The National Academies


Ensuring Child Safety in For-Hire Rideshare Vehicles

Posted Date: 11/14/2019

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Contract Time: 24 months
Authorization to Begin Work: 6/8/2020 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: William C. Rogers
   Phone: 202-334-1621
   Email: wrogers@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 1/7/2020
Fiscal Year: 2020



Child restraint systems (CRS) are a proven method for reducing injuries to children.  While there is little information on how CRS are used in rideshare vehicles and taxis, current data suggests that CRS use in taxis is much lower (5.9%) compared to personal use vehicles (92.8%) https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0361198119843091. In the United States, rideshare vehicle use offered by services such as Lyft and Uber, has increased dramatically in the last few years.  According to the Pew Research Center, in late 2015, only 15% of those surveyed said they had used these services (one-third had never heard of ridesharing); by the end of 2018, 36% had used such services and 3% had never heard of them. Rideshare use in urban and suburban areas seems certain to grow at a rapid pace. One issue that has received little attention is the transportation of children in rideshare vehicles, particularly child safety seat installation and use. Car seats, especially for toddlers and small children, can be bulky, heavy, and challenging to handle outside of the vehicle. Inside vehicles, the options for correct installation can be as varied as the combination of vehicles and car seats available, and traveling with two or more children adds to the complexity.  Initial surveys that examined the issue suggest widespread regulatory inconsistency on child seat use and confusion on the part of caregivers and for-hire drivers.  Moreover, there is a lack of research on best practice approaches for promoting child safety in for-hire ride share scenarios. 


Child passenger safety inspection stations are places or events where parents and caregivers can receive assistance from certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technicians. Prior research has suggested that primary care providers and child passenger safety technicians may be important conduits of child passenger safety information to caregivers, but more research is needed given the rapidly evolving rideshare environment.




The objective of this research is to develop a guide to identify and prioritize the types of behavioral interventions needed to improve child passenger (defined as children under 13 years of age) safety in the for-hire rideshare environment, including taxis.  The guide should include tools, policy alternatives, educational strategies and messages, corporate best practices, and other relevant approaches to promote child passenger safety through increased child restraint system use.




The BTSCRP 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.  New and innovative approaches to CRS use are encouraged.


The research plan should delineate the tasks required to develop guidance necessary to accomplish the research objective.  At a minimum, the tasks should include the following:


·        Annotate current state and local policies for ensuring child passenger safety in for-hire motor vehicles;

·        Describe current company practices, both national and international, for providing CRS in for-hire motor vehicles;

·         Determine the CRS experiences and attitudes of parents, other caregivers, and for-hire drivers;

·         Identify objective techniques to measure the use of CRS in for-hire motor vehicles;

·         Identify international policies and practices for CRS use applicable to the United States;

·        Document the barriers and facilitators to CRS use (e.g., culture, geography, income, education) with a focus on companies, drivers, and caregivers;

·         Describe the roles of stakeholders who can influence the use of CRS;

·        Develop targeted behavioral change strategies and messages to promote child passenger safety, including at-risk and hard-to-reach populations; and

·         Propose strategies to evaluate the guidance.


The proposed work plan must be divided into two phases as determined by the proposer. Each phase must be organized by task, with each task described in detail. A kick-off teleconference of the research team and BTSCRP shall be scheduled within 1 month of the contract’s execution.


Phase I will consist of information gathering and refinement of the work plan for subsequent phases, culminating in the submission of an interim report describing the work completed in Phase I. An in-person meeting will be held with BTSCRP to discuss the interim report and review the Phase II work plan. BTSCRP approval of the Phase I interim report is required before work can commence on subsequent phases. The project schedule shall include 1 month for BTSCRP review and approval of the interim report.


Phase II shall consist of the BTSCRP-approved Phase II work plan and the development of the final deliverables.


The final deliverables shall include (1) the guide to identify and prioritize the types of behavioral interventions needed to improve child passenger (defined as children under 13 years of age) safety in the for-hire rideshare environment, including taxis; (2) a final report documenting the entire project and incorporating all other specified deliverable products of the research; (3) an electronic presentation of the guidance that can be tailored for specific audiences; (4) a technical memorandum describing the strengths and limitations of the research and recommendations for additional research; and (5) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products (see Special Note B for additional information).


Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, the remaining 3 months shall be for BTSCRP 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 BTSCRP is a practical, applied research program that produces implementable products addressing problems faced by transportation practitioners and managers. The benefits of BTSCRP research are realized only when the results are implemented in state highway safety offices 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.


C. Item 5 in the proposal, "Qualifications of the Research Team," must include a section labeled "Disclosure." Information relevant to the BTSCRP'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 BTSCRP 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.


F. Resumes for proposed key staff should be limited to 3 pages for each.  The research approach shall be limited to 15 pages.  This does not include the detailed budget or the detailed schedule.


Proposals (15 single-bound copies) are due not later than 4:30 p.m. on 1/7/2020.

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 statement in order for the BTSCRP 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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