The National Academies

NCHRP 20-116 [RFP]

An Emergency Management Playbook for State Transportation Agencies

Posted Date: 8/16/2019

  Project Data
Funds: $800,000
[co-funded with $50,000 from the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP)]
Contract Time: 30 months
(includes 2 months for NCHRP review of the interim report and 3 months for NCHRP review and for contractor revision of the final report)
Authorization to Begin Work: 12/1/2019 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Stephan A. Parker
   Phone: 202/334-2554
   Email: saparker@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 10/1/2019
Fiscal Year: 2017

NCHRP Research Report 931: A Guide to Emergency Management at State Transportation Agencies, will be published in 2019. Several emergency management courses and generic planning templates are currently available to transportation emergency managers at airports, transit agencies, and state departments of transportation (DOTs), including NCHRP Report 525, Surface Transportation Security, Volume. 16: A Guide to Emergency Response Planning at State Transportation Agencies (2010). Those, together with federal guidance promulgated through Incident Command System/National Incident Management System/Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (ICS/NIMS/HSEEP) doctrine, are necessary, but not sufficient, for ready implementation.
There is a need for a strategy-driven, actionable guide—a playbook—that, with incidental implementation support, will help emergent and part-time transportation emergency managers to understand, plan, and implement an emergency preparedness program that fits their agency’s needs, capabilities, and challenges. Such a playbook will serve as a simple, practical, and comprehensive emergency preparedness program development guide for transportation emergency managers; be generally applicable to all transportation emergency operations centers (EOCs); and be consistent with ICS/NIMS/HSEEP doctrine. A transportation-specific playbook will help close the gap in transportation emergency preparedness and enable quicker and more effective uptake of valuable scenario-based training and exercising tools that help organizations apply prerequisite planning and program development.
Translating strategy from the playbook to the real world (how to do it) is complex, as states vary in how they organize their activities. This project will develop and execute a strategy to effectively bridge the gap between all-hazards emergency management research and state transportation agency practice to improve state transportation agency responses over a broad continuum of emergencies affecting the nation’s travelers, economy, and infrastructure.
The objectives of this project are (1) to develop a playbook to support emergency management program review and development for state transportation agencies and (2) to develop and execute a deployment strategy to familiarize the affected transportation agencies of every state with the playbook and supporting emergency management materials.  The playbook and related products and activities should encompass state DOTs, public transportation systems, and other transportation agencies under state control or influence (i.e., state transportation agencies).
The playbook should include, at a minimum:
  • Guidance for planning and implementing the five mission areas in alignment with the National Preparedness Goals;
  • Self-evaluation materials that align with a capability maturity model to allow transportation agencies to scale the guidebook to their needs;
  • Practices that align with federal guidance and regulations, including those associated with cost recovery; and
  • Enhanced resource typing that supports the unique needs of transportation agencies.
The playbook will focus on state transportation agencies and provide
  • Scalable guidance on implementing effective emergency management practices;
  • Clear, brief instruction about how executive leaders, middle management, and first responders are each to use the approach and supporting emergency management materials;
  • Coverage of all modes of transportation under state control or influence;
  • Coverage of all phases of emergency management; and
  • Techniques to ensure the participation of other organizations involved in deploying emergency management practices (e.g., emergency management, law enforcement, emergency medical services, public works departments, National Weather Service, emergency operations centers), as well as other stakeholders.
The playbook will be accompanied by supporting emergency management materials described in the following task statements.
  • A successor to the 2015 AASHTO Fundamental Capabilities of Effective All-Hazards Infrastructure Protection, Resilience, and Emergency Management;
  • HSEEP-compliant scenarios and injects for exercising all phases of emergency management;
  • Other training materials; and
  • Draft standards for resource typing for state DOTs to enable more effective mutual aid,  including a recommended set of activities to get the drafts adopted by the appropriate standards development organizations, such as the International Association of Emergency Managers, the National Emergency Management Association, and the National Fire Protection Association.
Accomplishment of the project objectives 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 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.
Phase I
Task 1.  Review and summarize relevant literature on deploying emergency management practices in state transportation agencies. The project should leverage useful resources such as the 2019 NCHRP Research Report 931: A Guide to Emergency Management at State Transportation Agencies. See Special Note G.
Task 2. Review current strategic emergency management practices and related organizational structures across state transportation agencies (including staffing levels). Use the results of this review to support the development of project deliverables in Phase II. Identify clusters of agency types with similar characteristics to target for implementation and supporting activities in Phase II, such that each of the 50 state DOTs as well as those from the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, is engaged in a multi-state, in-person activity. 
Note: If proposed, survey/interview instruments and sampling plans shall be submitted for NCHRP review and approval prior to use.
Task 3.  Based on the results of the previous tasks, develop a revised work plan for Phase II. 
Task 4. Prepare an interim report on the findings and conclusions of Tasks 1 through 3. The interim report should include draft tables of contents for products that will be developed in Phase II, Tasks 5-8, and detailed plans for the Task 9 and Task 10 activities. The research plan shall provide a 2-month period for review and approval of the interim report. An interim meeting of the project panel to discuss the interim report with the research agency will be required. NCHRP will be responsible for the cost of panel member travel and will provide the meeting facility. For the interim meeting, provide a PowerPoint presentation suitable, upon revision, for posting on the NCHRP project webpage. The research agency shall not begin work on the remaining tasks without NCHRP approval.
Note: The duration and budget for Phase I will not exceed 12 months and $300,000, respectively.
Phase II
Task 5.  Update the 2015 AASHTO Fundamental Capabilities of Effective All-Hazards Infrastructure Protection, Resilience, and Emergency Management. As fundamentals are enduring, this might be as simple as updating lists of relevant resources and replacing the foreword.
Task 6.  Develop draft standards for resource typing for state DOTs to enable more effective mutual aid, including a recommended set of activities to facilitate adoption by the appropriate standards development organization(s).

