The National Academies

NCHRP 15-68 [RFP]

Effective Low-Noise Rumble Strips

Posted Date: 12/4/2017

  Project Data
Funds: $700,000
Contract Time: 30 months
(includes 2 months 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: 5/1/2018 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: C. Crichton-Sumners
   Phone: 202-334-1695
   Email: ccrichton-sumners@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 1/18/2018
Fiscal Year: 2018



Rumble strips are proven safety countermeasures for roadway departure crashes. They produce vibration and noise to alert drivers that they are drifting from the travel lane. Neighboring residents—contiguous to roadways with rumble strips—often complain about the noise generated by these appurtenances. This has prompted a need to simultaneously study noise mitigation and rumble strip design and application. Preliminary studies by California and Minnesota state transportation agencies indicate significant potential for sinusoidal rumble strips to provide adequate alerting noise and vibration for the driver while significantly reducing exterior noise. While NCHRP Report 641: Guidance for the Design and Application of Shoulder and Centerline Rumble Strips, showed commendable crash reductions for traditional milled rumble strips, with dimensions of approximately 7x12 inches and ½ inch depth, other designs have been used extensively by a number of state agencies to address pavement width or bicycle accommodation issues without documentation of their comparative safety effects or noise impacts. Other states are exploring the effectiveness and appropriateness of various low-noise designs (e.g., varying widths, depths, and shapes).


While there have been a few independent studies of the noise associated with various rumble strip designs, they are difficult to compare because they use different vehicle types, acoustical equipment and procedures, and rumble strip designs. Due to the scope of the issue, expertise from both transportation safety and noise professionals are required to study the issue. Providing state, local, and federal agencies with recommended rumble strip designs that offer adequate alerting driver feedback and reduced external noise would potentially increase their use and expand opportunities for agencies to reach safety performance goals.




The objectives of this research are to: (1) identify or design and evaluate alternative rumble strips that provide effective alerting noise and vibration within vehicles and minimize perceived external noise, while considering several variables (e.g., vehicle types, pavement types, and speed); (2) recommend low-noise rumble strip designs that accommodate all users; and (3) develop recommendations for standard testing and measurement protocols.




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.

The research plan should: (1) include a kick-off teleconference with the research team and NCHRP convened within 1 month of the contract’s execution; (2) address the manner in which the proposer intends to satisfy the project objective; (3) be divided logically into phases and detailed tasks necessary to fulfill the research objective and include appropriate milestones and interim deliverables; (4) include
one face-to-face meeting to review Interim Report 1 at the conclusion of Phase 1, and a web-conference meeting (NCHRP will provide teleconference services) to be held at the end of Task 2; and (5) incorporate opportunities for the project panel to review, comment, and approve milestone deliverables.

Research plan should include at a minimum the following tasks.




Phase I will require at a minimum the following tasks:


Task 1. Conduct a literature review of domestic and international sources to document the successful use of low-noise rumble strips.


Task 2. Assess the current state of practice including the effectiveness of any low noise rumble strips implemented by state transportation agencies or other transportation agencies.


Note: NCHRP approval of the approach used to gather the information described in Task 2 is required before proceeding with subsequent tasks.


Task 3. Design or identify low-noise rumble strips for proposed testing in Phase II and evaluate low-noise rumble strips that will provide adequate vibration and alerting interior noise and simultaneously reduce exterior noise.


Task 4. Identify metrics and data collection practices for assessing driver feedback.


Task 5. Propose noise and vibration testing procedures and metrics for field evaluation.


Task 6. Prepare an interim report that includes all Phase I tasks.


Task 7. Conduct a face-to face meeting with the NCHRP project panel to discuss  the interim report developed in Task 6. TRB will cover costs associated with meeting spaces and NCHRP panel travel.

Note: NCHRP approval of the interim report developed in Task 6 is required before proceeding with subsequent tasks.




Phase II will require at a minimum, the following tasks:

Task 8. Develop recommendations for standard testing and measurement protocols.


Task 9. Conduct field testing on alternative low-noise rumble strip designs to determine effective driver feedback, interior noise and vibration, and exterior noise.


Task 10. Recommend low-noise rumble strip designs for varying speed and pavement types.


Task 11. Provide details and specifications for the installation of low-noise rumble strips. 


Task 12. Prepare the final deliverables.


Final deliverables should include, at a minimum: (1) a final report documenting the entire research effort; (2) a practitioner’s guidebook that provides a summary of recommended design and installation practices for various low-noise  rumble strip alternatives; (3) prioritized recommendations for future research; (4) an executive summary of the project; (5) a PowerPoint presentation describing the background, objectives, research approach, findings, and conclusions; (6) presentation of findings to two AASHTO Program Delivery and Operations or Cross Discipline Committees; and (7) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (see Special Note D for additional information). 


Proposers may recommend additional deliverables to support the project objectives.



A.  Item 4 of the proposal, the Research Plan, shall not exceed 25 pages, in 12-point font or larger. This does not include the detailed scheduled or the detailed budget. Item 5 of the proposal shall be limited to 1 page of biographical information for each person.


B.    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.


C. NCHRP wishes to award the contract for NCHRP Project 15-68 for a fixed price of $700,000. This amount will not be subject to any adjustment by reason of the contractor’s cost experience in the performance of the contract.  In addition to providing a detailed budget, the proposer should provide a proposed schedule of project milestones, deliverables and progress payments tied to the detailed budget and schedule which will be inclusive of specific dates. For budgeting purposes, proposers should assume that (1) NCHRP will provide access to web-enabled teleconference services and (2) 1 in-person meeting with the NCHRP project panel will be held in Washington, DC. NCHRP will pay panel members’ travel costs for the meeting.


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.


H. Proposers are encouraged to become familiar with the following reports and to take them into account when developing the proposed research plan.

1. NCHRP 641: Guidance for the Design and Application of Shoulder and Centerline Rumble Strips, ISBN 978-0-309-11799-9

2. NCHRP Synthesis 490: Practice of Rumble Strips and Rumble Stripes, ISBN 978-0-309-44324-1 | DOI 10.17226/23522

3. FHWA-HRT-17-026, State of the Practice for Shoulder and Center Line Rumble Strip Implementation on Non-Freeway Facilities https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/17026/index.cfm

4. Minnesota Department of Transportation, Sinusoidal Rumble Strip Design Optimization Study http://www.dot.state.mn.us/research/TS/2016/201623.pdf  

5. Michigan Department of Transportation Impact of Non-Freeway Rumble Strips – Phase 1


Proposals (15 single-bound copies) are due not later than 4:30 p.m. on 1/18/2018.

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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