The National Academies

ACRP 02-99 [RFP]

Incorporating Environmental Justice and Equity Principles and Data into Airport Decision-Making

Posted Date: 11/29/2021

  Project Data
Funds: $400,000
Contract Time: 18 months
(includes 1 month for ACRP review and approval of the interim report and 3 months for ACRP review and for contractor revision of the final report)
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/5/2022 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Joseph D. Navarrete
   Phone: 202/334-1649
   Email: jnavarrete@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 1/18/2022
Fiscal Year: 2022

Environmental justice has historically focused on ensuring that vulnerable populations do not bear a disproportionate burden of the negative environmental impacts of policies, programs, and projects and that these communities are meaningfully included in planning and public outreach.  There is increased emphasis on ensuring that airport activities and investments lead to a more sustainable and just economy that addresses historical racial injustices and enhances the quality of life for vulnerable populations. Yet airports do not have an established framework for incorporating environmental justice and equity into airport decision-making. These decisions often require the use of robust datasets that are frequently large and may come from disparate sources, and the thoughtful interpretation of the data through the lens of environmental justice may be difficult for airports.
Research is needed to develop resources to educate and support airport practitioners in integrating environmental justice and equity into decision-making. This includes, but is not limited to, the collection, sharing, interpretation, and incorporation of equity and environmental justice data in a manner that enhances how development and operational decisions can positively affect the economic and social well-being of neighboring communities.
The objective of this research is to prepare resources to educate and support airport practitioners in integrating environmental justice and equity into decision-making. The resources should include, at a minimum:
  • Primer providing the historical context of systemic racism in the transportation sector with specific focus on unique aspects relative to airports (e.g., siting, operations, organizational staffing, planning, balancing benefits and burdens, access) and present-day implications;
  • Toolkit consisting of guidance and techniques to:
    • Enable airports to assess:
      • The degree to which their organization’s decision-making includes input from vulnerable populations,
      • How their decision-making has affected equity and environmental justice outcomes, and how it might affect them in the future, and
      • Their cultural competency and institutional capacity to address these issues and drive improved outcomes;
    • Identify and connect public and private stakeholders based on their needs, priorities, missions, responsibilities, and resources;
    • Solicit input from vulnerable populations throughout the decision-making process;
    • Identify data needs, sources (including proxies), and gaps;
    • Assess the relevancy and value of existing and emerging demographic and socioeconomic data;
    • Collect quantitative and qualitative data needed for decision-making;
    • Select and use the appropriate environmental justice tools (e.g., screening tools, mapping tools, and other analytical tools) for decision-making;
    • Mitigate cumulative adverse environmental justice and equity impacts in the decision-making;
    • Incorporate equity and environmental justice considerations into airport plans and actions in a holistic manner;
    • Communicate results to non-technical audiences; and
    • Assess and monitor outcomes;
  • Case study examples demonstrating successful incorporation of equity and environmental justice into decision-making, or lessons learned (see Special Note B);
  • List of resources; and
  • Glossary of equity and environmental justice terms.
The guidance and techniques should be consistent with FAA regulations, scalable and adaptable to the unique conditions of the airport, including airport type, size, governance, and resource availability.
The ACRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are asked to provide a detailed research plan for accomplishing the project 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 work proposed must be divided into tasks and proposers must describe the work proposed in each task in detail.
The research plan should include, at a minimum, the following interim deliverables:
  • Literature review, primer outline, and initial list of resources;
  • Draft primer;
  • Interim report documenting the research effort and results of the project to date, including the recommended case study candidates (including number and rationale), listing and description of proposed tools, and recommended next steps.
The research plan should include, at a minimum, the following checkpoints with the ACRP project panel: (1) kickoff web meeting to be held within 1 month of contract execution; (2) web meeting to discuss literature review, primer outline, and initial list of resources; (3) web meeting to review the draft primer; and (4) interim meeting to review the results of the interim report and confirm remaining research approach.
The final deliverables will include: 
  • Primer;
  • Toolkit;
  • Final report documenting all research steps and results;
