Smyrna given fed grant for on-demand transit

Smyrna is collaborating in a National Science Foundation (NSF) pilot for on-demand multimodal transit to reduce inequalities in transportation and traffic congestion by using shuttles, buses and rails.

This federally funded grant is in alignment with the “Smyrna Connects” Transit Study, with this phase focusing on Ward 7 due to the work of Ward 7 Councilmember Lewis Wheaton, according to a city statement on Jan. 22.

Although this phase is specific to Ward 7, it or portions of the results may be applicable to other areas of Smyrna in the future.

Totaling $47,793, this National Science Foundation “Smart & Connected Communities” grant does not involve Smyrna taxpayer funds.

This collaboration with Georgia Tech is led by Pascal van Hentenryck that began on Jan. 15 and will run through around June 30.

The project is in response to the CIVIC Innovation Challenge - Communities and Mobility, a collaboration with the NSF and the U.S. Department of Energy.

This concept envisions a future for public transit that meets mobility challenges for all population segments through the concept of On-Demand Multimodal Transit Systems (ODMTS), the city statement added.

ODMTS combine on-demand services to serve low-density regions with high-occupancy vehicles (buses and/or trains) to travel along high-density corridors.

The focus of this project is to assess the feasibility of micro-transit solutions in Ward 7.

Such door-to-door services have been shown to improve convenience, reduce costs and provide a unique opportunity to expand services and job accessibility in neighborhoods where traditional transit systems have been too costly, the city statement said.