills development in Rural, Isolated, Tribal, or Indigenous communities
  • Certificate programs or apprenticeships for new technologies, cybersecurity, or analytics for congestion reduction
  • Upskilling programs for agency staff and other working professionals

Proposals under this track should identify and feature the following components:

  • School or agency/partner organization commitment to participating in the program.
  • Plan to target or improve diversity among participants in identified programs, including attracting those from underrepresented backgrounds.
Track 5: Signature Technology Transfer Activities to Address Congestion Reduction and Transportation System Equity

Proposals under Track 5 will develop and execute outreach focused on equitable outcomes, for targeted and effective technology transfer across partnerships, communities, and diverse student groups. Activities shall rely on the diverse talents, connections, and makeup of the multi-university consortium. They aim to leverage diverse institutional relationships with city and

state agencies, and with the local communities who rely on them, enable technology transfer efforts to address even the most complex issues, including land use policy, multimodal deployment, and high transportation costs. 


Example initiatives:

  • Symposia with academia, industry, and agencies to explore the ways in which specific C2SMARTER research most impactful towards congestion reduction
  • Community-based workshops, event or program to study the impact of transportation infrastructure projects and policies on underserved or marginalized communities (including Rural, Isolated, Tribal, or Indigenous [RITI] communities)
  • Tools to increase knowledge capture and sharing research outcomes, performance measures, tools, benefits, and best practices to diverse audiences

Proposals under this track should identify and feature the following components:

  • Identified need or committed participation in the described programs from industry, agency, or community partner.
  • How the effort will address previously-identified congestion reduction or equity issue(s).
  • How the effort will build off ongoing diversity & inclusion activities to continue making strides in this area.


Full Proposals must be submitted via the online submission system by invitation only following receipt and confirmation of abstracts by Center administration.

Invited researchers should submit full proposal packages via the button below by August 27, 2023. Once received, proposals will be reviewed by Center Administration for completeness and then be entered into the peer-review process.

You must contact Center administration at to confirm eligibility prior to submission.


Each proposal will be submitted to a Review Committee to ensure proposals meet the Center’s requirements. The Review Committee will seek a minimum of 2 peer reviews from outside of the Center, and will rank proposals in order of acceptance, after which funding will be allocated accordingly. Conditions to the scope of the project may be added in order for a project to be accepted.

Read full review criteria
  1. Does the proposed topic have strong intellectual merit?
  2. Does the proposed topic fit with the research tracks in this RFP?

  3. Does the proposal take advantage of prior C2SMART or other research to expand the scope and value of the research without replicating previously answered questions?

  4. Does the proposal provide implementable outcomes including knowledge transfer to public agencies and professionals?

  5. Does the proposal take advantage of industry resources and partners?

  6. Do the principal investigators have a good track record of providing deliverables per requirements and completing projects on-time?


Proposal Document

Download and fill out this template for your proposal's scope of work.

Proposal Budget

Download and fill out this template for your proposal's budget.


No proposals will be considered after that date.