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The National Academies

NCHRP 03-144 [RFP]

Leveraging Existing Traffic Signal Assets to Obtain Quality Traffic Counts and Enhance Transportation Monitoring Programs

Posted Date: 11/5/2021

  Project Data
Funds: $450,000
Contract Time: 30 months
(includes 1 month for NCHRP review of the Phase II work plan, 1 month for NCHRP review of the Phase II interim report, and 3 months for NCHRP review and for contractor revision of the final deliverables)
Authorization to Begin Work: 4/1/2022 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Edward T. Harrigan
   Phone: 540-454-2149
   Email: eharriga@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 12/29/2021
Fiscal Year: 2022

BACKGROUND

State departments of transportation (DOTs), metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), counties, and other local agencies manage extensive traffic counting programs and have a need to ensure that traffic count data covers a variety of modes of travel, e.g., cycling and walking. These counts support decision-making with the aim of enhancing safety and mobility for the traveling public. There are thousands of existing traffic detection assets throughout the nation that serve traffic management operations. Moreover, other customers of traffic count data such as traffic engineers, traffic monitoring staff, transportation and active transportation planners, and data scientists, as well as non-transportation stakeholders (e.g., those responsible for realty, billboards, economic development, etc.), need to combine traffic count data sets in new ways to support various business processes.

As sensor detection technologies mature in assisting traffic operations and intelligent traffic system (ITS) programs, the providers of traffic count programs recognize the potential benefits of using existing infrastructure and data to supplement their counts. However, the diverse efforts underway are generally not summarized, publicized, or leveraged. Key issues associated with using the data from traffic signal equipment for traditional traffic volume measurement include (a) inconsistency in data quality and format that varies across vendors and technologies; (b) inconsistency in availability of sensors at all intersections as well as approaches to individual intersections; and (c) variable configuration of sensor equipment causing possible gaps in data availability, quality, and storage even though the equipment itself may be capable of counting vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians.

Research is needed to examine whether the data provided by traffic signal assets can provide accurate traffic counts.

OBJECTIVES

The objectives of this research are to (a) determine the feasibility of using existing or enhanced traffic equipment to collect, store, and disseminate data for purposes other than traffic operations, particularly for traffic monitoring programs; (b) determine the suitability of traffic count data from already installed and existing traffic assets for this purpose; and (c) develop effective practices for obtaining and integrating traffic counts from existing traffic assets.

The research will evaluate types of currently installed traffic monitoring assets and assess the suitability of traffic count data for non-operational traffic data usage. In this research, (a) the term "suitability" includes the quality, applicability, and type of the data obtained from the traffic equipment; (b) the term "traffic" includes motorized vehicles, micro-mobility devices, and non-motorized modes including bicycles, pedestrians, etc.; and (c) the term "traffic assets" includes, but is not limited to, signalized intersections, crosswalk signals, video, loops, magnetometers, radar, and traffic detection cameras.

RESEARCH PLAN

Proposers are asked to provide a detailed research plan for accomplishing the project objectives and producing the deliverables required by each phase of the project. 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 for each phase must be divided into tasks and proposers must describe the work proposed in each task in detail.

Deliverables shall include, at a minimum:

Phase I

1.   A Phase I work plan to determine (a) if existing traffic equipment can be used to collect, store, and disseminate data for purposes other than traffic operations and (b) if traffic count data from already installed and existing traffic assets are suitable as source data for calculating valid annual average daily traffic (AADT). The work plan shall address at least the following issues:

a.     Identification of the types of currently installed traffic assets for evaluation and validation.

b.     Obtaining the active support and the participation of agencies that represent the types of currently installed traffic assets.

c.    The quality and completeness of traffic count data obtained from existing traffic signal assets, to include field validation of the traffic count data obtained from the traffic assets.

d.    The appropriate uses of traffic count data obtained from existing traffic signal assets.

e.    The aspect of traffic signal data that is limited to operational usage only.

f.     Obtaining accurate (±10%) traffic count data from existing traffic signal assets.

g.    The methods of data handling, storage, and quality assurance and quality checking (QA/QC) that need to be implemented to obtain and utilize traffic counts from existing traffic signal assets.

h.    The challenges that exist in obtaining traffic count data from existing traffic signal assets.

i.      The incremental costs for obtaining traffic count data from existing traffic signal assets.

j.     Development of a matrix (or matrices) presenting, at a minimum: types of traffic assets; data outputs; pros and cons of each type to meet the project objectives; limitations; cost; data storage requirements; accuracy; modes detected; classification; availability of real-time data; data collection frequency; remote data access; data format; individual or binned traffic data.

