The National Academies

NCHRP 20-123(02) [RFP]

Research Roadmap for the AASHTO Council on Active Transportation
[ NCHRP 20-123 (Support for AASHTO Committees and Councils) ]

Posted Date: 9/3/2019

  Project Data
Funds: $250,000
Contract Time: 14 months
Authorization to Begin Work: 2/20/2020 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Ann M. Hartell
   Phone: 202/334-2369
   Email: ahartell@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 10/30/2019
Fiscal Year: 2019

In November 2016, the AASHTO Board of Directors adopted a new committee structure for the organization that included creating the Council on Active Transportation as part of the Transportation Policy Forum. The Council addresses issues related to bicycle, pedestrian, and other active transportation modes, including non-motorized access to the multi-modal network.  
In July 2018, the Council adopted a strategic plan (available at: https://active.transportation.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2018/12/CAT-StrategicPlan-Final-7.10.18.pdf). The plan includes the following goals:
  • Safety: support the reduction in pedestrian and bicyclist serious injuries and fatalities.
  • Communication: broadly communicate the value of active transportation to the transportation system, the environment, and communities.
  • Data: define voluntary systematic and consistent approaches to collecting, managing, analyzing, and monitoring data on pedestrian and bicyclist safety, mobility, cost, facilities, and system utilization.
  • Partnering, Publications, Research and Member Resources: within existing funding limitations or controls, support the appropriate inclusion of active transportation in transportation program and project development and delivery.
  • Policy: provide policy leadership on active transportation.
  • Technology: monitor and share information related to new technologies that may impact active transportation.
Advancing toward these goals requires the Council be up to date on relevant existing research and be prepared to foster and support new research that will address gaps in current knowledge. The active transportation research literature, however, is not only vast and rapidly expanding, but also scattered across many disciplines and sources. Therefore it is difficult for the Council to stay abreast of research results and emerging areas of study.  
So that the Council can serve as a resource within AASHTO and to its practitioner membership at state departments of transportation (DOTs), the Council is seeking assistance in developing a research roadmap. The roadmap will be informed by a review and synthesis of existing research, an assessment of research gaps, and engagement with the Council and other AASHTO committees and councils. The roadmap will serve as guidance for Council activities to foster and support a forward-thinking, practitioner-oriented, research agenda for active transportation. The roadmap will also inform Council efforts to monitor, disseminate, and implement research on active transportation by integrating research results into its activities.
The objective of this project is to develop a research roadmap that can be used by the Council to focus its efforts to foster, support, monitor, disseminate, and implement research on active transportation. The roadmap will build upon existing research and be informed by outreach to the active transportation practitioner community. In addition to identifying research gaps and prioritizing research needs, the roadmap will align with the Council’s strategic plan for future Council activities, including collaboration with other AASHTO committees and councils.  

