The National Academies

NCHRP 23-04 [RFP]

Statewide Insurance Pooling for Public Transit

Posted Date: 1/10/2020

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Contract Time: 24 months
(includes 1 month 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: 8/25/2020 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Velvet Basemera-Fitzpatrick
   Phone: 202/334-2324
   Email: vfitzpatrick@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 3/10/2020
Fiscal Year: 2020

Transit agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to find, purchase, and maintain adequate and affordable insurance coverage for public transit vehicles. The number of smaller insurance providers is decreasing due to the volatile nature and demands of the insurance industry and insurance coverage requirements in general. Not only is the cost of adequately insuring all the vehicles in every transit agency increasing, but the ability to cover costs for each agency’s individual policy premiums is a challenge as well.
Historically, all transit providers, both urban and rural, have been adversely affected when the costs of insurance premiums increase with no commensurate increase in coverage. Premium increases can result in additional administration costs and require reallocating service delivery funds to administration. Small rural transit agencies often face the largest cost increases due to their small fleet sizes and high annual mileages per vehicle. However, some effective loss prevention and training efforts have contributed to helping maintain premiums at a manageable cost.
State departments of transportation (DOTs) are responsible for safeguarding federally funded program assets. Some DOTs actively support the acquisition of insurance coverage for vehicles operated in public transit services. Given that state DOTs have differing policies on who is responsible for acquiring insurance for program vehicles and if vehicle insurance is directly funded, reimbursed, or not funded by the DOT at all, the proposed research is needed to help provide guidance on how to enhance risk management activities, including effectively managing vehicle insurance pools.
The objective of this research is to provide state DOTs and their public transportation partners with a guidebook on how to effectively implement a statewide and/or regional pooled transit vehicle insurance policy model. The guidebook will be specific to Federal Transit Administration (FTA) direct recipients and subrecipients of the Formula Grants for Rural Areas program (49 U.S.C. 5311) and Urbanized Area Formula Funding program (49 U.S.C. 5307) who are using rubber tire transit vehicles. The guidebook should address the following, at a minimum: 
  • The benefits of overall risk management and loss mitigation improvement strategies,
  • Cost efficiencies based on economies of scale on vehicle insurance premiums and how administrative costs may change,
  • An implementation work plan that includes a responsibilities matrix, timelines, and mitigation strategies to address barriers to implementation.
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 problem and the soundness of their approach to developing the guidance.
The research plan should be organized into at least four phases and describe appropriate deliverables (which also represent key project milestones) that include, but are not limited to, the following: 
  • An interim report and in-person meeting with the NCHRP project panel meeting. 
    • The interim report shall be completed within 6 months of project initiation.
    • The panel meeting will take place after the panel review of the interim report.
  • Additional deliverables as well as additional panel meetings (via teleconferences) may be included in the research plan.
    • Teleconferences and web-enabled meetings will be hosted by NCHRP.
 Phase I. Work conducted in Phase I will include a literature review and development of a strategy to collect data and information of adequate detail and from diverse sources using appropriate methods. The data gathered for this study must reflect diversity of mode (fixed-route, demand response, and paratransit) and system size (small urban, large urban, and rural).
The data collection strategy should include the following at a minimum:
  • Data collection method.
  • Identification of published public transit vehicle insurance data with point-of-contact information for existing vehicle insurance cost data. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) should be asked to provide assistance.
  • Development of a sample of national and regional insurance providers and a survey to be administered to gather information on major risk parameters including, but not limited to, the following: insurance underwriting questions for transit vehicles, existing pooled transit vehicle insurance programs, and policy options (and exclusions) that would be available to a state DOT for such a large-scale program with multiple transit agencies.The survey instrument and intended recipients must be approved by NCHRP prior to implementation.
  • Development of a survey to be administered to all state DOTs and a representative sampling of transit agencies under their jurisdictions. The survey instrument and intended recipients must be approved by NCHRP prior to implementation. The survey should incorporate screening questions to capture data on transit providers in states that do not provide funds in operating dollars and identify risk management best practices.
  • Development of a balanced, nationwide sample of six to eight case studies of pooled transit vehicle insurance programs, whether led by states, regions, or individual transit agencies. Case study candidates must be approved by NCHRP. The case study review and analysis of pooled insurance programs should capture the following at a minimum:

    • Information on annual spending on insurance premiums and associated costs;
    • Administrative costs;
    • Cost-savings over previous individual vehicle insurance programs;
    • Kinds and levels of insurance coverages, claims, and premium adjustments due to claims for the past 3 years;
    • Review and analysis of relevant state and local legislation, regulation and related policies, and risk management practices.
Phase I will culminate in an Interim Report that will also include an updated, detailed work plan and project schedule for remaining phases.
Phase II. Implement the approved data collection strategy from Phase I and develop the Phase II Interim Report. Phase II will culminate in an Interim Report that will present the results of the data collection effort and describe any modifications needed to the detailed work plan and schedule for remaining tasks based on the results. Following a 1-month review of the Phase II Interim Report, an interim meeting of the research team and the NCHRP project panel will be held to discuss the Phase II Interim Report.
Note: The interim meeting will be held at the TRB offices in Washington, D.C. NCHRP will host the meeting and be responsible for the cost of panel member travel to attend the meeting.  NCHRP approval is required before work on future phases can begin.
Phase III. Develop the draft guidebook and submit it to NCHRP for review and approval. After NCHRP approval, submit the draft guidebook to relevant industry professionals to vet the contents. Provide a summary of the feedback from the vetting activities to NCHRP. The summary also should describe how the feedback received will be used to revise the guidebook.
Phase IV. Prepare and submit draft final deliverables that include, but are not limited to, the following:  
  • Draft final guidebook.
  • Draft final report, to incorporate the following items: 
    • Cost analysis and recommendations that address potential savings in premiums as well as potential changes in costs associated with program administration functions.
    • Draft final summary of the research effort and methods.
    • Short infographic briefing(s) for policymakers and decisionmakers on the key research findings.
    • An implementation plan that identifies opportunities for dissemination and moving research into practice (See Special Note B)
    • Webinar presentation materials on the research and deliverables.
 Note: The proposal should contain sufficient information about the anticipated content and design of the final deliverables to demonstrate an understanding of the audience for the research results and of effective dissemination and implementation pathways. 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. 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 http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/docs/NCHRP_ActiveImplementation.pdf.
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. Item 4, “Research Plan,” shall be limited to no more than 20 8.5” x 11” pages. Material on the research plan included in an appendix will not be considered. Item 5, “Qualifications of the Research Team” is limited to one 8.5” x 11” page for each member of the proposed project team. Item 5 should provide information on the qualifications of each member of the proposed research team who will make substantive contributions to the project. Material on qualifications of the research team included in an appendix will not be considered.
E. 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. 
F. 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 3/10/2020.

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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