The National Academies

NCHRP 20-102(20) [RFP]

Preparing the Transportation Workforce for the Deployment of Emerging Technology
[ NCHRP 20-102 (Impacts of Connected Vehicles and Automated Vehicles on State and Local Transportation Agencies--Task-Order Support) ]

Posted Date: 4/8/2022

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Contract Time: 24 months
(includes 1 months for NCHRP review and approval of the interim report and 3 months ofr NCHRP review and for contractor revision of the final report)
Authorization to Begin Work: 8/1/2022 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Jennifer L. Weeks
   Phone: 202-334-2122
   Email: jlweeks@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 6/9/2022
Fiscal Year: 2019

New transportation technologies are creating connective networks that merge the physical and digital worlds of transportation. The pace at which these technologies are evolving is creating workforce challenges for the transportation industry seeking to deploy, operate, and maintain these technologies. These include but are not limited to the technologies related to the deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles, mobility-at-a-service, and new mobility devices.
Technological advancements in transportation require appropriate expertise to plan and deploy during all phases of the transportation infrastructure and service delivery process. While transportation agencies are increasingly sophisticated in the deployment of information technology (IT) and intelligent transportation systems (ITS), the pace of change and the complexity of new mobility systems require novel expertise to the industry that challenges the capability of today’s transportation workforce. While some transportation agencies are fairly advanced in their workforce capabilities, others find themselves with limited expertise and seeking to build internal competencies to respond adequately to market trends.
While considerable research has been completed on workforce challenges and development in transportation, targeted research is needed to build the workforce capacity to develop, operate, and maintain new transportation technologies.
The objective of this research is to develop a comprehensive, practical guide for transportation agency recruitment, hiring, development, and retention of a workforce proficient in developing and deploying complex transportation technology and systems. The guide should address short-term and long-term strategies for workforce development, including consideration of how and when to outsource in addition to or in place of building capacity internally.
The guide should address the full spectrum of milestones involved in human resource development at a transportation agency, such as:
  • Creating position descriptions;
  • Developing and implementing training programs; and
  • Developing staff recruitment and retention programs that respond to technology  deployment needs.
The guide should include one or more decision frameworks for integrating needed capabilities into a transportation agency’s workforce, useful for addressing current workforce challenges as well as for building capacity into the future as technology evolves.
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 descriptions are intended to provide a framework for conducting the research.
The research plan should:
1. Include a kick-off web conference to review the amplified work plan with the NCHRP project panel within a month of the contract’s execution;
2. Address how the proposer intends to satisfy the objective of the research;
3. Be logically divided into two distinct phases encompassing specific detailed tasks for each phase, including a description of all milestones and appropriate deliverables; and
4. Provide ample opportunities for panel review, comment, and approval of project approach and milestone deliverables.
Phase I: Data Collection and Analysis
Proposers are asked to articulate a strategy for identifying the specific workforce capabilities and needs of state DOTs and other transportation agencies seeking to implement sophisticated transportation technologies within their systems. This would be accomplished within the following requested tasks:
Task 1. Conduct an extensive review of literature related to workforce development and the capabilities required for new transportation technology deployment, such as connected and automated vehicles and similarly complex systems. The literature review should identify available academic curricula and degree programs, training and development programs, and other resources available to build transportation agency workforce competencies for deploying new transportation technologies.
Task 2: Conduct a transportation agency state-of-practice assessment that identifies the current status of transportation agency approaches to build workforce competencies to deploy new technologies. Efforts by state DOTs and other transportation agencies to address workforce challenges related to technology deployment should be identified and documented, including the details of workforce development strategies such as training, recruitment, and other initiatives and a general assessment of the success of those efforts.
Task 3. Using the data collected in Tasks 1 and 2, conduct a gap analysis that identifies specific agency workforce needs and compares that with the availability of resources that could be directed to agencies. The analysis should specify areas where there are needs for further growth and development.
Task 4. Develop a Phase II work plan that responds to the gaps identified and other lessons learned from previous tasks and specifies a plan for completing the research objective.
Task 5. Develop an interim report that comprehensively documents the research conducted during Phase I and provides an annotated outline of the guide and any additional proposed resources to supplement the guide.
The research team shall be prepared to present the interim report, Phase II work plan, and guide outline to NCHRP and the project panel for discussion in an interim meeting. NCHRP approval of the interim report and guide outline is required prior to initiation of Phase II of the research plan.
Phase II: Guide Development
Phase II of the research plan should focus on assessing the value of methods, strategies, and approaches identified in Phase I for inclusion in the guide and development of the final research products. 
Final deliverables should include:
1. A guide for broad use by transportation agencies that would also be useful to representatives of the academic, workforce development, and technology training industries. Contained within the guide should be tools to facilitate the use of the guide by transportation agencies and education and workforce development organizations:
   Decision frameworks that facilitate the acquisition, onboarding, training, and development of new or existing employees to meet agency workforce needs;
   Sample educational curricula for university and workforce development programs;
   Position descriptions and knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) for transportation agency positions; and
   Lists of available training programs, academic programs, and other resources that could be used by transportation agencies to fulfill their workforce needs.
2. Implementation plan that includes a detailed strategy for bringing the products of this research to the transportation industry for practical application (see Special Note C).
3. A final report that documents the research process and data collected in completing the research.
Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, the remaining 3 months shall be for NCHRP review and comment and for research agency preparation of the final deliverables.
A. The Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs were modified in November 2020 to include maximum file size and page limits for all CRP proposals. Proposals must be submitted as a single PDF file with a maximum file size of 10 MB. The PDF must be formatted for standard 8 ½” X 11” paper, and the entire proposal must not exceed 60 pages (according to the page count displayed in the PDF). Proposals that do not meet these requirements will be rejected.  For other requirements, refer to chapter V of the instructions.
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" (https://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. 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 https://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/docs/NCHRP_ActiveImplementation.pdf.
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 11 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.

Proposals should be uploaded via this link: https://www.dropbox.com/request/O06R4v8fI3MHLayKJpxV
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 6/9/2022.

This is a firm deadline, and extensions are not granted. In order to be considered for award, 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.

Liability Statement

The signature of an authorized representative of the proposing agency is required on the unaltered statement in order for TRB 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 fillable PDF version of the Liability Statement. A free copy of the Adobe Acrobat PDF reader is available at https://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". 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.

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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