The National Academies

NCHRP 20-102(28) [RFP]

Preparing Transportation Agencies for Connected and Automated Vehicles in Work Zones
[ NCHRP 20-102 (Impacts of Connected Vehicles and Automated Vehicles on State and Local Transportation Agencies--Task-Order Support) ]

Posted Date: 4/8/2020

  Project Data
Funds: $250,000
Contract Time: 21 months
(includes 1 month for NCHRP review and approval of each interim report; and 3 months for NCHRP review and for contractor revision of the final report)
Authorization to Begin Work: 10/15/2020 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: David Jared
   Phone: 202/334-2358
   Email: djared@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 5/28/2020
Fiscal Year: 2020



Connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies are advancing at a rapid pace. Connected vehicle technologies allow vehicles, the infrastructure, and passenger personal communications devices to communicate with each other safely and seamlessly. The sophistication of the wireless data communications varies from simple free-form alerts, such as smartphone apps that notify of hazards ahead, to detailed standardized message sets between vehicles and with the roadway infrastructure itself. Meanwhile, autonomous vehicles automatically sense their environment and perform some or all driving functions normally performed by the human driver.


The extent to which CAVs will successfully assimilate into the driving environment will depend on how well the technologies are able to establish and maintain accurate and timely situational awareness of the roadway environment as the vehicles move from point to point, including timely awareness of temporary changes to that environment related to the following:


·         Allowable or required travel path 

·         Traffic control devices (TCDs) and regulations

·         Operating conditions

·         Hazard presence  

·         Degradation and inconsistent placement of TCDs


Studies have confirmed that work zones are one of the more difficult environments for CAVs to navigate. Besides rapidly changing conditions, work zone layouts can vary significantly (e.g., single lane closures, crossovers, flagging operations, and temporary signals). In the context of this research, work zones include short- and long-term construction, static and mobile maintenance, and utility work within rights-of-way. 


Efforts are underway on several fronts to address these and other challenges, with the ultimate goal of developing CAV capabilities for work zones in the future. These efforts include, but are not limited to, the following:


·         Testbeds that replicate the CAV-related challenges found in work zones


·         Development and testing of devices and applications that would better connect work zones and CAVs


·         Efforts to establish and furnish digital data about work zones that could be consumed and responded to by CAVs


In light of the various challenges that work zones pose to CAVs, and to support national efforts to promote safety in work zones, further research is needed to help transportation agencies prepare for CAVs in work zones.




To help transportation agencies prepare for connected and automated vehicles in work zones, the objectives of this project are to:


·         Identify technical needs and potential impacts of CAVs in work zones


·         Document deployed and planned practices for CAVs in work zones


·         Evaluate the qualitative and quantitative benefits of these practices, e.g., return on investment and improved safety, mobility, and user/worker awareness


·         Identify research needed for addressing gaps in implementing various CAV practices


·         Educate stakeholders on research findings through webinars and other materials


Accomplishment of the project objectives will require at least the following tasks.




Task descriptions are intended to provide a framework for conducting the research. The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objectives. 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 objectives.


Task 1.Review of literature and development of an engagement plan.

Task 1a. Review of literature and transportation agency organizational structures. Survey pertinent literature, determine the CAV structure of a select cross-section of transportation agencies, and identify appropriate CAV technical contacts therein.


Task 1b. Development of an engagement plan for CAV contacts. Finalize the tentative engagement plan from the project proposal to contact key personnel in transportation agencies and industry, such as traffic control vendors and CAV developers. Identify (1) deployed and planned CAV technologies within work zones and (2) technical needs and potential impacts of CAV technologies. The plan must be presented to NCHRP by video conferencing and approved before Task 2 work begins.


Task 2. Engagement of transportation agencies and industry. Implement plan developed in Task 1b. The product of Task 2 shall be a technical memorandum summarizing the findings of Task 1 and 2.


Task 3. Development of framework for evaluating benefits and challenges of deployed and planned CAV technologies. This framework shall include the criteria for evaluating these benefits and challenges—such as return on investment and improved safety, mobility, and user/worker awareness—qualitatively or quantitatively. The research team shall present the draft plan in person at an interim meeting, and this plan must be approved by NCHRP before Task 4 work begins.


Task 4. Evaluation of benefits/challenges and research topic identification.


Task 4a. Evaluation of benefits and challenges of deployed and planned CAV technologies. Evaluate the benefits and challenges of deployed and planned CAV technologies identified in Task 2.


Task 4b. Identification of research needs. Develop proposed research problem statements for future research to address gaps and challenges in preparing for CAVs in work zones.


The products of Task 4 shall be (1) a technical memorandum summarizing the benefit and challenge evaluations and (2) proposed research problem statements based thereon.


Task 5. Development and implementation of an educational plan for stakeholders. This plan shall be based on the results of Tasks 1 through 4. These materials could include, but should not be limited to, webinars, conference sessions, virtual roundtables, slide presentations, and technical briefs. Present materials and implementation plan to NCHRP by webinar. NCHRP approval of the materials must be obtained before the educational plan is implemented.


Task 6. Submit final report. A final report including the findings and deliverables from Tasks 1 through 5 shall be provided.


Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, the remaining three (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. 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. 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/Asm9ZYjwPsiC2qqadWca
 Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. EDT on 5/28/2020.

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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