The National Academies

NCHRP 08-129 [RFP]

Incorporating Resilience Concepts and Strategies in Transportation Planning

Posted Date: 1/7/2020

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Contract Time: 18 months
(includes 1 month for NCHRP review and approval of the Phase 1 report and 3 months for NCHRP review and for contractor revision of the final report)
Authorization to Begin Work: 3/16/2020 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Lawrence D. Goldstein
   Phone: (202)334-1866
   Email: lgoldstein@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 2/26/2020
Fiscal Year: 2020

Transportation systems are vulnerable to natural and human-caused hazards, such as climate change, terrorism, economic and demographic changes, cyberattacks, and other events—all in the context of limited financial resources. These events and trends can result in unanticipated transportation system disruptions and increasing constraints on existing infrastructure, impeding access to reliable mobility for people and goods. Given the increasing risk, it is critical to design or modify transportation systems to be adaptive, investing in strategic resilience planning and implementation in advance of events (shocks or stressors). 

While state departments of transportation (DOTs) understand the importance of incorporating resilience planning into transportation decision-making, the state of the practice varies. For example, studies from Oregon, Colorado, and Utah illustrate how corridor-based resilience planning provided direction to project design, continued operations, and maintenance. Other state DOTs, such as the Michigan DOT and Florida DOT, are examining how resilience concepts could be included in statewide transportation planning. A few others, such as Caltrans, are conducting resilience studies through their planning divisions. 

Efforts to address strategies for improving resilience planning are increasing as documented in multiple NCHRP studies, such as NCHRP Project 20-117: Deploying Transportation Resilience Practices in State DOTs and NCHRP Synthesis 527: Resilience in Transportation Planning, Engineering, Management, Policy, and Administration. In addition, FHWA has sponsored efforts that examine the relationship between resilience and transportation planning, illustrating the importance of advancing the practice of integrated planning (FHWA Resilience Resources). 

Guidelines are needed to help state DOTs and other transportation agencies integrate resilience concepts strategically and systematically into the transportation planning process. 


The objective of this research is to develop a guidebook on how state DOTs and other transportation agencies can integrate resilience concepts into transportation planning efforts at all scales of application. 


Proposers are asked to present a detailed research plan for accomplishing the project objectives. 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 objectives, including prioritizing critical issues. It 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 objective; (3) be divided logically into two phases encompassing specific detailed tasks for each phase that are necessary to fulfill the research objectives, including appropriate milestones and interim deliverables; and (4) incorporate opportunities for the project panel to review, comment on, and approve milestone deliverables.

To meet the objective, the research plan should include a review of examples of state DOT planning and resilience efforts, such as statewide planning, modal planning, asset management planning, and corridor/project planning; it should examine how issues related to resilience could be integrated into transportation planning and decision-making; and it should include a review of resilience planning efforts from other institutions that may be applicable to transportation. It should also build on and complement NCHRP Project 20-117: Deploying Transportation Resilience Practices in State DOTs as well as other research currently underway or recently concluded.

The research plan should delineate the tasks required to integrate resilience planning issues and concepts into overall transportation planning in support of state DOTs and other transportation agencies, considering the following:
  • What are effective strategies for prioritizing planning and investment decisions to improve systemwide resilience;
  • What are the critical decision-making steps in implementing an effective resilience planning strategy;
  • How to identify and plan for effects of natural- and human-caused hazards (shocks and stresses);
  • How to apply risk analysis to help reduce vulnerability;
  • How to identify available data and analytical tools and techniques to facilitate proactive and effective resilience planning;
  • What are the significant gaps in availability of necessary data and analytical tools and techniques and what strategies might be available to fill those gaps;
  • How to integrate resilience planning into existing institutional practices;
  • How can state DOTs help support community resilience efforts; and
  • How to bring all these concerns together for incorporating resilience into state DOT transportation planning and decision-making.
Phase I

Phase I will result in an interim report that describes how to integrate resilience into transportation planning and decision-making. Steps in this phase should include, but not be limited to, the following:
  1. A targeted literature review of known and anticipated issues and practices;
  2. A review of the guidance resulting from NCHRP Project 20-117: Deploying Transportation Resilience Practices in State DOTs; NCHRP Synthesis 527: Resilience in Transportation Planning, Engineering, Management, Policy, and Administration; resilience studies/resources prepared by FHWA; and other relevant studies;
  3. A series of case studies to illustrate current understanding of the resilience issues as well as strategies and approaches to address planning steps integrating resilience planning into overall state transportation planning;
  4. A description of the components of an effective transportation planning program integrating broad-scale resilience issues and requirements, developed in response to the questions described in the overall approach to the research plan:
    • establishing goals and objectives for resilience;
    • conducting vulnerability assessments;
    • identifying and using existing or new tools to support decision-making under uncertainty;
    • expanding the use of data and forecasting probabilities;
    • evaluating workforce needs;
    • establishing procedures to maximize use of existing funding mechanisms;
    • proposing additional procedures to make the business case for resilience; and
    • implementing other innovative approaches to integrate resilience measures into transportation planning and decision-making; and
  5. An annotated outline of the proposed guidebook for state DOTs and other transportation agencies.
The interim report will include a refined scope of work for developing the detailed components of the guidance in Phase II. The 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 development of the guidebook on incorporating resilience into transportation system planning and decision-making. Final deliverables of Phase II will include at a minimum:
  • Detailed guidebook for state DOTs and other transportation agencies defining critical resilience issues and concepts and the steps necessary to incorporate resilience into transportation planning and decision-making (the guidebook will also include results from the case studies);
  • A contractor's final report that documents the entire research effort including recommendations for additional research on applicable procedures, analytical methods, and tools;
  • A stand-alone executive summary that outlines the research findings and recommendations;
  • Communication material aimed at state DOTs and other transportation agencies that explains why the integration approach and supporting guidance are helpful and how they will be applied; and
  • A stand-alone technical memorandum entitled, “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (See Special Note B).
The research plan should build in appropriate checkpoints with the NCHRP project panel including, at a minimum, (1) a kick-off teleconference meeting to be held within 1 month of the contract’s execution date; (2) the face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting to be held at the end of Phase I; and (3) 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 (15 single-bound copies) are due not later than 4:30 p.m. on 2/26/2020.

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 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.


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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