In line with the Biden administration’s recent executive order on AI, the Department of Transportation (DoT) has launched a new opportunity for small businesses to leverage advancements in AI to improve transportation.

The Complete Streets AI initiative is a $15 million multi-phase effort to develop new decision-support tools for state, local, and tribal transportation agencies that assist in the siting, design, and deployment of Complete Streets, DoT announced on Feb. 1.

The Complete Streets AI Initiative is being offered through DoT’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. Complete streets are streets and networks that prioritize safety, comfort, and connectivity to destinations for all people who use them.

The department noted that generating, integrating, and activating data is a key feature of the AI initiative. 

“Innovation in the AI and transportation sector is happening at unprecedented speed and has the potential to address some of our most pressing transportation challenges,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “This funding supports our country’s small businesses and startups to harness cutting-edge technologies, deploy them in local communities, and make our streets safer.”

The DoT noted that initially, up to 10 Phase I contracts will be awarded to small businesses to develop data and analytics capabilities that drive insights for agencies developing complete streets.

“Complete Streets are easier to plan and build with more complete data. In some cases, basic roadway data such as traffic volume or the presence of sidewalks is unavailable or incomplete,” DoT wrote on the project’s website. “To close these gaps, we encourage creative methods to develop national datasets using novel and scalable approaches to data science.”

“Complete streets are easier to plan with more complete data. This is a bold effort to build out that data along with the technology platforms that make it easy to use,” said DoT’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology and Chief Science Officer Robert Hampshire.

The pre-solicitation period for DoT’s Phase I Complete Streets AI Initiative will close on March 1. DoT said it anticipates opening Phase I of the solicitation on March 11.

Read More About