The National Academies

NCHRP 23-09 [RFP]

Scoping Study to Develop the Basis for a Highway Standard to Conduct an All-Hazards Risk and Resilience Analysis

Posted Date: 3/5/2020

  Project Data
Funds: $250,000
Contract Time: 18 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: 9/1/2020 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: David M. Jared
   Phone: 202/334-2358
   Email: djared@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 5/21/2020
Fiscal Year: 2019

Risk-informed asset management and an understanding of system resilience are two relatively new concepts within the transportation industry. Transportation agencies often use all-hazards risk and resilience analyses to make decisions about enhancing system resilience. The Federal Emergency Management Administration defines "all-hazards" as “Natural, technological, or human-caused incidents that warrant action to protect life, property, environment, and public health or safety…” (https://training.fema.gov/programs/emischool/el361toolkit/glossary.htm). To conduct all-hazards risk and resiliency analyses for transportation assets, a transportation agency must:  
  • Know assets’ locations and their criticality for service delivery; 
  • Understand potential natural and man-made threats and associated likelihoods affecting assets;
  • Be able to quantify the potential consequences from applicable threats to assets while adequately addressing the considerable uncertainty in those consequences; and
  • Understand the link between risk and resilience.
In 2006, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers published Risk Analysis and Management for Critical Infrastructure Protection (RAMCAP), an all-hazards approach to critical infrastructure risk assessment. The initial document focused on terrorist activities but has since expanded into analysis of natural hazards such as extreme weather, seismic events, and changing environmental conditions, given the increased activity from such threats in recent years. RAMCAP identifies transportation as a critical sector, along with industries such as banking, oil/gas, electricity, water/wastewater, and nuclear energy. To date, several industries, including the water/wastewater sector, have developed an industry-specific standard for risk assessment. By demonstrating an active approach to risk assessment and management developed and approved by professionals within the water/wastewater sector, those agencies have seen improvements in bond ratings and reductions in insurance premiums. While RAMCAP provides a generic approach to critical infrastructure risk assessment, it does not provide specific information on asset performance under applicable threats for any one critical sector. 
Through pilot studies, state departments of transportation (DOTs) have applied RAMCAP and similar guidance to risk and resilience analysis in their states. FHWA’s Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Framework (FHWA-HEP-18-020), for example, is guidance based on significant pilot studies in a large number of states. Four key lessons from the state DOT pilot studies include:
1. Though some research studies have been published on transportation asset performance under physical threats, this information is scattered across many published articles dating back to the 1960s and has not been compiled in a user-friendly format.

2. State agencies see the need for a common language for risk and resilience practitioners to facilitate adoption and implementation of consistent and effective risk management and resilience practices.

3. A simple industry framework is needed to support compilation of information for risk-based analysis of transportation assets, to reduce the burden on state DOTs and metropolitan planning organizations by clarifying the bases for quantifying annual risk and ensuring system resilience:

  • Threat probabilities by type of hazard and by geographic location;
  • Asset vulnerability to each applicable threat, appropriately considering asset resilience; and
  • Quantitative anticipated consequences from each applicable threat to each asset, appropriately considering the significant uncertainties in those consequences.
4. Agencies prefer not to be constrained by proprietary solutions for all-hazards risk and resilience analyses but have the flexibility to implement open-source, repeatable methodologies. Inputs for these analyses should be derived from data readily available to agencies or other users.  
The AASHTO Committee on Transportation System Security and Resilience and the Subcommittees on Risk Management and Asset Management have, collectively, identified the need for a transportation-specific framework that responsible agencies can use in conducting their own all-hazards risk and resilience analyses to facilitate enterprise-wide transportation decision-making. Research is needed to develop this framework and provide guidance on its use.
The objective of this research is to provide a scoping study for a transportation framework for all-hazards risk and resilience analysis of transportation assets. The scoping study must accomplish the following objectives:
1. Develop a comprehensive and consistent set of risk- and resilience-related terminology for transportation agency use; and

2. Provide a research roadmap for developing a framework for a quantitative all-hazards risk and resilience analysis of transportation assets, with its associated tools, and guidance on its application.