Task 7.  Develop a user-friendly playbook that is flexible and can be used by transportation agencies with different emergency management capacities and maturities. The playbook should support individual states as they develop and audit their statewide transportation emergency management programs, including state DOTs, public transportation, and other transportation agencies under state control or influence. Audiences for the emergency management deployment playbook include state DOT executives, maintenance and operations leaders, and transportation staff in all modes with a role in any of the five mission areas described in the National Planning Frameworks. See Special Note G. The playbook must include guidelines for state transportation agencies to address a broad spectrum of emergency management programs and practices.

This playbook should consider collaboration with diverse intra-agency, interagency, and community stakeholders. It should serve as an overall guide to transportation agency emergency managers who wish to initiate or enhance a simple, effective, and sustainable preparedness program, with

  • A brief but comprehensive program development and audit narrative, consistent with national doctrines such as, but not limited to, the
  • National Preparedness Goal (NPG);
  • Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA);
  • Developing Emergency Operations Plans (CPG101);
  • National Incident Management System (NIMS); and the
  • Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP).
  • A checklist of emergency management transportation capabilities for a transportation agency to build and maintain (see, for example, the 2019 NCHRP Research Report 931: A Guide to Emergency Management at State Transportation Agencies);
  • A compendium of program development resources (e.g., emergency management doctrine, how-to videos, forms, sample plans, exercise plan templates); and
  • An introduction to using simulation-based tabletop exercise and training systems [e.g., the Transportation Emergency Response Application (TERA)], describing how such systems can efficiently amplify the effects of training, increase readiness, and improve the outcomes of transportation agency emergency operations centers.

Task 8.  Develop training and educational courses and supplementary materials to be used in Task 9 and Task 10 that communicate the material of the playbook, such as train-the-trainer materials. Include materials supporting an annual cycle of activities focused on preparing for incidents and events. Desired characteristics include

  • A list of terminal and enabling learning objectives for transportation emergency managers and staff;
  • Interactive, user-ready adult learning and retention approaches to training. Content should be delivered to meet different communications needs for a diverse workforce (e.g., mobile apps, tailgate talks); and
  • Scenarios and injects suitable to be presented as exercises or leveraged on an interactive technology-based solution (e.g., TERA) that guides participants through exercises and documents their progress.

Task 9.  Based on the strategy, techniques, and approaches selected in Phase I, pilot test the lesson plans, training courses, checklists, and other materials for use in the deployment strategies.  See Special Note F.

