The US Government has awarded more than $41m to 15 teams through two Department of Transportation design challenges aimed at improving transportation access to persons with disabilities and mobility challenges.

US Secretary of Transportation Elaine L Chao said: “These exciting projects support the development of new innovative, inclusive, and affordable transportation technologies that address mobility and access challenges.”

The transportation department granted more than $38m to five awardees through its Complete Trip – ITS4US Deployment Program.

The projects will allow communities to display innovative business partnerships, technologies, and practices that enable independent mobility for all.

This three-phased initiative brings public-sponsored and private-sponsored research together.

The initiative aims to create large-scale replicable deployments that offer increased mobility options across several modes of transportation to tackle the challenges of planning and implementing complete trips.

DoT also granted $3m to ten semifinalists through its Inclusive Design Challenge.

Through this multi-stage challenge, design solutions have sought to make autonomous vehicles (AVs) more accessible to persons with disabilities through hardware and software solutions.

Each of the ten projects under this challenge have received $300,000. The projects will have 18 months to develop their proposed ideas into prototypes.

The department will later choose three final winners that will receive the remaining $2m of the $5m total prize next year.

The Complete Trip – ITS4US Deployment Program received 24 proposals by organisations from 15 states while the Inclusive Design Challenge drew in 47 applications from industry, academic institutions, and individuals of 21 states.