Accomplishment of the project objective(s) will require at least the following four 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 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.
Task 1. Conduct preliminary work for roadmap development. Some preliminary work must be conducted before guidance on roadmap development can be sought (see Task 2) and the roadmap can be designed (see Task 3). This groundwork has two parts, which shall be done concurrently.
Task 1a. Develop a risk- and resilience-related glossary of terms. Transportation agencies may use this glossary as a common reference for future research on this topic. To develop the glossary, the terminology presented in NCHRP_Synthesis_527: Resilience in Transportation Planning, Engineering, Management, Policy, and Administration, should be reviewed, with the prospect of making the terminology more broadly actionable. At minimum, the following items should be considered for the glossary development: 
  • Nature and extent of risk faced by state DOTs, including ways of characterizing risk both qualitatively and quantitatively;
  • Terminology adopted by risk standards organizations;
  • Risk and resilience terminology already in use in the transportation industry; and
  • Terminology already adopted and standardized within technical disciplines that support the transportation industry.
Where it is not feasible to propose a single characterization or definition, the glossary will enable translation across disciplines, and it shall include a quick reference matrix or table to help users understand how terms are used in different contexts or guidance.
Task 1b. Conduct a state-of-practice review. This review will summarize current, leading practices, including but not limited to the following: 
  • Identifying critical transportation assets;
  • Estimating vulnerability to various threats or hazards;
  • Assessing consequences from damage and loss of functionality;
  • Developing recovery strategies to enable assessment of risk and system resilience, including RAMCAP and other relevant work; and
  • Incorporating cybersecurity and other emerging threats associated with evolution of transportation technology.
NCHRP must approve the glossary of terms (Task 1a) and state-of-practice review (Task 1b) products before work on Task 2 may begin.
Task 2. Engage the transportation industry for roadmap development guidance. To obtain broad industry input on roadmap development, the research team should explore, at a minimum, the following engagement options:
  • Relevant AASHTO and other industry meetings, including those of the Committee on Transportation System Security and Resilience (CTSSR) and the Subcommittees on Risk Management and Asset Management; and 
  • Conducting a webinar for AASHTO committee and subcommittee members and other interested parties presenting an executive-level summary and forum to discuss pertinent frameworks and how they relate to the proposed effort for transportation.
Task 2 shall include the following milestones: 
  • Submittal of a technical memorandum summarizing results from Tasks 1 and 2.
  • Presentation of the memorandum at an interim meeting with the project panel in Washington, D.C. The memorandum shall include multiple proposed approaches for designing the roadmap.
  • Approval of the memorandum by NCHRP before proceeding with Task 3.
 Task 3. Design research roadmap and develop research problem statements.
Task 3a. Design research roadmap to develop the quantitative all-hazards framework. The roadmap design should recognize that the framework would ultimately include associated tools and application guidance.  
  • Outline work groups composed of AASHTO committee members and possibly non-AASHTO experts who will guide and validate the roadmap; and
  • Conduct invitational, multi-day workshop for up to 20 key personnel to validate the roadmap, preferably in conjunction with another AASHTO meeting.
Task 3b. Develop associated problem statement(s) for research supporting the roadmap. The research problem statement(s) will focus on developing the framework and its associated tools and application guidance. NCHRP will provide a template for the problem statement(s).
The Task 3 products will include (1) a validated roadmap document that includes the findings of Tasks 1-2; and (2) research problem statements. NCHRP approval of both of these products is required before their use in Task 4.
Task 4. Final report preparation. The roadmap document developed and validated in Tasks 1-3 shall be combined with the research problem statement(s) developed in Task 3 to constitute the final project report.
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/CWy9u0QK90tU9XilKOaB
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. EDT on 5/21/2020.

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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