Task 10.  Plan and execute a series of multi-state activities to familiarize every state DOT and their emergency management partners (including public transportation and adjacent state DOTs) with the playbook. Coordinate stakeholder outreach and engagement; implement the deployment strategy using the materials developed in previous tasks.


Based on the approved Phase II work plan, conduct the following events, at a minimum:

  • At least one national workshop/training class of at least 6 hours;
  • At least four regional events – one per AASHTO Region of at least 4 hours;
  • At least two multi-state events of at least 4 hours to be hosted by state DOTs;
  • At least one nationally publicized webinar; and
  • At least six conference presentations, preferably including one at a TRB Annual Meeting and one at an AASHTO Committee on Transportation System Security and Resilience (CTSSR) Annual Meeting. 

Proposers are encouraged to be creative in the selection of their proposed venues and events, identifying a diverse audience from field personnel to DOT executives. Co-locating and joint scheduling with existing meetings, conferences, and other training events is encouraged. Proposers should also recommend other ways to maximize the dissemination of the information collected and developed.

Task 11.  Final deliverables should include the following: (1) an implementation and change management strategy and all supporting lesson plans, scripts, training exercises, and all other didactic and experiential material developed in support of the strategy; (2) a final report summarizing the background research; (3) an updated interim meeting PowerPoint presentation suitable, upon revision, for posting on the NCHRP project webpage; (4) a stand-alone, one-page executive summary in a suitable format of text and graphics aimed at senior decision makers; (5) the Task 5 successor to the 2015 AASHTO Fundamental Capabilities of Effective All-Hazards Infrastructure Protection, Resilience, and Emergency Management; (6) the Task 6 draft resource typing standard and a plan for facilitating its adoption; (7) the Task 7 playbook; (8) the Task 8 training and educational materials to achieve technology transfer of the playbook; and (9) a summary report on the Task 10 multi-state activities. 

Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, the remaining 3 months shall be fore NCHRP review and comment and for research agency preparation of the final deliverables.  


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. 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. 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.


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 the research team in the same or closely related problem area; (4) the plan for ensuring application of results; (5) how the proposer approaches inclusion and diversity in the composition of their team and research approach, including participation by certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises; and, if relevant, (6) the adequacy of the facilities.


Note: The proposer's approach to inclusion and diversity as well as 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. Other materials may include short videos, scenarios delivered under simulation programs such as TERA, etc.


G. Resources that should inform the development of the Phase II products for this project include:


  1. National Planning Frameworks. The Frameworks describe how the whole community works together to achieve the National Preparedness Goal. There is one Framework for each of the five mission areas: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery.  https://www.fema.gov/national-planning-frameworks
  2. AASHTO Fundamental Capabilities of Effective All-Hazards Infrastructure Protection, Resilience, and Emergency Management https://ctssr.transportation.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2017/10/Fundamental-Capabilities-of-Effective.pdf 
  3. AASHTO Managing Catastrophic Transportation Emergencies: A Guide for Transportation Executiveshttps://ctssr.transportation.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2017/10/Managing-Catastrophic-Transportation-Emergencies.pdf
  4. NCHRP Research Report 931: A Guide to Emergency Management at State Transportation Agencies  https://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=4071
  5. NCHRP Research Report 930: Security 101: A Physical & Cyber Security Primer for Transportation Agencies https://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=4070
  6. National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) 2013: Partnering for Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience https://www.dhs.gov/publication/nipp-2013-partnering-critical-infrastructure-security-and-resilience
  7. Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Research and Development Plan https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/National%20CISR%20R%26D%20Plan_Nov%202015.pdf
  8. TSA Intermodal Security Training & Exercise Program (I-STEP) provides exercise, training, and security planning tools and services to the transportation community.
  9. TSA Exercise Information System (EXIS) is an online exercise tool that provides users with resources to design, document, and evaluate exercises for all transportation modes. http://exis.tsa.dhs.gov
  10. TSA FirstObserverPlus is a security domain awareness training program focused on delivery of a simple message to highway transportation professionals: to “Observe, Assess, and Report” suspicious activities. http://tsa.gov/firstobserver  



Proposals (19 single-bound copies) are due not later than 4:30 p.m. on 10/1/2019.

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 March 2018). 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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