ODOT wants to fund your lifesaving idea

    Got an idea to encourage folks to put their damn phones down? ODOT might fund it! (Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

    If you have an idea for a road safety project or program, the State of Oregon wants to help make it a reality.

    The other day a source at a local government agency forwarded me an email from the Oregon Department of Transportation about a grant solicitation. There was no link to a website and a few key details were missing, but the email piqued my interest because it appeared to be an open-ended request for road safety project ideas — and most importantly — a promise to fund the best ones. Since I know many of you care about saving lives, I found a contact name and fired off a few questions.

    What I’ve learned is that ODOT’s Transportation Safety Office (TSO) has launched a new, annual safety grant program. This is the first time TSO has administered this grant, and the timeline is crunched this year. Applications are due by June 15th!

    ODOT TSO has 19 different grant funding sources, all of which have different eligibility criteria. Instead of having to navigate those options, this new approach will make it simpler for community members and organizations to tap into federal and state funds. If you have an idea, simply fill out the Funding Opportunity document (the application) below and then the staff at TSO will determine which the the best funding source for your particular project.

    When I asked about the cost range of successful project, the ODOT source replied, “Go for the moon and see where it sticks!”

    If you apply, ODOT TSO says you should keep these points in mind:

    • ODOT’s 5-year Transportation Safety Action Plan (TSAP) outline the individual programs, problems identified, and strategies encouraged to be used to rectify the transportation safety problem. 
    • All grant projects that are approved must be data-driven; so include data that supports your problem identification (that you want to solve).
    • For ‘proven countermeasures,’ per program area (DUII; Bike/Ped; Distracted Driving, etc.) please also see this NHTSA publication.
    • You can submit as many individual Funding Opportunity requests as you’d like.
    • The projected grant year is October 1, 2024 to September 30, 2025 for federal funds; and July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025 for state funds.
    • All applications will be reviewed and scored by a committee a traffic safety professionals.
    • TSO is specifically interested in proposals that address safe road user behaviors and education and outreach for the following topics:
      • Aging Road Users
      • Community-based transportation safety programs (and programs that reach underserved communities)
      • Distracted Driving
      • Driver Education (teens)
      • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and public health partnerships
      • Impaired driving (alcohol and/or drugs)
      • Motorcycle Safety
      • Occupant Protection (seat belts and child safety seats)
      • Pedestrian and/or Bicyclist safety
      • Preventing roadside deaths or injuries of first responders, stranded motor vehicle drivers, and others
      • Protecting children and others from risks related to being left unattended in a motor vehicle
      • Roadway Safety and Work Zone Safety
      • Speeding and Aggressive Driving
      • Traffic Law Enforcement and/or Judicial programs
      • Traffic Records (traffic safety research studies and improved data collection, dissemination, and access)
      • Vehicle Equipment Safety Standards
      • Projects that include proven countermeasure strategies or that introduce innovative ideas or best practices with measurable outcomes are encouraged, as are programs that foster collaboration among community resources.

    From here on out, TSO will solicit applications every February.

    All submissions for the coming grant cycle must be submitted to TSO via on or before June 15, 2024. It can also be mailed directly to TSO at 1905 Lana Ave NE, Salem, OR 97314.

    Pertinent docs can be downloaded below:

    If you have questions or need more information, see the Grantee Resources page call or email TSO Manager Traci Pearl at (503) 986-6718 or

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