  • Summary of Key Findings (see Special Note H);
  • Further Recommended Research Memo (see Special Note I); and
  • Technical memo titled, “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (see Special Note J).
Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, there should be 3 months for ACRP review and comments and for contractor preparation of the final deliverables. For budgeting purposes, proposers should assume that ACRP will provide access to web-enabled teleconference services. ACRP will pay panel members’ travel costs for the face-to-face interim meeting. Proposers should assume that the meeting will be held in Washington, DC.
A. For the purposes of this RFP, vulnerable populations should include those that have been historically marginalized, under-resourced, overburdened by pollution, and underserved, as well as having limited decision-making capacity and access to decision-makers.
B. Case studies may include non-U.S. airports and non-airport subjects (e.g., community benefits agreements).
C. Proposers should consider the results of ACRP Research Report 221: Measuring Quality of Life in Communities Surrounding Airports (https://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/181139.aspx); The Racial Equity Addendum to the TRB Critical Issues in Transportation document (https://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/182385.aspx); and U.S. EPA Promising Practices for Environmental Justice Methodologies in NEPA Reviews (https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/ej-iwg-promising-practices-ej-methodologies-nepa-reviews).
D. 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.
E. The proposer’s approach to inclusion and diversity as well as participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises should be incorporated in Item 11, Diversity and Inclusion Plan, of the proposal.  To facilitate the development of diverse and inclusive teams, ACRP provides a Project Teaming Opportunities Campaign on its IdeaHub platform:  https://ideahub.trb.org/a/campaign-home/30088  (registration required).  It can be used to find potential team members that include the needed areas of expertise and perspectives relevant to airports and the topic of interest, as well as to reflect the diversity of the airport community. 
Item 11 of the proposal should document how any team member engaged with the ACRP Project Teaming Opportunities Campaign, including visiting and posting in the Campaign.  Proposers should also list contacts made with posters and list team members who were identified as a result of using the Campaign.
F. Proposals are evaluated by the ACRP 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.
G. 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.
H. The Summary of Key Findings will be a stand-alone document. It should: (a) convey the most pertinent and applicable results of the project’s research; (b) be geared toward the airport industry practitioner while minimizing technical language; (c) present results using text and graphics as appropriate; and (d) encourage readers to explore the primary project deliverables. The Summary of Key Findings should be limited to no more than 4 pages.
I. The Further Recommended Research Memo will be a stand-alone document. It should: (a) identify logical follow-on research that would benefit the industry yet was beyond the original scope and budget of the project; (b) describe how the proposed follow-on research relates to ACRP’s research roadmaps, if applicable; and (c) for the highest priority research needs, include research ideas and/or problem statements to be added to ACRP’s IdeaHub, the program’s online repository of research needs.
J. The technical memorandum titled, “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” should provide: (a) recommended tactics to facilitate implementation; (b) possible institutions/partners and their potential implementation role; (c) potential impediments to successful implementation; (d) metrics to measure extent of product use and benefit; (e) related FAA guidance; and (f) appendices as needed. An annotated template for the memorandum is found here:
K. Item 4(c), "Anticipated Research Results," in each proposal must include an Implementation Plan that describes activities to promote application of the product of this research. It is expected that the implementation plan will evolve during the project; however, proposals must describe, as a minimum, 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, (d) the institutions and individuals who might take leadership in applying the research product, (e) the activities necessary for successful implementation, and (f) the criteria for judging the progress and consequences of implementation.
L. 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.
M. If the research approach includes human subjects testing, proposers should be aware that contracts will be subject to approval by an Institutional Review Board (IRB).  This review may be conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's IRB, but NASEM will delegate the review to the contracting agency's IRB if that agency's process meets all federal requirements for the protection of human subjects.

Proposals should be uploaded via this link: https://www.dropbox.com/request/OJDnWsx8JXgV19xJsBli
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 1/18/2022.

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).

To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=5200