State departments of transportation (DOTs) have been effective in developing transportation procurement documents for highway construction. However, the procurement of new business operation technologies is less advanced. State DOTs are investing in enterprise network solutions to support agency operations (e.g., communications, asset management, and human resources management), while also seeking to leverage cutting-edge technologies to manage the transportation network. This may include artificial intelligence (AI)-based predictive analytics solutions and cloud-based big data analytics solutions. The diversity of procurements that agencies adopt and maintain and the expectations of its customers are changing. As complexity grows, state DOTs continue to use traditional procurement methods, which may entail making individual purchases without a long-term, big-picture view of the implications and objectives. This often leads to a number of procurement challenges for state DOTs, particularly when it comes to the provision of technological products and services.
The objectives of this research are to develop a guide that will enable state DOTs to identify (1) successful procurement practices used when procuring new transportation systems technologies that meet industry standards; (2) procurement processes flexible enough to be adapted as technology changes; and (3) a sustainable means for practitioners within state DOT Information Technology and Procurement offices to implement and evaluate procurement processes.
Accomplishment of the project objective(s) will require at least the following tasks.
The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how 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.
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 how the proposer intends to satisfy the project objectives; (3) be divided logically into detailed tasks necessary to fulfill the research objectives and include appropriate milestones and interim deliverables; and (4) incorporate opportunities for the project panel to review, comment on, and approve milestone deliverables.
At a minimum, the research plan should incorporate the following activities.
1. Conduct a literature review related to the procurement of advanced technologies.
2. Summarize the state of practice of the procurement of advanced technologies including successful models and challenges encountered by state transportation agencies while procuring new technology.
Consideration should be given, but not limited to, the following questions or concepts.
- The relationship between the system owner, system custodian, and procurement office as it relates to purchasing new technologies.
- System sustainability (e.g., upkeep of supported devices, modernization, upgrades, operation, or integration of systems for operational technology and information technology assets).
- The distinction between traditional construction procurement and procurement of new technology.
- Options for a procurement process for the purchase of new technology.
- Examples of requirements (federal guidelines and state legislation) that complement flexible procurement processes.
- Pricing models that are reasonable to both vendor and agency.
- Collaboration with industry stakeholders to identify emerging technology prior to initiating the procurement process. This may include long-term partnerships.
3. Prepare a practitioner’s guide that includes strategies for the procurement of new technologies. The guide should include a broad range of transportation technology assets, suitable for state transportation agencies, and include approaches that are flexible to aid in integration and sustained operability and functionality of the new technologies.
4. Prepare final deliverables.
Final deliverables should include, at a minimum (1) a Conduct of Research Report documenting the entire research effort; (2) a practitioner’s guide; (3) prioritized recommendations for future research; (4) a PowerPoint-style presentation describing the background, objectives, research approach, findings, and conclusions with speaker notes; (5) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products”; (6) a presentation of findings to two AASHTO committees or councils concerned with the procurement of new technologies; and (7) a draft article suitable for publication in TR News (information regarding TR News publication may be found on the TRB webpage https://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/trnews/info4contributors.pdf ).
Proposers may recommend additional deliverables to support the project objectives.
STATUS: Proposal(s) have been received. The project panel will meet to select a contractor to perform the work.