The National Academies

NCHRP 08-127 [RFP]

Emerging Issues: Impact of New Disruptive Technologies on the Performance of DOTs

Posted Date: 2/4/2020

  Project Data
Funds: $250,000
Contract Time: 18 months
(includes 1 month for NCHRP review and approval of the Phase I report and 3 months for NCHRP review and for contractor revision of the final report)
Authorization to Begin Work: 6/1/2020 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Larry Goldstein
   Phone: 202.334.1866
   Email: lgoldstein@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 5/11/2020
Fiscal Year: 2020


The arrival of the 4th Industrial Revolution and the rapid development and fusion of multiple disruptive and innovative technologies are changing the behavior and the expectations of customers and stakeholders—not only in the United States, but all over the world.  The deployment of these technologies—artificial intelligence, big data and digitization, the Internet of Things (IoT), wireless technologies (5G/6G), connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technologies, on-demand ride sharing services, Mobility as a Service (MaaS), the sharing economy, and others—is bringing a revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, relate to one another, and do business.  In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation is moving at a pace at which governmental entities are not readily prepared.


Mobility is also transforming rapidly as new technologies disrupt traditional ways people and goods move throughout the transportation systems.  The rapid deployment of mobile internet is upending the traditional approaches with new customer-centric business models based on the sharing economy such as car hailing, bike sharing, scooter sharing, time sharing, customized shuttle bus, parking sharing, etc.  While the new business models bring more conveniences and efficiencies to the users and to the national and local economies, they are also creating new challenges and needs that state departments of transportation (DOTs) and other transportation agencies must grapple with as decision-makers. As technology previously foreign to transportation rapidly affects traditional ways of doing business, organizational  structure and performance is affected across all modes and aspects of transportation.  Institutional processes or procedures may be retooled or adjusted to accommodate updated or more effective methods to improve performance outcomes.  These processes or procedures are necessary to help those agencies struggling to define meaningful performance measures, such as managing data collection, maintaining accountability, and streamlining reporting.


The objective of this research is to develop a guide for state DOTs and other transportation planning agencies to understand, predict, plan for, and adapt to the potential impacts of emerging disruptive technologies.  In preparing this guide, the research should identify issues, effects, and opportunities at the intersection of disruptive transportation technologies and organizational performance for senior managers at state DOTs and other transportation planning agencies; and it should include but not be limited to the following components:

·       Categories of technology disruptors, such as big data, expanding digitization, vehicle and infrastructure technologies, mobility as a service, the sharing economy, mobility of people and goods, alternative travel modes, and communication technologies;

·       New business opportunities or partnerships and collaboration models involving the private and public sectors, as well as impacts on how agencies execute planning and prioritize investments, implement, maintain, manage and operate the transportation system;

·       Roles and responsibilities of  federal, state, regional, and local agencies in evaluating, approving, regulating, enforcing, and managing new ways of moving people and goods; and

·       Improving overall customer service, including effects on the transportation system’s ability to provide improved access and mobility for all users.

The target audience for this research is practitioners as well as decision-makers at state DOTs and their transportation partner organizations. 


Proposers are asked to present a detailed research plan for accomplishing the project objective.  Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time, including an indication of how proposed research will make use of and build on current requirements and practices.  Proposals must demonstrate in sufficient detail an understanding of the issues and a sound approach to meeting the research objective, including prioritizing critical issues.  The research plan should also include a review of other related studies in general and NCHRP research studies in particular. 

The research plan should (1) include a kick-off web conference to review the amplified work plan with the NCHRP project panel, convened within 1 month of the contract’s execution; (2) address how the proposer intends to satisfy the project objectives; (3) be divided logically into two phases encompassing specific detailed tasks for each phase that are necessary to fulfill the research objective, including appropriate milestones and interim deliverables; and (4) incorporate opportunities for the project panel to review, comment on, and approve milestone deliverables.  The resulting guide should address methods, procedures, tools, and techniques for improving organizational performance in the context of disruptive technologies.  At a minimum, it should address potential effects on organizational structure and performance in terms of safety and mobility, planning, programming, asset management, investment strategies, and overall operations.  Where possible, proactive and innovative practices and strategies should be identified, including a review of relevant experience outside of the United States. 

Phase I

Phase I should detail the steps that will be used to identify disruptive technologies and, based on that identification, outline the content and organization of a guidebook for state DOTs and partner transportation organizations.  For this research effort, “organizational performance management guide” refers to a system of performance measures and procedures for implementation by the appropriate transportation planning agency.  These steps should also include a literature review that helps to define the state of the practice.  To the extent possible, this research should investigate empirical evidence on the impact of disruptive technology.  Work in this phase should also propose an approach, to be implemented in future research, to share the guide and test implementation of potential procedures for enhancing organizational response. 

Products of Phase I should include the literature review, interim deliverables, and an interim report.  The interim report will present an outline or framework for an effective organizational structure and performance management system designed to assist state DOTs and other transportation agencies on how to adapt and respond to current and emerging disruptive technologies.  The interim report should include but not be limited, to the following:

·       A review of current and anticipated issues and practices, including public and private sector response;

·      Surveys and/or case studies to illustrate current understanding of the issues as well as strategies and approaches for addressing disruptive technologies;

·       Examples of effective organizational performance management procedures to adapt to these disruptive technologies; and

·       An annotated outline of a proposed guide for state DOTs and other transportation planning agencies responsible for evaluating, approving, regulating, enforcing, and managing disruptive technologies. 

The interim report will also include a detailed scope of work for developing the components of the performance management guide in Phase II.  The NCHRP panel will meet with the research team at the end of Phase I to review the interim report.  NCHRP approval of the interim report is required before proceeding with Phase II. 

Phase II

Work in Phase II will complete the guide, reviewing organizational structure and performance management options, various performance requirements and performance measures, and supporting procedures for implementation of applicable strategies.  Phase II should include delineation of specific tasks that can demonstrate the effectiveness of the organizational performance management guide through a workshop or other means to engage practitioners and decision-makers that can be implemented in future research.  These tasks may also include developing additional components of the organizational performance management guide to be considered in the future. 

Final deliverables of Phase II will include at a minimum:

1.     A comprehensive guide for managing and responding to the effects of disruptive technologies on organizational performance of state DOTs and other transportation agencies, including a detailed description of proposed implementation applications for future research studies;

2.     A final report that documents the entire research effort, including examples, assumptions, descriptions of the case studies and relevant experience;

3.     A stand-alone executive summary that outlines the research findings and recommendations;

4.     An executive-level brochure/infographic highlighting findings of the research to facilitate dissemination to a broad audience, including state DOTs and other transportation agencies; and

5.     A stand-alone technical memorandum entitled, “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (See Special Note B).

In addition to the kick-off teleconference, the research plan should build in appropriate checkpoints with the NCHRP project panel including, at a minimum: (1) the face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting to be held at the end of Phase I; and (2) at least two additional web-enabled teleconferences tied to NCHRP review and approval of any other interim deliverables as deemed appropriate.

Note: The cost of teleconferences, in-person meeting venue, and NCHRP panel member travel will be paid by NCHRP.


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


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.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­


Proposals should be uploaded via this link: https://www.dropbox.com/request/lij1kgr5XVKti2KFfNPc
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. on 5/11/2020.

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 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 July 2019). 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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