Building a Prototype for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law


In the fall of 2021, President Biden announced the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a transformative initiative aimed at revitalizing the nation's infrastructure. By the summer of 2022, team XCell was selected as a participant in The Opportunity Project (TOP). TOP leverages federal open data to address real-world challenges across the United States.

The Challenge

Our task was to create a digital open data tool within six sprints (12 weeks) to help lower-resourced state, local, tribal, and territorial governments gain access to federal grant funding.

The Problem

The federal government awards over $1.5 trillion in contracts and financial assistance annually, a figure that can rise significantly during crises. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), enacted in November 2021, represents a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness, with $1.2 trillion allocated to over 375 programs, many of which are competitive grants requiring applications.

However, many historic barriers impede access to this financial assistance, particularly for lower-resourced communities. Challenges include difficulty in obtaining timely information about grant opportunities, short application windows, and stringent requirements such as matching funds or limits on indirect costs.

Our Approach

Team XCell adopted a Design Sprint methodology to develop a working prototype called "Bridge," aimed at connecting small government offices directly with infrastructure grant opportunities. We built a Figma prototype to visualize the user interface and experience, as well as a static website that pulled information from We conducted extensive user research and tested our prototype with users in Aurora, Colorado; Long Beach, California; and Montgomery, Alabama.

Key Learnings

  1. Building Trust with the Community: Trust in the federal government varies widely, particularly among Tribal communities. Establishing and maintaining trust was a significant challenge.
  2. Resource Limitations: Many city and local government offices are understaffed and lack the resources to pursue grant opportunities. Often, there is only one person, if any, dedicated to handling grant applications.
  3. Complexity of Grant Management: Winning a grant is just the beginning. Managing grant opportunities requires a comprehensive process, which can be overwhelming for understaffed local city offices. Poor project management and stretched resources often lead to suboptimal outcomes.

Through this project, team XCell demonstrated the importance of user-centered design and the need for supportive infrastructure to empower lower-resourced communities to access and manage federal grant opportunities effectively.

Figma Prototype

The Figma design prototype visualizes the user interface and experience, providing an intuitive and interactive mockup of the "Bridge" tool for connecting small government offices with infrastructure grant opportunities.