The National Academies

ACRP 04-27 [RFP]

Alternative Methods to Manage Tree Growth Near Airports

Posted Date: 1/5/2021

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Contract Time: 18 months
(includes 1 month for ACRP review and approval of the interim report and 3 months for ACRP review and for contractor revision of the draft final deliverables)
Authorization to Begin Work: 7/15/2021 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Theresia H. Schatz
   Phone: (202) 334-2981
   Email: tschatz@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 2/24/2021
Fiscal Year: 2021

Trees around airports may penetrate the airspace surfaces established to maintain safe aircraft operations. The traditional method for monitoring tree growth is through surveys, which are often expensive.  If a survey has not been conducted in recent years, potential obstructions from tree growth could go unidentified, and could potentially contribute to an accident and possible liability exposure that can lead to a reactive approach. The issue is often more pressing at small airports with resource limitations that impact the monitoring and control. Alternative practices and new technologies, such as the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), light detection and ranging (LiDAR) or photogrammetry may provide more cost-effective solutions for gathering data.  Once data is collected, there are strategies an airport can utilize that have varying costs and benefits. Other ACRP reports have studied airspace and obstruction issues, however, there is no in-depth discussion of tree management and analysis related to obstruction issues.
Understanding all methods that are available allows airports to effectively balance the safety of operations and community interests. Research is needed to identify new technologies and practices to determine their effectiveness for monitoring and managing tree growth.
The objectives of this research is to create a guidebook that (a) identifies and evaluates alternative methods for obstruction related data collection and analysis, and (b) includes  strategies that effectively monitor and manage tree growth in and around airports. The guidebook should be applicable to different types, locations, and sizes of airports. The methods and strategies identified should be evaluated based on effectiveness, accuracy, ease of use, cost, training/expertise requirements and other relevant factors. 
The guidebook should consider, at a minimum:  
  • Methods of reporting data, validation of data collected, and action taken with appropriate stakeholders; 
  • A benefit cost analysis for alternate methods of mitigation (e.g., installation of light fixtures above the trees);
  • Different types of new technologies used for identification of existing or anticipated tree encroachments into the protected surfaces, (e.g., UAS, LiDAR, geographic information systems (GIS) software);
  • Different strategies to categorize the data and implement mitigation plans or actions;
  • Challenges with community issues;
  • A brief overview of protected airspace; and
  • Identification of case studies evaluating alternative methods of surveys compared to traditional methods.

The ACRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objectives. Proposers are asked to develop and include a detailed research plan for accomplishing the project 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. The work proposed must be divided into tasks and proposers must describe the work proposed in each task in detail.

The research plan should include appropriate deliverables, for ACRP approval, that include at minimum:
1. Identification of alternative methods of data collection and analysis.
2. A summary of airport considerations and resources related to regional tree species, natural resources, and environmental data for plantings and eliminations.
3. Identification of factors related to the frequency of surveys, (e.g., tree species, growth rates, climactic conditions, airspace).      
4. A benefit cost analysis of interim evaluation methods compared to formal FAA aeronautical surveys.  
5. An interim report that describes work done in early tasks, including a description of their methodology used in their planned deliverable, an annotated outline, preliminary findings of the guidebook, and an updated work plan for remaining tasks. All of this should demonstrate to the panel the thought process behind how the final deliverables will address the components outlined in the objectives.
The research plan should include other appropriate checkpoints with the ACRP panel, including at a minimum (1) a kick-off teleconference meeting to be held within 1 month of the Notice to Proceed and (2) one face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting, as well as web-enabled teleconferences tied to the panel review and ACRP approval of other interim deliverables deemed appropriate.
The final deliverables will include:
1. A guidebook that meets the objectives and includes the previous deliverables as noted in the research plan; and  
2. (a) a Summary of Key Findings (see Special Note C); (b) a Further Recommended Research Memo (see Special Note D); and (c) a technical memo titled, “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (see Special Note E).
Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, there should be 3 months for ACRP review and comments and for contractor preparation of the final deliverables.  For budgeting purposes, proposers should assume that ACRP will provide access to web-enabled teleconference services. ACRP will pay panel members’ travel costs for any face-to-face meetings. Proposers should assume that meetings will be held in Washington, D.C. or via teleconference.
A. It is recommended that the team include an arborist, or a landscape architect, or a natural resource specialist or equivalent.
B. Several reports and reference materials have been issued and should be consulted when conducting this research, including, but not limited to:
  • ACRP Report 38: Understanding Airspace, Objects, and the Effects on Airports
  • ACRP Research Report 195: Best Practices for Airport Obstruction Management Guidebook
  • FAA Order 8260.19, Flight Procedures and Airspace  
  • FAA Engineering Briefing 91, Management of Vegetation in the Airport Environment

 Proposers should search TRB’s website (http://www.trb.org/Projects/Projects2.aspx) to identify any ACRP and other related research.

C. The Summary of Key Findings will be a stand-alone document. It should: (a) convey the most pertinent and applicable results of the project’s research; (b) be geared toward the airport industry practitioner while minimizing technical language; (c) present results using text and graphics as appropriate; and (d) encourage readers to explore the primary project deliverables. The Summary of Key Findings should be limited to no more than 4 pages.
D. The Further Recommended Research Memo will be a stand-alone document. It should: (a) identify logical follow-on research that would benefit the industry yet was beyond the original scope and budget of the project; (b) describe how the proposed follow-on research relates to ACRP’s research roadmaps, if applicable; and (c) for the highest priority research needs, include research ideas and/or problem statements to be added to ACRP’s IdeaHub, the program’s online repository of research needs.
E. The technical memorandum titled, “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” should provide: (a) recommended tactics to facilitate implementation; (b) possible institutions/partners and their potential implementation role; (c) potential impediments to successful implementation; (d) metrics to measure extent of product use and benefit; (e) related FAA guidance; and (f) appendices as needed. An annotated template for the memorandum is found here:
F. Airports have received many surveys in response to ACRP projects. In an effort to ensure an adequate response rate and collection of information, proposers may consider the use of focus groups, Internet/web-based technologies, social networking sites, and industry conferences or other techniques that may be appropriate. The use of the ACRP Survey Zone is strongly encouraged.
G. Proposals are evaluated by the ACRP 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 11 of the proposal.
H. 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.
I. The Information and Instructions for Preparing and Submitting Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs were modified in November 2020 to include maximum file size and page limits for all CRP proposals. Proposals must be submitted as a single PDF file with a maximum file size of 10 MB. The PDF must be formatted for standard 8 ½" X 11” paper, and the entire proposal must not exceed 60 pages (according to the page count displayed in the PDF). Proposals that do not meet these requirements will be rejected. For other requirements, refer to Chapter V of the instructions.
J. Item 4(c), "Anticipated Research Results," in each proposal must include an Implementation Plan that describes activities to promote application of the product of this research. It is expected that the implementation plan will evolve during the project; however, proposals must describe, as a minimum, 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, (d) the institutions and individuals who might take leadership in applying the research product, (e) the activities necessary for successful implementation, and (f) the criteria for judging the progress and consequences of implementation.
K. 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/jW2sNENQsTmJ94BaddAG  
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 2/24/2021.

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 fillable PDF version of the Liability Statement. A free copy of the Adobe Acrobat PDF reader is available at https://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". 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.

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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