TOP FY25-26 Important Dates
EOI Application Opens: July 5, 2023
EOI Virtual Information Session*:
- July 20, 2023
- July 25, 2023
EOI Deadline: September 15, 2023
Invitation to Submit Full TOP Application: November 10, 2023
Full TOP Application Deadline: January 8, 2023
Notification of Award: April - May, 2024
Grant Period: July 1, 2024 - June 30, 2026
*Project applicants are required to attend one EOI Information Session to be considered for a TOP grant. If you did not attend one of these sessions and intended to apply to for a TOP grant, please contact TOP staff.
Applicant and Sponsor Resources
Budget Proposal Completion Instructions
Complete each section of the budget proposal tab. The file will auto populate calculations and totals.
- A maximum of $250,000 is available for any single project submitted by a respondent and/or partner respondents. A minimum budget of $75,000 is required for submission.
- The budget must include an estimated division of labor vs. non-labor costs, as well as the submitting agency’s current overhead rate.
- The purchase and estimated cost of any activities necessary to complete the project must be specified and explained.
- Projects should be developed to be scalable, if necessary. For instance, the Regional TDM Advisory Committee may find an estimated budget of a preferred project excessive for the amount of funding available, so the submitting agency may be asked to reduce the budget and/or associated tasks. Likewise, only one component of a proposal may be selected, so the original scope and budget would have to be adjusted accordingly.
- Consideration will also be given to whether a project can be implemented elsewhere in the region where a similar challenge or issue exists. One of the purposes of these projects is to help determine TDM Best Practices for the DVRPC region.
An Excel template budget sheet is available for download under the Applicant and Sponsor Resources section above.
What is TOP?
Imagine a region of connected communities, where residents and workers don’t necessarily need cars and have the freedom to choose from multiple reliable, affordable, safe, and well-connected transportation options. How do we make that vision into a reality?
In 2020, DVRPC developed a formal and coordinated Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program for the nine-county Greater Philadelphia region. Through a biennial, two-part competitive search process, DVRPC seeks creative ideas that will reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles (SOVs) on the region’s roadways and improve accessibility to, and equity across, all modes of transportation. TOP funds innovative projects that support the goals, outcomes, and strategies established in A New Route to Better Travel for All: The Regional TDM Plan. This program helps DVRPC and its planning partners better address fasting-changing TDM goals and challenges, and each project must address a TDM issue with some type of measurable result.
To be eligible for TOP funding, all project applicants must establish the project falls within one of the following Focus Areas. For examples of eligible projects you can reference the full application guidelines.
- 1. Workforce Access (non-SOV)
- 2. Education and Outreach
- 3. Quick-Build or Temporary Infrastructure
- 4. Concept Development for a New or Existing Service
- 5. Operational Solutions
Additionally, to be eligible for a TOP grant, applicants must:
- establish the project is a “pilot project” by DVRPC’s definition for this program;
- provide proof of agreement from potential partners;
- include a specific project location or outline a plan to determine specific project location;
- and produce outcomes that can be measured both qualitatively and quantitatively.
Amount and Source of Funding
There is a minimum floor of $75,000, and a maximum ceiling of $250,000 for a grant for any single project.
TOP is funded with Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBGP) dollars in Pennsylvania and a mix of STBGP and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) dollars in New Jersey. Specifically, CMAQ funds in NJ will be reserved for projects that are outside of the Philadelphia, PA--NJ--DE--MD Urbanized Area. However, they can be used for projects within the Philadelphia Urbanized Area if deemed appropriate by the TOP Selection Committee. STBGP funds in NJ may only be awarded to projects with locations that are 100% located within the Philadelphia Urbanized Area.
Interested parties should reference guidance to ensure the funding source and project(s) fit with the program. The passing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) in November 2021 amended the STBGP. View guidance on changes made to the STBGP as a result of the bill, and learn more about STBGP eligible projects and CMAQ eligible projects.
- Transportation management associations (TMAs)
- Nonprofits (such as Community Development Corporations, Business Improvement Districts)
- Government organizations (such as county agencies, municipalities, tribal governments)
- School districts or schools
- Transit agencies
Please note that applicants who have never managed federal funds in the past are strongly encouraged to contact DVRPC staff to ensure project eligibility.
