The National Academies

NCHRP 23-13(04) [Pending]

Scoping Supply Chain Challenges and Solutions amid COVID-19
[ NCHRP 23-13 (Transportation Research Related to COVID-19) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $150,000
Contract Time: 12 months
Staff Responsibility: Camille Crichton-Sumners


The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in increased demands for and shortages of key goods such as medical equipment (e.g., personal protective equipment and ventilators), paper products, cleaning products, manufacturing supplies (e.g., semiconductor chips, steel, and lumber), and some food products. Understanding the dependence on supplies that are sourced internationally, such as critical medical supplies, has become important. Research is needed to provide an understanding of the supply chain interruptions, adaptations, successes, and failures during the COVID-19 pandemic to learn what actions may be taken by state transportation agencies and other public agencies to mitigate those impacts during a future pandemic or significant disruptive event.


The objectives of this research are to: (1) develop guidance for state and local government agencies to plan for future supply chain disruption, and (2) create a toolkit to help practitioners identify effective practices associated with overcoming supply chain challenges and leveraging opportunities.  

At a minimum, the research shall: (1) document supply chain challenges, opportunities, effective practices, and lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic; and (2) document initiatives underway in public and private industry that provide solutions to address critical supply chain challenges at a state and local level.


The research plan should: (1) include a kick-off teleconference with the research team and NCHRP convened within 1 month of the contract’s execution; (2) address the manner in which the proposer intends to satisfy the project objectives; (3) be divided logically into detailed tasks that are necessary to fulfill the research objectives and include appropriate milestones and interim deliverables; (4) include one face-to-face meeting to review an Interim Report, and a web-conference meeting (NCHRP will provide teleconference services); and (5) incorporate opportunities for the project panel to review, comment, and approve milestone deliverables.  

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



Task 1.  Conduct a literature review related to COVID-19 pandemic supply chain challenges. 

Task 2.  Identify key issues and effective practices related to mitigating supply chain disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Summarize the state of practice and challenges encountered by state and local agencies.

Consideration should be given to, but not limited, to the following factors and concepts:

  • Available resources and funding sources;
  • Economic development opportunities;
  • Approaches to attract and retain workforce in the fields of transportation logistics, distribution, and manufacturing;
  • Effective practices for coordination, collaboration, and communication among public and private entities;
  • Issues related to multiple freight modes;
  • Critical data and information needed for analysis and decision making;
  • Challenges and opportunities related to emerging technologies, informational technology (IT), operational technology (OT), system interoperability, and cyber risk; and
  • The importance of sub-industries (e.g., food supply chains vary for restaurants, grocery stores, food recipient programs, and food banks).

Task 3. Prepare an annotated outline of the proposed guidance and tool kit to be developed in Phase II.  

Task 4. Prepare a technical report that documents the work completed in Tasks 1 through 3. Include a detailed work plan for Phase II.



Task 5.  Provide a minimum of five case studies that showcase successful practices in mitigating supply chain challenges. 

Task 6.  Develop the proposed guidance and toolkit according to the approved work plan. The deliverables should be suitable for a diverse set of stakeholders that enable them to identify effective practices associated with supply chain challenges and opportunities.

Task 7. Develop a final research report that at a minimum includes (1) an assessment of the current state of practice; and (2) guidance for state and local governments to plan for future supply chain disruption.

Final deliverables at a minimum shall include (1) a final report documenting the entire research effort; (2) a tool kit with effective practices and resources for supply chain issues; (3) a PowerPoint presentation describing the background, objectives, research approach, findings, and conclusions; (4) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products”; (5) a presentation of findings to two AASHTO committees or councils concerned with transportation resilience; and (6) a draft article suitable for publication in TR News (information regarding TR News publication may be found on the TRB webpage http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/trnews/info4contributors.pdf). 

Proposers may recommend additional deliverables to support the project objective.


STATUS: Proposals have been received in response to the RFP.  The project panel will meet to select a contractor to perform the work.


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