Newly created by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, ARPA-I will fund high-reward next-generation physical and digital infrastructure technologies and systems that have the potential to modernize America’s transportation

President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is making a once-in-a-generation investment to modernize the nation’s infrastructure, and today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new actions to accelerate innovations in America’s transportation infrastructure through the newly-formed Advanced Research Projects Agency – Infrastructure (ARPA-I). ARPA-I was authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and established within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). In its infancy, the newest agency created under the ARPA model aims to leverage the success pioneered by DARPA and ARPA-E to ensure that the future of transportation in America is safe, secure, efficient, and resilient for all. This includes advancing President Biden’s goals of equitably reaching net-zero emissions no later than 2050 and increasing accessibility to clean, next-generation mobility options for all Americans. Delivering this historic vision will require bold investments in next-generation research and emerging technologies that can further transform our transportation infrastructure and reinvigorate America’s position as a global leader of innovation and manufacturing.

The Biden-Harris Administration is already making strategic investments in our roads, bridges, transit systems, rail, ports and airports through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act. ARPA-I will further these actions and build on the considerable steps the Administration has taken to date to advance the President’s historic research and development (R&D) priorities.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is today releasing a slate of announcements to lay the foundation for ARPA-I’s contribution to reaching a transportation future that is safer, cleaner, more equitable and supportive of advanced technologies and infrastructure that improve people’s daily lives.

  • Supercharging Infrastructure R&D Made Possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Programs: ARPA-I is announcing plans to work with DOT program offices to develop an innovative research agenda that complements flagship investment areas in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including the $5 billion Safe Streets and Roads for All program, the $8.7 billion PROTECT resilient infrastructure program, and the $7.5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program. This research agenda will identify technical chokepoints in each domain that could be overcome through a focused R&D initiative. 
  • Partnering with Communities Across the Nation: ARPA-I is launching a national listening tour with leading researchers, entrepreneurs, companies, and transportation advocates to ensure that ARPA-I reflects the priorities and capabilities of transportation and infrastructure R&D stakeholders across the ecosystem. The listening tour will begin in the Pacific Northwest and will feature locations across the country.
  • Request for Information (RFI): ARPA-I invites the public and experts across a variety of modes, sectors and disciplines to provide their ideas and input on high-potential areas for ARPA-I to explore.
  • Advancing the Intersection Safety Challenge: ARPA-I is highlighting the USDOT Intersection Safety Challenge, a multi-phased challenge that begins with a $6 million prize competition that leverages machine vision, sensor fusion, and real-time decision making to create safer conditions for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers at intersections. The first phase of the Intersection Safety Challenge is open through September 25, 2023. It features a number of characteristics that have been successful aspects of other ARPA program, including performance-based procurement, stage-gated programs, cross-disciplinary teams and expertise, high-impact domains and open innovation ecosystems.

In coordination with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, on June 13 DOT’s ARPA-I convened leaders from government, industry, academia, labor unions, and other stakeholder groups for the first-ever ARPA-I Summit to highlight the critical role that it can play in accelerating implementation, decreasing the cost of infrastructure, increasing the sustainability and resilience of our systems, enhancing safety, and building more equitable communities. This includes:

  • Identifying opportunities and challenges in bringing innovative new technologies into the infrastructure sector from the perspective of public infrastructure leaders, unions, manufacturers, and innovators.
  • Connecting local infrastructure challenges to the investments ARPA-I will make in new technologies, as well as the role it can play achieving President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.
  • Developing ways ARPA-I can help DOT achieve its core safety mission, improve accessibility for all, and correct the disproportionately negative impacts our transportation systems have had on minority and vulnerable communities.

By tackling the challenges that are pressing America’s transportation sector, and tapping into the vast potential of our nation’s infrastructure innovators, emerging and next-generation technologies that will improve how Americans travel and move goods can be transferred from R&D and scaled up to widespread commercialization. ARPA-I gives American workers, industry, academia, and communities across the country an opportunity to further transform our nation’s transportation sector for the better and position the United States as a global leader.


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