When and How to Submit Your Idea
There are three requirements for project applicants to receive funding: the submission of an Expression of interest (EOI) form, attending an information session about the grant program, and the submission of a full application if selected.
1. Expression of Interest (EOI) submission:
- For the first stage of the grant process, EOIs need to be submitted through a uniform, electronic template with pre-populated questions that allow the project sponsor to describe the project and how it will measurably address the goals of the Regional TDM Plan.
- Access the EOI submission form.
2. Join us at an upcoming virtual information session:
- July 20, 2023
- July 25, 2023
- Attending one TOP Information Session is required to be considered for a TOP grant. If you did not attend one of these sessions and intended to apply for a TOP grant, please contact TOP staff.
3. Application submission:
- Based on EOI submissions, applicants must be invited to participate in the second phase of the grant process.
- View the full application guidelines.
Travel Options Program (TOP) FY24-25 Process and Timeline
The following timeline provides an overview of the application and selection process for TOP projects. This timeline is subject to change. TOP projects are solicited and grants are awarded on a two-year cycle. See more about TOP, the goals of the Regional TDM Plan, and information about the current funding round above.
|July 5, 2023||DVRPC posts grant advertisement for competitive TOP Expressions of Interest (EOI).|
|July 20, 2023||DVRPC hosts first EOI information session for potential applicants.|
|July 25, 2023||DVRPC hosts second EOI information session for potential applicants.|
|September 15, 2023||TOP EOI proposals are due.|
|October 2023||Each agency represented on the Regional TDM Advisory Committee reviews eligible EOI proposals and makes recommendations. County, state and federal agencies review EOI proposals for eligibility and preference.|
DVRPC TOP Team has follow-up conversations with: EOI applicants, TMAs, counties, and Regional TDM Advisory Committee members as requested.
|November 2023||Selected EOI project applicants are invited to complete the full TOP application.|
|January 2024||Full TOP applications are due.|
|February 2024||TOP Project Selection Subcommittee scores full TOP applications. State and federal agencies provide feedback on project task eligibility.|
|March 2024||DVRPC meets with TOP applicants to finalize project scopes and budgets.|
|April - May 2024||TOP slate of projects are presented to the DVRPC Regional Technical Committee (RTC) and Board for approval.|
|May - June 2024||Contracts executed.|
|July 2024 and Later||Awarded projects commence work.|
Expression of Interest Q&A Responses
If an entity has received a previous TOP award, are they eligible to apply again? If so, would a prior awardee be competitive?
Yes, previous or existing TOP grant recipients can apply again. All applications are competitive.
Will the EOI presentation be made available on the website?
Do you have an expectation of how many projects will be invited for a full application?
The number of projects invited to complete a full application is based upon the total program budget and the budgets of the EOIs received that are a good fit for the program.
Are planning or research projects eligible, or is implementation a required aspect?
Research projects are eligible if there is intention to implement the idea. The EOI application should include how the project applicant plans to implement the research with other funds.
Why are the total funding amounts lower than the last round?
While the total program budget is unchanged, the construction projects selected during the FY23-24 application round are drawing down a considerable portion of the FY25-26 grant round's funding "off the top." By deferring a portion of FY23-24 construction project funds to the FY25-26 round, DVRPC was able award more non-construction projects than we would otherwise have been able to fund . This decision was made by the Regional TDM Advisory Committee and approved by the DVRPC Board during the selection of last round's projects.
Can you explain why New Jersey has $184,400 available in funding, but the EOI application has a $250,000 cap for each project?
A project can have a cap of $250,000 in New Jersey in the case that the project scope crosses state lines.
Is a robust travel habits investigation in underserved communities a viable project if the purpose is to serve as the basis for future planning for travel options for those underserved communities?
Learning about travel habits with the intent to implement a solution from the results of the research would be eligible for TOP funds. The application should include how the project applicant plans to implement the research with other funds.
For Focus Area #4, Concept Development of a New or Existing Transportation Service, it says that the grant will fund concepts for a service where other funds have been "secured." Do the "other funds" have to be completely secured, or is it to develop a concept to help secure funds through another source (TASA, MTF, etc.)? Typically, if funds are already secured, a project is well beyond concept. Can you clarify?
For any proposed concept development project the application must include an intent to implement. For instance, perhaps the applicant wants to use TOP funds for planning, concept development, or research components of a construction project. Another example would be if the applicant is planning to fund their project with multiple different funding streams and wants to use TOP funds to start that process.
