The National Academies

TCRP J-11/Task 26 [RFP]

Collaborations and Partnerships between Public Transportation and Transportation Network Companies (TNCs)

Posted Date: 4/20/2017

  Project Data
Funds: $100,000
Contract Time: 12 months
(includes 1 month for TCRP review and approval of the interim report and 2 months for TCRP review and for contractor revision of the final deliverables)
Authorization to Begin Work: 9/15/2017 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Dianne S. Schwager
   Phone: 202/334-2969
   Email: dschwager@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 6/14/2017
Fiscal Year: 2017


During the past decade, a variety of technology-enabled mobility options have emerged that have gained considerable visibility, popularity, and notoriety. Private firms, known as Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), connect people seeking trips to drivers who are often (but not always) using their personal (non-commercial) vehicle. These connections are made through computer and smart phone mobile applications (apps) that allow passengers to easily request and pay for their trips; to monitor vehicle location, arrival time, and trip progress; and to identify their driver. GPS technology allows drivers and passengers to locate one another and enables fares to be automatically determined for each trip. The term “ridesourcing” (i.e., outsourcing rides) has been coined to describe this mobility option.

Research thus far on TNCs suggests that technology-enabled mobility options can complement, supplement, or sometimes substitute for public transportation. For example,

  • Complement. Transit customers and others are currently most likely to use TNCs during late night hours and weekends when transit services are less available.
  • Supplement. TNCs can provide first mile/last mile services, enabling more people to use public transportation for more trips. Additionally, TNCs can provide service in areas and to markets that are costly for transit agencies because they generate low revenues or higher operational costs. (This includes lower density areas and persons with disabilities.)
  • Substitute. Some transit passengers may elect to use a TNC instead of public transportation, in particular if they have a special travel need or a time constraint.

Recently, public transportation agencies in the United States have begun considering, exploring, and, in some cases, initiating collaborations and partnerships with TNCs. For the purposes of this research, collaborations are defined as relationships that are not highly formalized or structured, where entities work toward achieving success in their shared goals. Partnerships, on the other hand, build on collaboration and are more formalized, sometimes including legal agreements.

Research is needed on existing and potential collaborations and partnerships between public transportation and TNCs to increase understanding and support effective decisionmaking in this emerging area.


The objective of this research is to prepare an up-to-date guide on collaborations and partnerships between public transportation and TNCs in all stages of development and realization. This includes initiatives that are underway, in development, under consideration, disbanded, or potential. The research should consider the opportunities and challenges, including the benefits and risks, of these collaborations and partnerships. The resource should address:

  • The range of benefits and outcomes that public transportation agencies, communities, and riders can pursue and possibly achieve through partnerships and collaboration with TNCs.
  • The challenges faced by communities as technology-enabled services are implemented and expanded.
  • The effects of differences in urban area size, characteristics of the existing public transportation services, and the needs of rural communities on the nature of collaborations and partnerships between TNCs and public transportation.
  • The options for structuring collaborations and partnerships between public transportation agencies and TNCs (e.g., the alternatives for services delivered, data sharing, ridership incentives, passenger payment methods, financial arrangements, and workforce requirements and relationships). This should include examples of relevant informal and written agreements, reflecting community or transit agency policies regarding TNCs.
  • Data and information requirements to establish meaningful and durable collaborations and partnerships between public transportation agencies and TNCs.
  • The barriers, risks, and legal restrictions at the federal, state, and local levels that make agreements between public entities (e.g., transit agencies) and TNCs challenging.
  • The strategies for mitigating barriers, risks, and legal restrictions, implemented and under consideration, that may ease the development of collaborations and partnerships between public transportation and TNCs.
  • Methods and metrics for measuring outcomes of collaborations and partnerships between public transportation and TNCs, including but not limited to, transit ridership, mode share, impacts on finances, congestion, and customer impacts.
  • Mechanisms for accountability for TNCs, whose ability to be responsive to public transportation agencies may be affected by market forces.
  • Imaginative future scenarios, beyond current experience, that may merit further research.
  • Other relevant information, as discovered.

The product of this research should provide a thorough and objective assessment, with practical, relevant examples, to enhance understanding and to facilitate informed decisionmaking on whether, when, and how collaborations and partnerships between public transportation and TNCs should be considered and pursued.


Proposers are asked to develop and include a detailed research plan for accomplishing the project objective. The work proposed must be divided into tasks and proposers must describe the work proposed in each task. Proposers are expected to present a research plan 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.

The research plan shall describe appropriate deliverables that include, but are not limited to the following (which also represent key project milestones):

  • An amplified research plan that responds to comments provided by the project panel at the contractor selection meeting.
  • An interim report and panel meeting. The interim report should include the analyses and results of completed tasks, an update of the remaining tasks, and a detailed outline of the final research product(s). The panel meeting will take place after the panel review of the interim report. The interim report and panel meeting should occur after the expenditure of no more than 40 percent of the project budget.
  • Final deliverables that present the entire research effort with an executive summary that outlines the research results.
  • A webinar on the results of the research and the deliverables.
  • A technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products.” See Special Note E.

Note: The research plan may include additional deliverables as well as additional panel meetings via teleconferences.

Note: The research plan shall include a schedule for completion of the research that includes 1 month for panel review of the interim report and 3 months for panel review and for contractor revision of the final research product(s).


A. Proposals should demonstrate knowledge of ongoing and completed research and identify data and information sources relevant to this research project.

B. Proposals are evaluated by the TCRP 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.

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. Item 4(c), "Anticipated Research Results," in each proposal must include an Implementation Plan that describes activities to promote application of the product of this research. It is expected that the implementation plan will evolve during the project; however, proposals must describe, as a minimum, 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, (d) the institutions and individuals who might take leadership in applying the research product, (e) the activities necessary for successful implementation, and (f) the criteria for judging the progress and consequences of implementation.

E. The required technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” should (a) provide recommendations on how to best put the research findings/products into practice; (b) identify possible institutions that might take leadership in applying the research findings/products; (c) identify issues affecting potential implementation of the findings/products and recommend possible actions to address these issues; and (d) recommend methods of identifying and measuring the impacts associated with implementation of the findings/products. Implementation of these recommendations is not part of the research project and, if warranted, details of these actions will be developed and implemented in future efforts.

Proposals (23 single-bound copies) are due not later than 4:30 p.m. on 6/14/2017.

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 statement in order for the TCRP 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.

5. Potential proposers should understand that follow-on activities for this project may be carried out through either a contract amendment modifying the scope of work with additional time and funds, or through a new contract (via sole source, full, or restrictive competition).

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