The National Academies

NCHRP 20-112 [RFP]

A Research Roadmap for Transportation and Public Health

Posted Date: 1/6/2017

  Project Data
Funds: $250,000
Contract Time: 18 months
(includes 1 month for NCHRP review and approval of the interim report and 3 months for NCHRP review and for contractor revision of the final report)
Authorization to Begin Work: 6/1/2017 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Lori L. Sundstrom
   Phone: 202-334-3034
   Email: lsundstrom@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 2/28/2017
Fiscal Year: 2017

Transportation is an essential component of a functioning society. Transportation provides access to jobs, education, health care, recreation and essential goods and services—all of which are aspects of the social determinants of health. Distribution of transportation goods and services across populations substantially contributes to the length and quality of life. The missions of state departments of transportation (state DOTs) typically include safety, efficiency, mobility, accessibility, and quality of life—and each of these have implications for public health. The missions of state health agencies include protecting, promoting and improving the health of people—these outcomes are affected by transportation systems and policies. A growing number of state and local transportation and public health agencies are collaborating to improve public health and transportation system performance; this collaboration can contribute to an improved economy and quality of life.
The relationship between transportation and public health is complex, and manifests itself in a variety of ways and at various levels of decisionmaking. The transportation sector has conducted robust research to understand the impacts of transportation on air quality, safety, and noise. However, there are gaps in the understanding of transportation’s relationship to other areas of public health. Some of the under-researched areas include how transportation affects the social determinants of health, the health of underserved populations, equitable access to transportation services, and how performance measurement in both sectors can support better health outcomes. Addressing these gaps may require research in areas such as active transportation, multimodal connectivity, economic development, the built environment, land use, and how decisions made in each of these areas can improve public health outcomes.
Research is needed to provide transportation agencies with the information and tools necessary for integrating public health considerations into transportation agency decisionmaking and performance measurement at the policy, program, project, and operations levels. Given the relative newness of this topic for transportation agencies, and the evolving understanding of the importance of the relationship between transportation and public health, state DOTs are interested in identifying a “research roadmap” to guide systematic inquiry in this arena.   
For purposes of this research, a research roadmap is defined as a type of strategic research plan that outlines the key opportunities and challenges associated with transportation and public health, identifies why they are important to transportation agencies, identifies gaps in knowledge and practice, and outlines and prioritizes specific research projects needed to address these gaps. 
The objectives of this research are to develop a 10-year prioritized program of research—a research roadmap—that will provide a broad overview of highly relevant research needs at the intersection of transportation and public health in the United States. The roadmap will also identify research that will provide evidence to support practical and useful information, and implementable tools, for state DOTs and their transportation partners to use to integrate public health considerations at all levels of their agencies’ decisionmaking. Accomplishment of these objectives will require input from both the transportation and public health sectors. The roadmap should:
  • Clearly describe a broad set of research topics and initiatives based on identified gaps in knowledge and practice that will advance the knowledge and capabilities of transportation decisionmakers, and include a discussion of the relevancy of the proposed research agenda to state DOTs, regional planning organizations, and public health agencies.
  • Include a focus on under-researched areas.
  • Consider the level and timing at which transportation agencies make decisions or take actions that contribute to improved health outcomes, and their related implementation barriers and opportunities.
  • Develop a minimum of 10 topics problem statements with a scope and budget appropriate for NCHRP, pending approval of the topics by NCHRP. Information on the NCHRP can be found at: http://www.trb.org/NCHRP/NCHRP.aspx.
  • May identify additional research needs that may be more suitable for other public, private, or academic research institutions or programs.
  • Include a communication plan to disseminate the roadmap. Implementation of the communication plan is not part of this project.
Each research problem statement will include the following information:
  1. A description of the problem or need—one or more paragraphs explaining the reason for the research, how the intended research product will be used and by whom.
  2. A summary of a literature review.
  3. The research objective—a succinct statement of the desired research outcomes and expected final product(s). 
  4. A description of proposed tasks and/or the anticipated scope and breadth of the research in sufficient detail to justify the estimated funding needed.
  5. An estimate of the funding needed. 
  6. The estimated length of time needed to complete the research. 
  7. The urgency and potential benefits for state DOTs from conducting the research, including a discussion of the potential negative consequences of not funding the research. 
  8. Implementation plans that identify the target audience for the research, key decisionmakers that can approve, influence, or champion implementation of results, and institutional or political barriers to implementation.
The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objectives. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers’ current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objectives.
A kick-off teleconference of the research team and NCHRP shall be scheduled within 1 month of the contract’s execution. The work plan must be divided into tasks, with each task described in detail. A key aspect of the research plan is providing opportunities for the project panel to review and oversee the work. The research plan should describe a suitable number of appropriate checkpoints and interim deliverables, in addition to the kick-off teleconference.
The final deliverables shall include (1) the roadmap for future transportation and public health research projects that includes a minimum of 10 NCHRP problem statements; (2) a communication plan; (3) a final report documenting the entire project, incorporating all other specified deliverables of the research; (4) a stand-alone executive summary that summarizes the research results; and (5) an electronic presentation of the roadmap that can be tailored for specific audiences.
Note: Following receipt of the preliminary draft final report, the remaining 3 months shall be for NCHRP review and comment and for research agency preparation of the revised final report.
A. Proposals should include a task-by-task breakdown of labor hours for each staff member as shown in Figure 4 in the brochure, "Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals" (http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/crp/docs/ProposalPrep.pdf). Proposals also should include a breakdown of all costs (e.g., wages, indirect costs, travel, materials, and total) for each task using Figures 5 and 6 in the brochure. NCHRP wishes to award the contract for NCHRP 20-112 for a fixed price of $250,000; this amount will not be subject to any adjustment by reason of the contractor’s cost experience in the performance of the contract. Please note that TRB Cooperative Research Program subawards (selected proposers are considered subawards to the National Academy of Sciences, the parent organization of TRB) must comply with 2 CFR 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. These requirements include a provision that proposers without a "federally" Negotiated Indirect Costs Rate Agreement (NICRA) shall be subject to a maximum allowable indirect rate of 10% of Modified Total Direct Costs. Modified Total Direct Costs include all salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each lower-tier subaward and subcontract. Modified Total Direct Costs exclude equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each lower-tier subaward and subcontract in excess of $25,000.
B. The NCHRP is a practical, applied research program that produces implementable products addressing problems faced by transportation practitioners and managers. The benefits of NCHRP research are realized only when the results are implemented in state DOTs and other agencies. Implementation of the research product must be considered throughout the process, from problem statement development to research contract and beyond completion of the research. Item 4(c), "Anticipated Research Results," must include the following: (a) the "product" expected from the research, (b) the audience or "market" for this product, (c) a realistic assessment of impediments to successful implementation, and (d) the institutions and individuals who might take leadership in deploying the research product.
C. Item 5 in the proposal, "Qualifications of the Research Team," must include a section labeled "Disclosure." Information relevant to the NCHRP's need to ensure objectivity and to be aware of possible sources of significant financial or organizational conflict of interest in conducting the research must be presented in this section of the proposal. For example, under certain conditions, ownership of the proposing agency, other organizational relationships, or proprietary rights and interests could be perceived as jeopardizing an objective approach to the research effort, and proposers are asked to disclose any such circumstances and to explain how they will be accounted for in this study. If there are no issues related to objectivity, this should be stated.
D. Proposals are evaluated by the NCHRP staff and project panels consisting of individuals collectively very knowledgeable in the problem area. Selection of an agency is made by the project panel considering the following factors: (1) the proposer's demonstrated understanding of the problem; (2) the merit of the proposed research approach and experiment design; (3) the experience, qualifications, and objectivity of an interdisciplinary research team that includes both transportation and public health experts with practical and research knowledge and experience; (4) the communication plan for disseminating the results; (5) the proposer's plan for participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises--small firms owned and controlled by minorities or women; and (6) the adequacy of the facilities.
Note: The proposer's plan for participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises should be incorporated in Item 12 of the proposal.
E. Copyrights - All data, written materials, computer software, graphic and photographic images, and other information prepared under the contract and the copyrights therein shall be owned by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The contractor and subcontractors will be able to publish this material for non-commercial purposes, for internal use, or to further academic research or studies with permission from TRB Cooperative Research Programs. The contractor and subcontractors will not be allowed to sell the project material without prior approval by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. By signing a contract with the National Academy of Sciences, contractors accept legal responsibility for any copyright infringement that may exist in work done for TRB. Contractors are therefore responsible for obtaining all necessary permissions for use of copyrighted material in TRB's Cooperative Research Programs publications. For guidance on TRB's policies on using copyrighted material please consult Section 5.4, "Use of Copyrighted Material," in the Procedural Manual for Contractors.
F. Section 4 of the proposal, Research Plan, shall be limited to 14 pages. Section 5, Qualifications of the Research Team, shall be limited to 2 pages per person. Section 6, Accomplishments of the Research Team, shall be limited to 2 pages. No appendices shall be included in Section 14, Appendices.