Are the project types allowed different for CMAQ compared to the STGBP funding?
New Jersey: Both CMAQ and STBGP funding are available in New Jersey. Therefore, if a project isn’t fully eligible for CMAQ funding, CMAQ and STBGP funding can be combined according to which elements of the projects are eligible for each funding source.
Pennsylvania: Only STBGP funding is available in Pennsylvania. Therefore, all projects in the state must be STBGP-eligible. STBGP funds tend to be more flexible than CMAQ, which is why all PA funds were transitioned to this source after the pilot round of TOP.
Would a digital transportation wallet be a viable project with a transit agency?
A digital transportation wallet could potentially be an eligible project within the Operational Solutions Focus Area, but TOP staff would need to learn more about the specific aspects/project phases for which the applicant would like to use the funds. The EOI application should provide evidence of buy-in from the transit agency, as well as specifics regarding whether the project would be supplementing an existing technology or generating something new. Funds could also be used to advertise an existing travel wallet.
Can money be utilized for community engagement, as far as food for outreach events?
TOP cannot use federal dollars to fund food, stipends, or gift cards. However, donations for expenses associated with the TDM issue the project is aiming to address would be acceptable. (ex: fare cards from a transit agency).
When are awards announced? And is there a plan for another round?
Awards will be announced April-May, 2024, as soon as they are approved by the DVRPC RTC and Board. We hope there will be future funding rounds for this program, but there is never a guarantee. Future rounds are dependent upon TOP project outcomes and the support of DVRPC’s partners.
Can TOP projects currently being worked on that have generated interest with new partners in new locations to be submitted this next round?
TOP can fund projects that may have been done before in other service areas, build upon a past or existing project in the current service area, or change or adapt elements of a previous project. However, TOP cannot fund projects that support maintenance or continuation of an existing or past project in the service area.
Should we assume no expenses can be incurred before July 1, 2024?
Yes, the project timeline is July 1, 2024 - June 30, 2026.
Can you explain more what the targeted subsidies in Focus Area #1, Workforce Job Access (Non-SOV), can look like? No gift cards were said before, but could it be gas card for carpools or purchase of SEPTA Keys or fares?
For a subsidy to be eligible, but it must be specifically related to the TDM issue the project is trying to address. A SEPTA Key Card would be eligible because it can only be used for transportation expenses. Gas cards can present challenges because in some cases balances can be used towards purchases that are not related to the project goals (ex: convenience store associated with a gas station).
Previously Awarded TOP Projects
FY23-24 TOP Projects
Selected projects for the FY 2023 and FY 2024 TOP funding round were awarded grants in July 2022. A chart that lists each project's name, sponsor(s), budget in federal funds*, and a brief description of the project can be found using this here.
Please note that there were three construction projects selected during this round of applications and approvals, but due to the timing of the process to properly prepare for construction, these projects will be funded during the next round of TOP.
*The budgets shown are the federal funds supporting each project; selected non-construction projects required a 20 percent match by the sponsor(s).
FY21-22 (Pilot) TOP Projects
- Pennsylvania Projects
- Philadelphia Safe and Sustainable Return to Work- The Clean Air Council, the City of Philadelphia's OTIS, and Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) were awarded $128,000 for a project that aims to reduce carbon emissions and congestion in Philadelphia by directly increasing bicycling and carpooling mode share.
- Automated Vehicle Shuttle in South Philadelphia- PIDC was awarded $347,000 for a project that aims to accommodate non-SOV trips within the Navy Yard to reduce conflicts with vehicle traffic, by creating an automated vehicle shuttle service loop that will take passengers throughout the Navy Yard.
- New Jersey Projects
- PATCO Station Complete Streets Demonstration Pilot- The Cross County Connection TMA, PATCO, Camden County, and the Borough of Collingswood were awarded $50,000 for a project that will help educate local residents driving to and living near the Collingswood PATCO station about multimodal alternatives to the station and around the community.
- Light Rail to Trails: Connecting the River Line & the Circuit- The Tri-State Transportation Campaign and New Jersey Transit were awarded $50,000 for a project that aims to encourage mode shifting among current RiverLINE users with first-and-last mile connections, mostly utilizing easy access to the nearby Circuit trail system.