The National Academies

NCHRP 08-151 [RFP]

Risk Management at State DOTs: Building Momentum and Sustaining the Practice

Posted Date: 12/16/2021

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Contract Time: 24 months
(includes 1 month for NCHRP review of an interim report and 3 months for NCHRP review and for contractor revision of the final deliverables)
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/2/2022 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Ann M. Hartell
   Phone: 202/334.2369
   Email: ahartell@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 2/3/2022
Fiscal Year: 2022

Formal risk management is the systematic effort to control uncertainty and variability to an organization’s objectives by addressing both threats and opportunities. When this process is proactively integrated into organizational decision-making, with risks clearly documented and considered, it leads to better management of resources and the creation of a culture of preparedness.
The advantages of formal risk management have led to widespread adoption of the practice in private sector organizations. Many federal agencies also have functional risk-management programs. Some state departments of transportation (DOTs) have effective formal risk-management programs in one or more areas of their business; a few have implemented risk management agencywide. Other state DOTs have piloted risk management but have yet to fully implement and sustain it. Many other agencies have not yet attempted formal risk management.
State DOTs face new and increasing uncertainties and disruptions that highlight the need for integrating formal risk management into transportation decision-making. For example, the disruption to transportation system operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting decreases in revenues for transportation point to a need for risk management to identify response strategies and manage risks to overall strategic objectives. Emerging technologies, economic uncertainty, a changing workforce, and the ongoing requirement to develop and maintain risk-based Transportation Asset Management Plans (TAMPs) also drive the relevance and requirement of adoption of formal risk management by state DOTs. In response, a number of risk-management tools and resources for state DOTs have been developed. However, these are not in common use and formal risk management has not been widely adopted. Additional resources are needed to support those working to overcome barriers and initiate, build momentum for, and/or sustain formal risk-management practices.
The objective of this research is to develop content on how to implement and sustain the use of formal risk management at state DOTs. The content will be suitable for the AASHTO Transportation Management Hub (found at https://www.transportationmanagement.us) and will include but not be limited to the following topics:
  • Value proposition: how to establish and communicate the value of risk management for decision-making across state DOTs;
  • Organizational change: how to initiate organizational changes at all levels that enable and strengthen the use of formal risk management;
  • Promotion: guidelines and examples on how leadership, mid-management, and others can champion risk management within the organization;
  • Mindset and culture: how to develop and sustain a risk-management mindset and agency culture that integrates risk management across programs and into key decision-making processes; and
  • Other topics relevant for implementation as identified though the research.
The content will be based on an in-depth review and evaluation of experience at state DOTs and other public and private sector organizations, with a particular focus on organizational traits and change management strategies needed to overcome barriers to implementing and sustaining  formal risk management.
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 sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective. The NCHRP anticipates the successful team will include expertise in management studies, organizational psychology, or related fields in addition to expertise in the administration of state DOTs.
The research plan should build in appropriate checkpoints with the NCHRP project panel including, at a minimum, (1) a kick-off teleconference meeting to be held within 1 month of the contract’s execution date and (2) at least one face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting as well as web-enabled teleconferences tied to panel review and/or NCHRP approval of interim deliverables. Costs for the face-to-face meeting venue and travel costs for NCHRP panel members to attend the meeting will be paid separately by NCHRP.
The final deliverables will include but not be limited to:   
  • Digital content for the AASHTO Transportation Management Hub on implementing and sustaining formal risk management at a state DOT (see Special Note A). The content will include information appropriate for use by agency leadership (‘top down’ adoption) and by managers in specific functional areas seeking to expand the use of risk management to additional parts of the organization (‘bottom up’ adoption). The content will address but not be limited to the following topics:
    • The value of risk management in transportation decision-making and how that value can be communicated
    • Relevant concepts of change management
    • Commonly encountered barriers to adopting and sustaining formal risk management
    • Strategies to overcome barriers to adoption and sustain ongoing implementation of formal risk management
    • Ways to foster an organizational culture that supports the use of formal risk management
    • Examples of best practices deployed by state DOTs in implementing and sustaining successful risk management programs
    • Insights drawn from the public and private sectors
  • Communications pieces focused on key topics of risk management, organizational change, and implementation designed for outreach within a state DOT and to external partners. Each communication piece will be tailored for a specific target audience (e.g., state DOT executive leadership, division manager, frontline staff). Communications pieces will be in formats that are readily downloaded and customized. 
  • A research report documenting the entire research effort and key findings; a version of the digital content will be included as one or more appendices to the report.  
  • At least two items to disseminate the research results to target audiences. Example items include:
    • A draft article suitable for publication in the TPM newsletter or TR News (information regarding TR News publication may be found on the TRB webpage http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/trnews/info4contributors.pdf).
    • A brief recorded video presentation introducing the digital content
    • A presentation to the AASHTO Committee for Performance-Based Management or other relevant audience
Note: No commitment to publish an article is implied. Proposers are expected to specify and describe the dissemination items proposed.
Following receipt of the draft versions of all final deliverables, the remaining 3 months shall be for NCHRP review and comment and for research agency preparation of the final deliverables.
A. The AASHTO Transportation Management Hub is maintained by a vendor under contract with AASHTO and the contractor shall prepare and format for publication with AASHTO’s vendor in a manner suitable for web publishing. In order to facilitate timely publication, ensure interoperability with existing resources, and deliver a consistent user experience, the content should be developed using AASHTO Transportation Management Hub’s existing technical infrastructure. This should at least include:
  • Content management system. WordPress content management system (CMS).
  • Development framework. HTML, CSS, Javascript, and PHP programming.
  • Presentation styles. The research team should apply the visual styles defined by the portal’s existing CSS style sheets, modifying these only as needed to accommodate additional content.
B. 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.
C. 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. 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.
D. 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 https://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/docs/NCHRP_ActiveImplementation.pdf.
E. 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.
F. 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/RTLDb7HGvQUpoS8awfCf
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 2/3/2022.

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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