State highway agency equipment fleet assets are vital to the delivery of agency programs, projects, and services. These fleets represent a significant capital investment and require recurring maintenance, operational expenditures, and timely replacement to achieve the desired level of performance, reliability, and economy. A variety of practices have been used by highway agencies for making investment decisions for highway operation equipment. However, there is no widely accepted process for determining the long-range needs and budgets.
There is a need to identify current practices, review relevant information, and develop rational processes that will provide a realistic means for making investment decisions. A guide for formulating the long-range plans for replacement needs and budgets of highway operations equipment can then be prepared to facilitate use of these processes. Such a guide will help highway equipment managers and administrators in making decisions regarding replacement needs and budgets. NCHRP Project 13-04 developed a "Guide for Optimal Replacement Cycles of Highway Operations Equipment." The guide includes processes and tools for consideration in making decisions regarding the optimal replacement cycles of on- and off-road highway operations equipment used by state highway agencies; it will be published as part of NCHRP Research Report 879: Optimal Replacement Cycles of Highway Operations Equipment (see Special Note A for pre-publication availability) and can be useful for this research.
The objective of this research is to develop a guide for the formulation of long-range plans for replacement needs and budget of highway operations equipment. The guide shall include processes and tools for consideration in making investment decisions. For the purpose of this research, long-range is defined as 20-25 years.
Accomplishment of the project objective will require at least the following tasks.
Task descriptions are intended to provide a framework for conducting the research. The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. 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 objective.
Task 1. Collect and review relevant domestic and international literature, research findings, and information relative to the practices and processes for formulating long-range plans for replacement needs and budgets for highway operations equipment. This information may be obtained from published and unpublished reports, and contacts with transportation agencies and other public and private organizations.
Task 2. Evaluate the information gathered in Task 1, and identify the factors contributing to the formulation of long-range plans for replacement needs and budgets of highway operations equipment, and the practices and processes that merit further consideration or improvement in this research, and discuss their deficiencies.
Task 3. Assess the relevance of the factors identified in Task 2 to the formulation of long-range plans for replacement needs and budgets of highway operations equipment, and recommend which factors should be used in the processes for formulating such plans.
Task 4. Based on the findings of Tasks 1 through 3, develop a proposed plan, to be executed in Phase II to (a) develop rational processes, based on computational models for formulating long-range plans for replacement needs and budgets of highway operations equipment, and (b) prepare a guide and associated tools for consideration and adoption by the American Association of State and Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The plan shall include a tentative outline of the anticipated guide.
Note: Proposals shall include a research plan that provides detail on the proposer's current thinking regarding the work anticipated in Phase II. The work proposed for Task 6 must be divided into subtasks, and proposers must describe the work proposed in each subtask in detail.
Task 5. Prepare an interim report that documents the research performed in Tasks 1 through 4. Following review of the interim report by the NCHRP, the research team will be required to make a presentation to the project panel. Work on Phase II of the project will not begin until the interim report is approved and the Phase II work plan is authorized by the NCHRP. The decision on proceeding with Phase II will be based on the contractor’s documented justification of the updated work plan.
Task 6. Execute the Phase II plan approved in Task 5. Based on the results of this work, propose processes and tools for formulating long-range plans for replacement needs and budgets of highway operations equipment. The processes and associated tools shall be flexible enough so that they can be applied to all highway operations equipment, and be presented in an executable electronic format to facilitate use. Also, illustrate use of the proposed processes and tools by case examples or hypothetical scenarios covering all equipment classes and discuss how these processes and tools may be used for making specific replacement and investment decisions.
Notes: Proposals shall discuss the proposer’s current thinking regarding the anticipated electronic format for presenting the proposed processes. The process shall be flexible enough such that it will not require the use of proprietary products and will be easy to use by state highway agency personnel.
Task 7. Prepare and submit for NCHRP review a technical memorandum summarizing the work performed in Task 6 together with a detailed outline of the guide. Work on Task 8 will proceed upon completion of the review of the memorandum and authorization by the NCHRP.
Note: A review meeting that includes a presentation by the research team to the project panel should be scheduled as part of the review about 1 month after submittal of the technical memorandum. The comments emanating from the review must be considered in Task 8.
Task 8. Prepare the guide for formulating long-range plans for replacement needs and budgets of highway operations equipment.
Task 9. Prepare final deliverables that document the entire research effort. The proposed guide shall be presented as a stand-alone deliverable in a format suitable for consideration and adoption by AASHTO.
A. A Pre-publication of NCHRP Research Report 879 is available at http://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/177263.aspx
B. Resumes of research team members must present relevant qualifications and be limited to no more than 2 pages for each member. The section on equipment and facilities (Item 8 in the proposal) shall describe relevant information and be limited to no more than 2 pages.
C. 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. 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.
D. 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. The project panel will develop and maintain an implementation plan throughout the life of the project. The research team will be expected to provide input to an implementation team consisting of panel members, AASHTO committee members, the NCHRP Implementation Coordinator, and others in order to meet the goals of NCHRP Active Implementation: Moving Research into Practice, available at http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/docs/NCHRP_ActiveImplementation.pdf.
E. 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.
F. 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 the research team in the same or closely related problem area; (4) the plan for ensuring application of 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.
G. 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.