The National Academies

NCHRP 20-123(14) [RFP]

Scoping Study for the Development of a Platform for State DOT and AASHTO Committee Surveys
[ NCHRP 20-123 (Support for AASHTO Committees and Councils) ]

Posted Date: 8/31/2021

  Project Data
Funds: $100,000
Contract Time: 18 months
(includes 3 months for NCHRP review and for contractor revision of the final report)
Authorization to Begin Work: 2/10/2022 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Sid Mohan
   Phone: 202/334-1249
   Email: smohan@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 11/11/2021
Fiscal Year: 2021

State departments of transportation (DOTs) and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) committees conduct periodic surveys to learn how different transportation agencies are approaching common needs, providing for technology transfer and improved state DOT and AASHTO committee operations. The survey results are generally compiled and distributed to state DOTs and AASHTO committees and members after the survey closes. However, with the exception of the surveys conducted by AASHTO’s Research Advisory Committee (RAC) (https://research.transportation.org/rac-surveys/), there is little to no coordinated effort to make the survey results available for long-term access to other state DOTs and AASHTO committees. Current survey distribution efforts in place include informal or simple email distribution, to more established systems such as the process within RAC. However, none of the current solutions match the needs of the community as a whole.
Lack of established procedures and long-term access to completed survey instruments and survey results lead to inefficiency and duplication of effort. Members of other state DOTs and AASHTO committees may decide to conduct surveys that duplicate previous efforts, increasing “survey fatigue” among DOT staff required to respond to multiple surveys. Other AASHTO committee members who could make use of the completed survey efforts to inform and improve their agency practices may not be aware of the previous efforts. Over time, as state DOT staff and committee members turn over, knowledge of the previous survey efforts and their results is lost, and the value gained from the effort to design, conduct, complete, analyze, and summarize survey results is wasted.
To maximize the efficiencies of current survey efforts, a need exists for a platform (or multiple platforms) to distribute, store, archive, and retrieve survey instruments and survey results conducted by state DOTs and AASHTO committees and make them easily accessible. The platforms will help avoid future survey duplication and increase awareness of available survey instruments and survey results to all state DOTs and AASHTO committees.
The objective of this research is to undertake a feasibility study to identify appropriate platforms to (1) distribute survey instruments from state DOTs and AASHTO committees; and (2) store, archive, and retrieve survey results. The study should provide recommendations on what platforms could be developed (or how to use existing platforms), the required stakeholder engagement, strategies to service the platforms, the cost of developing and maintaining (including staffing and technology needs) the platforms, and other mechanics around the operation of the platforms.
In meeting the above, the proposers should consider, at a minimum, the following: 
  1. The quantity and frequency of surveys being conducted by state DOTs and AASHTO committees.
  2. If and where existing survey instruments and survey results are stored, and how they are accessed by those interested in them.
  3. The sensitivity or confidentiality of survey results that may require access controls (e.g., restrict results to certain users only; post results in summary form only, etc.).

NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the project objective. Proposers are expected to describe project work plans that can realistically be accomplished with existing or emerging technologies. 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.
The project work plan must be divided into tasks to meet the research objective, as determined by the proposer, and each task must be described in detail. The final research report should include information on: 
  1. The most appropriate platforms to
    1. Distribute and track new surveys.
    2. Store, archive, and retrieve previously conducted surveys.
    3. Search for and retrieve survey instruments/questions, responses, databases, and other related outputs/outcomes generated by those surveys.
  2. The basic functionality of the platforms, with brief descriptions, including specific features as deemed important by the researchers and the project panel.
  3. The operational feasibility, including hosting/storage costs and location, and long-term sustainability of the platforms.
  4. How data contributions to the system will be validated for accuracy and ground-truthing.  
  5. How users/contributors will interact with potential platforms, including the level of effort required.
  6. The ownership of the potential platforms, including the responsibility of maintaining survey results.
  7. Required funding for the development, operation, and maintenance of the platforms and how that funding may be sourced.
  8. The estimated staffing levels and technical expertise required to develop and maintain the platforms.
  9. The benefits and costs of the platforms.
  10. How existing surveys and survey results could be migrated to the platforms.
  11. The security aspects of the platforms.
The use of the term “platform” in this RFP is not restricted to any particular surveying tool, such as Survey Gizmo, Survey Monkey etc. Our use of the term platform is intended to be taken in the broadest sense, and includes applications, systems, software etc.
All information and data generated during the project will be provided to NCHRP.
Prior to, and following the completion of each task, a web meeting will be hosted by NCHRP, during which the contractor will present the content to the project panel and NCHRP.
Following receipt of the draft final report, the remaining 45 days shall be for NCHRP review and comment and for contractor preparation of the final report.  
A. The Information and Instructions for Preparing 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.
B. 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" (https://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. NCHRP wishes to award the contract for NCHRP Project 20-123(14) for a fixed price of $100,000; this amount will not be subject to any adjustment by reason of the contractor’s cost experience in the performance of the contract. 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.
C. 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 11 of the proposal.
D. 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/Wy6mfsvIYx8HNVXVguF7
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 11/11/2021.

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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