Proposals (20 single-bound copies) are due not later than 4:30 p.m. on 2/28/2017.

This is a firm deadline, and extensions are not granted. In order to be considered for award, all copies of the agency's proposal accompanied by the executed, unmodified Liability Statement must be in our offices not later than the deadline shown, or the proposal will be rejected. Proposers may choose any carrier or delivery service for their proposals. However, proposers assume the risk of proposal rejection if the carrier or delivery service does not deliver all the required documents by the deadline.

Delivery Address:

ATTN: Christopher J. Hedges
Director, Cooperative Research Programs
Transportation Research Board
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Liability Statement

The signature of an authorized representative of the proposing agency is required on the unaltered liability statement in order for the NCHRP to accept the agency's proposal for consideration. Proposals submitted without this executed and unaltered statement by the proposal deadline will be summarily rejected. An executed, unaltered statement indicates the agency's intent and ability to execute a contract that includes the provisions in the statement.

Here is a printable version of the Liability Statement (pdf). A free copy of the Adobe Acrobat PDF reader is available at http://www.adobe.com.

General Notes

1. According to the provisions of Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 21, which relates to nondiscrimination in federally assisted programs, all parties are hereby notified that the contract entered into pursuant to this announcement will be awarded without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability.

2. The essential features required in a proposal for research are detailed in the current brochure entitled "Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals" (updated August 2016). Proposals must be prepared according to this document, and attention is directed specifically to Section V for mandatory requirements. Proposals that do not conform with these requirements will be rejected. This brochure is available here.

3. The total funds available are made known in the project statement, and line items of the budget are examined to determine the reasonableness of the allocation of funds to the various tasks. If the proposed total cost exceeds the funds available, the proposal is rejected.

4. All proposals become the property of the Transportation Research Board. Final disposition will be made according to the policies thereof, including the right to reject all proposals.


Potential proposers should understand clearly that the research project described herein is tentative. The final content of the program depends on the level of funding made available through States' agreements for financial support of the NCHRP. Nevertheless, to be prepared to execute research contracts as soon as possible after sponsors' approvals, the NCHRP is assuming that the tentative program will become official in its entirety and is proceeding with requests for proposals and selections of research agencies.

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