Proposers are asked to present a detailed plan for accomplishing the project objective.  Proposers are expected to describe project plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time, including an indication of how proposed activities will make use of and build on available resources and engagement opportunities.  Proposals must demonstrate in sufficient detail an understanding of the issues and a sound approach to meeting the project objective.
In meeting the objective of this study, the project plan should, at a minimum, address the following: 
  • A strategy for conducting the research review that will produce a focused, structured view of the research landscape for use by practitioners and that will support the identification of research gaps and priorities for the roadmap.
    • Research topics are expected to include, but not be limited to, safety, data, equity, communication, policy, network analysis, design, maintenance, and operations.
    • Anticipated sources include but are not limited to peer-reviewed research, the Transportation Research Information Database (TRID), Research in Progress Database (RIP), TRB Snap Searches on relevant topics, and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) publications.
  • Assessment of high-priority gaps in current research for inclusion in the research roadmap. Gaps may address emerging topics or describe research that will extend, augment, or update previously studied topics and important, older studies. A detailed plan for conducting the gap assessment will be submitted to NCHRP for review and approval prior to initiating the gap assessment effort. The plan should describe the approach to identifying priority research areas and how to overcome challenges to outreach such as low response rates to surveys.  The gap assessment should be informed by:
    • Results of the research review.
    • The Council’s strategic plan.
    • A review of AASHTO guidance documents and manuals to evaluate opportunities for including information from research on active transportation.
    • A review of recent and pending FHWA research and guidance on active transportation.
    • An assessment of opportunities for engaging with other AASHTO councils and committees in developing the research roadmap
    • Targeted outreach to Council membership to identify current and emerging needs.
  • Organization and presentation of the results of the research review and gap assessment.  
    • Following a review by NCHRP, feedback on the draft research review and draft gap assessment will be collected from the Council. The presentation to the Council may be conducted as a web-enabled meeting, scheduled and hosted by the contractor or in conjunction with an in-person Council meeting. 
    • The proposed project plan should describe the conceptual design and content of the research review and gap assessment, suitable for distribution as an electronic document(s).
  • Engagement activities for developing the research roadmap. The development of the roadmap is anticipated to include at least two in-person events, involving Council members and, as appropriate, members of other AASHTO committees and councils and stakeholder groups. The in-person engagement events are anticipated to be held adjacent to independently scheduled meetings of one or more AASHTO councils or committees. The contractor will not responsible for the travel costs of participants. Prior to the engagement events, the project team will submit a detailed plan for the engagement events to NCHRP for review and approval prior to initiating the outreach effort. The plan should describe content, facilitation, advance materials, and intended participants for each event. Potential goals for the events include:
    • Refinement and prioritization of research gaps;
    • Identification of specific Council activities to foster and implement the results of priority research (e.g., future updates to published AASHTO guidance, guidance for state DOT programs); and
    • Laying a foundation for future activities (e.g., collaboration among AASHTO committees and councils, tracking future research)
  • Develop draft final and final deliverables. Anticipated draft final and final deliverables include:
    •  At least six well-defined and carefully crafted problem statements that address high-priority research gaps identified during the project. At least two-thirds of the problem statements should be written in a format appropriate for submission to the NCHRP; NCHRP will provide the problem statement format.
    • User-friendly materials suitable for electronic distribution by the Council that include:
      • Information on existing research that the Council can use for current and near-term activities;
      • Information on research in progress that the Council should monitor for future implementation;
      • Research-related initiatives by other AASHTO councils and committees where the Council can provide meaningful support;
      • Links between priority research needs and the Council’s strategic plan and suggested items for the Council’s annual action plans for years 2021 through 2023;
      • A proposed timeline for roadmap activities; and
      • A brief summary of the project activities and essential elements of the roadmap, possibly in graphic form. 
    • A framework and continuity plan to support on-going monitoring and tracking of relevant research and emerging trends and issues by the Council.
Note: In developing the project plan and tasks, the research plan should build in appropriate checkpoints with the NCHRP project panel including, at a minimum, (1) a kick-off web-enabled meeting to be held within 1 month of the contract’s execution date; (2) a face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting with the NCHRP project panel; and (3) at least three additional web-enabled teleconferences tied to NCHRP review and approval of any other interim deliverables as deemed appropriate.
Costs for meetings with the NCHRP project panel, including hosting of web-enabled meetings, the interim meeting venue, and travel costs for NCHRP panel members to attend the interim meeting will be paid by NCHRP. The proposed budget should include travel costs for project team members to attend the interim meeting and the engagement events.  
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 2 months shall be for NCHRP review and comment and for contractor 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. NCHRP wishes to award the contract for Project 20-123(02) for a fixed price of $250,000; this amount will not be subject to any adjustment by reason of the contractor’s cost experience in the performance of the contract. In addition to providing a detailed budget, the proposer should provide a proposed schedule of project milestones, deliverables and progress payments that is tied to the detailed budget and schedule. 
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 approach; (3) the experience, qualifications, and objectivity of the project 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. Proposers to direct all questions about this RFP to:
Ann Hartell
Transportation Research Board
500 Fifth Street, NW, K448
Washington, DC 20001

Proposals (8 single-bound copies) are due not later than 4:30 p.m. on 10/30/2019.

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 March 2018). 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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