The National Academies

NCHRP 20-102(33) [Pending]

A Guide to Enhancing the Safety of Vulnerable Road Users in a CAV Future
[ NCHRP 20-102 (Impacts of Connected Vehicles and Automated Vehicles on State and Local Transportation Agencies--Task-Order Support) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $150,000
Contract Time: 18 months
Staff Responsibility: Mike Brooks


Every year more than one-third of the estimated 35,000 to 40,000 traffic fatalities occur “outside the vehicle,” which includes pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and micromobility users. A compelling argument for a connected or autonomous vehicle (CAV) future is the promise of a reduction of these “outside the vehicle” fatalities and injuries. However, as exemplified by a 2018 fatal pedestrian crash involving a self-driving sports utility vehicle, self-driving cars are currently not infallible; CAVs can misidentify or entirely miss humans or objects on roads and make wrong decisions on whether to stop or keep driving in response. Research is needed to assist state departments of transportation (DOTs) and local agencies in enhancing the safety of vulnerable road users (VRUs) sharing the road with CAVs by implementing existing and near-term on-vehicle and on-street technologies. 


 The objective of this research is to develop a guide to assist state DOTs and local agencies with the implementation of existing and near-term on-vehicle and on-street technologies designed to enhance the safety of VRUs sharing the road with CAVs. Technologies may include, but not be limited to:

  •  Detection technologies (e.g., LIDAR and machine vision);
  • Communication methods (e.g., methods that enhance awareness of and provide information to VRUs; methods that replicate current human-to-human communication on the road; auditory or visual cues originating from the vehicle; etc.);
  • Education aimed at VRUs to help them understand and more safely interact with CAVs; and
  • Infrastructure technologies (e.g., enhanced traffic signal or other roadside device technologies).


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 enough detail to demonstrate their understanding of the problem and the soundness of their approach to accomplishing the project objective.

Accomplishment of the project objective will require the following tasks.

 PHASE I—Planning

Task 1. Conduct a literature review of existing and near-term technologies to enhance the safety of VRUs sharing the road with CAVs.

Task 2. Develop and implement a plan to engage with a representative sample of key stakeholders (e.g., infrastructure owner-operators, researchers, associations, CAV industry stakeholders, etc.) to obtain focused perspectives and insights into existing and near-term technologies designed to enhance the safety of VRUs sharing the road with CAVs.

Note: The proposal shall describe a detailed approach to identifying and engaging stakeholders, including the expected number of stakeholders by category type.

Task 3. Synthesize results of the literature review and stakeholder engagements. Summarize identified existing and near-term, state-of-the-art methods and technologies being deployed and/or developed to address VRU safety, with an emphasis on factors within the control of a DOT. 

Task 4. Propose a methodology to achieve the research objective, to be fully developed in Phase II. At a minimum, the methodology shall address how to analyze the identified technologies to determine the following:

1.     Feasibility;

2.     Likely effectiveness in prevention of VRU injury and death;

3.     Barriers to implementing technology, including institutional, societal, environmental, and technical barriers;

4.     Infrastructure design, construction, operation, and maintenance considerations;

5.     Implications of the lifecycle and rate of technology maturation on implementation, including compatibility with other technologies and infrastructure;

6.     Policy, regulatory, or legislative requirements for implementing a technology; and

7.     Suggested methods for conducting a cost-benefit estimate for implementing a technology.

Task 5. Prepare a detailed outline of the proposed guide.

Task 6. Prepare Interim Report No. 1 that documents Tasks 1 through 5 and provides an updated and refined work plan for the remainder of the research no later than 6 months after the contract award. The updated plan must describe the process and rationale for the work proposed for Phase II.

Note: Following a 1-month review of Interim Report No. 1 by the NCHRP, the research team will meet with the project panel to discuss the interim report. Work on Phase II of the project will not begin until authorized by the NCHRP. Phase I shall be limited to $50,000.

PHASE II—Final Products

Task 7. Execute Task 4 according to the approved Interim Report No.1.

Task 8.  Develop the draft guide according to the approved Task 5. The draft guide is due no later than 6 months after the approval of Phase I. Revise the draft guide based on NCHRP comments and submit no later than 8 months after approval of Phase II.

Task 9. Prepare final deliverables including (1) conduct of research that documents the entire research effort and any lessons learned, (2) the guide, (3) a PowerPoint presentation including speaker notes covering efforts conducted under this project suitable for conference presentation and posting on the project website, and (4) a technical memorandum “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (see Special Note I).


A. The Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs were revised in May 2022. Please take note of the new and revised text which is highlighted in yellow.

B. 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.

C. The Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs have been modified to include a revised policy and instructions for disclosing Investigator Conflict of Interest. For more information, refer to chapter IV of the instructions. A detailed definition and examples can be found in the CRP Conflict of Interest Policy for Contractors. The proposer recommended by the project panel will be required to submit an Investigator Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Form as a prerequisite for contract negotiations.

D. Proposals will be rejected if any of the proposed research team members work for organizations represented on the project panel. The panel roster for this project can be found at https://www.mytrb.org/OnlineDirectory/Committee/Details/6536. Proposers may not contact panel members directly; this roster is provided solely for the purpose of avoiding potential conflicts of interest.

E. Proprietary Products - If any proprietary products are to be used or tested in the project, please refer to Item 6 in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals.

F. Proposals are evaluated by the NCHRP staff and project panels consisting of individuals collectively knowledgeable in the problem area. The project panel will recommend their first choice proposal 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. A recommendation by the project panel is not a guarantee of a contract. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS - the contracting authority for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine) will conduct an internal due diligence review and risk assessment of the panel’s recommended proposal before contract negotiations continue.

 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.

G. 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 Academy of Sciences. 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 Academy of Sciences. 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.

H. Proposals should include a task-by-task breakdown of labor hours for each staff member as shown in Figure 4 in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals. 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 required technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” should (a) provide recommendations on how to best put the research findings/products into practice; (b) identify possible institutions that might take leadership in applying the research findings/products; (c) identify issues affecting potential implementation of the findings/products and recommend possible actions to address these issues; and (d) recommend methods of identifying and measuring the impacts associated with implementation of the findings/products. Implementation of these recommendations is not part of the research project and, if warranted, details of these actions will be developed and implemented in future efforts.

 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

J. If the team proposes a Principal Investigator who is not an employee of the Prime Contractor, or if the Prime Contractor is proposed to conduct less than 50% of the total effort (by time or budget), then section five of the proposal should include: (1) a justification of why this approach is appropriate, and (2) a description of how the Prime Contractor will ensure adequate communication and coordination with their Subcontractors throughout the project.

K. All budget information should be suitable for printing on 8½″ x 11″ paper. If a budget page cannot fit on a single 8½″ x 11″ page, it should be split over multiple pages. Proposers must use the Excel templates provided in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs.

To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=5050