Note: The contractor will meet with NCHRP within 2 months of submission of the work plan. NCHRP approval of the work plan is required before executing the work plan.

Possible tasks to produce the Phase I deliverables could include:

Task 1. Identify and summarize existing and in-development methods for obtaining traffic counts from existing traffic signal assets including, but not limited to, signalized intersections, crosswalk signals, video, loops, magnetometers, radar, and traffic detection cameras.

Task 2. Prepare a Phase II work plan.

Task 3. Submit the proposed work plan prepared in Task 2.

Phase II

2.  An interim report presenting analyses of the results of the NCHRP-approved Phase II work plan. Determine (a) if existing traffic assets can be used to collect, store, and disseminate data for purposes other than traffic operations and (b) if traffic count data from already installed and existing traffic assets are suitable as source data for calculating valid AADTs. The report shall document the following: (a) the results of the validation of traffic count data obtained from the agreed upon traffic assets; (b) the method of obtaining traffic counts; and (c) if valid traffic count data cannot be obtained, the reasons why, and a plan to overcome the obstacles.

Note: The contractor will meet with NCHRP within 2 months of submission of the interim report. NCHRP approval of the interim report is required before commencing development of the user's guide.

3.   A user’s guide for obtaining traffic counts from existing traffic assets. In the guide: (a) include the matrix (or matrices) described in the work plan; (b) identify effective practices that can be adopted by the traffic monitoring community and the signal operations community; (c) identify challenges associated with leveraging the data from these assets; and (d) propose improvements or solutions to these challenges including, but not limited to, standards, pooled fund studies, or additional research needs.

4.   A final report that documents results, summarizes findings, draws conclusions, and presents:

a.     A summary of existing and in-development methods for obtaining traffic counts from existing traffic signal assets including, but not limited to, signalized intersections, crosswalk signals, video, loops, magnetometers, radar, and traffic detection cameras.

b.     Results of a survey of city, county, state, federal, and private entity partners to determine what agencies are currently collecting traffic count data from existing traffic signal assets and the methods used.

c.     Results of the validation of traffic count data obtained from the agreed upon traffic assets.

d.     An appendix that includes electronic files of all data used in the project and the results of the analyses conducted with the data.

5.   An implementation plan for the user’s guide and other deliverables.

Possible tasks to produce the Phase II deliverables could include:

Task 4. Survey city, county, state, federal, and private entity partners to (a) determine what agencies are currently collecting traffic count data from existing traffic signal assets and (b) obtain their active support and the participation of agencies with agreed upon types of currently installed traffic assets.

Task 5. Execute the Task 2 work plan as approved by NCHRP and analyze the results.

Task 6. If the results of Task 5 are positive, prepare a user’s guide for obtaining traffic counts from existing traffic assets.

Task 7. Submit a final report that documents results, summarizes findings, draws conclusions, and presents the user’s guide. An appendix to the report shall include electronic files of all data used in the project and the results of the analyses conducted with the data.

Task 8. Develop an implementation plan.

SPECIAL NOTES

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 40 pages (according to the page count displayed in the PDF). The Research Plan, Item 4 of the proposal, shall not exceed 20 single-spaced pages, in 12-point font or larger. Proposals that do not meet these requirements will be rejected. For other requirements, refer to chapter V of the instructions. The requirement is waived to begin items 5 through 9 of the proposal on new pages. The proposal should be free of grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors, as NCHRP considers that the editorial quality of the proposal will reflect that of future project reports.

B. For budgeting purposes, proposers should plan for 2 in-person meeting with NCHRP in Washington, DC.

C. NCHRP wishes to award the contract for NCHRP Project 03-144 for a fixed price of $450,000; this amount will not be subject to any adjustment by reason of the contractor’s cost experience in the performance of the contract. In addition to providing a detailed budget, the proposer should provide a proposed schedule of project milestones, deliverables and progress payments that is tied to the detailed budget and schedule.

D. 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.

E. The NCHRP is a practical, applied research program that produces implementable products addressing problems faced by transportation practitioners and managers. The benefits of NCHRP research are realized only when the results are implemented in state DOTs and other agencies. Implementation of the research product must be considered throughout the process, from problem statement development to research contract and beyond completion of the research. Item 4(c), "Anticipated Research Results," must include 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, and (d) the institutions and individuals who might take leadership in deploying the research product. The project panel will develop and maintain an implementation plan throughout the life of the project. 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.

F. Proposals are evaluated by the NCHRP staff and project panels consisting of individuals collectively 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.

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 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.

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

Proposals should be uploaded via this link: https://www.dropbox.com/request/otRHpNJ64x8XxLviCWxe
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 12/29/2021.

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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