DDOT and SMART awarded $2.6 million in FTA Low-No Grant Funding for Electric Buses

News Release

DETROIT, Mich., August 1, 2019: The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) will receive $2.6 million in grants through the Low- or No Emission (Low-No) Grant program from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The funding will enable the purchase of up to six electric buses and charging infrastructure.

The grant award offers an opportunity for each transit agency to partner with DTE and Proterra, a leading all-electric bus manufacturer, in bringing this new technology to southeast Michigan. “This is a great opportunity for DDOT and SMART to work together to test the electric bus technology in our region,” said DDOT’s Interim Director, Angelica Jones. It is another collaborative effort to enhance our customer transit experience – easier, convenient and efficient service.”

SMART and DDOT have found common ground on various projects, most recently collaborating on the new Dart payment system for both agencies. “We are pleased to collaborate again with DDOT on another positive transit project. Along with the support and partnership of Proterra and DTE, their expertise is a big plus,” said John C. Hertel, General Manager of SMART, “The all-electric bus project is a big step into the future for transit in southeast Michigan.”

Working together, SMART and DDOT submitted a joint application in March of this year for funding to purchase up to six all-electric buses to replace older age and mileage eligible diesel buses. The addition of all-electric vehicles further modernizes each agencies fleet.

DTE is supporting the project and is committed to make a prudent investment towards the infrastructure necessary for charging the buses while on-route and at the respective terminals.

“We are excited to partner with the City of Detroit and SMART to bring zero-emission buses into our region,” said Trevor Lauer, President & COO, DTE Electric. “This project demonstrates our commitment to expand regional sustainability efforts through clean, efficient transportation.”

In addition, Proterra was instrumental in the development of this project performing route analysis to determining what type of bus is most suitable for the service area for each agency. The development of the grant application and project were heavily supported by the expertise and knowledge of both DTE and Proterra in their respective industries.

The zero-emission, all-electric buses will be manufactured in the USA by Proterra and are expected to be deployed sometime in 2021. 

SMART and DDOT secured support from Representative’s Andy Levin and Rashida Tlaib, Senator Gary Peters and Mayor Mike Duggan.



About DDOT

The Detroit Department of Transportation is the largest public transit agency in Michigan. DDOT primarily serves the city of Detroit and neighboring cities including Dearborn, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Harper Woods, Livonia, Redford Township, River Rouge and Southfield. DDOT has 48 fixed bus routes, 11 24-hour routes and six express routes with an average daily ridership of 85,000 riders. DDOT prides itself on providing transit service that’s reliable, clean, safe and efficient. For routes and fare information, visit ridedetroittransit.com.



Serving residents since 1967, SMART is southeast Michigan’s only regional public transportation provider, offering convenient, reliable and safe transportation for Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties. SMART’s Fixed Route and small bus services connect people to employment and educational institutions, medical appointments and shopping centers. For routes and fare information, visit smartbus.org.


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Jennifer Frye

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(313) 833-3660

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Beth Gibbons

Manager of Marketing, Communications and Education


(313) 223-2112

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