The National Academies

TCRP J-05/Topic 21-03 [Pending]

Update of Selected Studies in Transportation Law, Volume 5, 2014 Supplement (Transit Law)
[ TCRP J-05 (Legal Aspects of Transit and Intermodal Transportation Programs) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $75,000
Contract Time: 12 months
Staff Responsibility: Gwen Chisholm-Smith



The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) plans to award a contract for a study and report. Legal research reports sponsored by this project are published in TCRP's Legal Research Digest (LRD) series in electronic format. Publications are made available to some libraries and to approximately 4,000 transportation lawyers and officials through the TRB distribution network.



The purpose of this project is to update the Selected Studies in Transportation Law, Volume 5, 2014 Supplement on Transit Law (2014 Supplement), except for Section 10, Civil Rights, which will be addressed by a separate RFP.  Since publication of the 2014 Supplement, there have been a number of changes in transportation law.  The goal of the project is to provide a legal primer on the myriad of legal issues encountered in a transit law practice.


When updating the Supplement, the researcher shall analyze and incorporate any legal implications that the researcher identifies from review of TRB’s 2019, Critical Issues in Transportation.

Where legal research digests may have addressed an issue in Volume 5, the researcher shall reference the digest and incorporate any information from the digest believed to be relevant while maintaining the intent of the 2014 Supplement.


If there are no significant changes in the topics addressed by the Supplement, the researcher will only be required to shepardize cases (look for changes in statutes or rules and guidance documents).  The following is a nonexclusive list of topics that have been identified as needing to be updated by this project:


Transit Related Governmental Institutions

Update to address Federal Railroad Administration’s role.



Include new methodologies, e.g., indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ)  piggybacking, address the new 2 CFR 200 (Super Circular), Uniform Administrative Guidance.


Buy America

Review any waivers since 2014 Supplemental and any implications from Fast Act, e.g., increasing domestic content to 70% or greater.



Update to address Federal Transit Administration’s new safety oversight role (e.g., safety management system (SMS) and Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan, (PTASP), etc. Further develop the section on track safety including examples of types of violations, e.g., independent rulings, Special Notices of Repair, criminal penalties, as well as civil penalties. Also address maintenance of way (MOW) standards for different classes of track, quiet zones, and positive train control.


Include a brief discussion on the agency attorney role (or exclusion) in National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigations, as well as any new legal issues that may have arisen regarding (NTSB) investigations.


Transit Asset Management

Address the federal requirements that apply to all recipients of chapter 53 funds that own, operate, or manage public transportation capital assets.



Address the legal issues for the transit provider, including liability arising from a security breach or other actions by employees that may cause the unintentional disclosure of information.




This research will be conducted in two (2) phases.  Phase I will consist of Task 1.  At the conclusion of Phase I, TRB will make a determination whether to proceed with Phase II, which will consist of Tasks 2, 3, and 4.  Both phases will be pursuant to a firm fixed price agreement.


Phase I


Task 1. Work Plan. The consultant will conduct background research and collect relevant material.  Based on the initial, but complete review of the source material, the consultant will submit a work plan for updating the 2014 Supplement.  The work plan should be about 10-15 pages and contain sufficient detail to inform the committee of where the Transit Law Volume will be updated and/or supplemented.  When a section is to be extensively supplemented or a new subsection added, a brief outline and estimated pagination should be included.   Part of this report should feature an annotation of the table of contents as well. This document should reflect the estimated level of effort and be sufficient to clearly inform the project committee where changes and or additions to the existing 2014 Supplement will be made and the nature of recommended changes. This material will be submitted to the Principal Investigator for committee consideration and approval.


It shall be up to the consultant to recommend a different approach than outlined here, if the consultant is of the opinion that the purpose of the project will be better served with a different approach.


In addition to the work plan, the consultant will also provide a detailed project schedule for Phase II that will include the proposer’s recommendations for the completion of Tasks 2, 3, and 4.


Funding for Phase I: $20,000- $25,000

Phase II


Task 2. After TRB approval of the work plan, the consultant should conduct additional research, and case and statutory/regulatory analysis.

Estimated Length of Time:    To be determined in Phase I

Estimated Work Effort:          To be determined in Phase I


Task 3. Draft report in accordance with the approved work plan and schedule (including modifications required by TRB).

Estimated Length of Time:    To be determined in Phase I

Estimated Work Effort:          To be determined in Phase I


Task 4. Revise report as necessary.  The consultant should estimate that two revisions will be necessary.  One revision may be required after review by the members of a select subcommittee.  Additional revisions may be required after the full committee has reviewed the report.


Estimated Length of Time:    To be determined in Phase I

Estimated Work Effort:          To be determined in Phase I


Funding: To be determined in Phase I

An important factor in rating proposal offers will be the proposer’s commitment to promptly undertake and complete this study.




Proposals should be submitted as a single PDF with the following information in the following order:


1.  Summary sheet. Here is the summary sheet.


2.  A research plan that describes each task in sufficient detail to allow the review panel to make an informed assessment of the likelihood of the proposer’s success. The plan must include:

  • An introduction that provides a concise overview of the proposer’s understanding of the topic and the issues presented, the proposed team’s experience and qualifications relevant to the topic, and the team’s proposed approach to conducting the research and preparing the report;
  • A brief outline of the proposed contents of the report;
  • Detailed information on the proposed research methodology for each task in sufficient detail to permit evaluation of achieving the objective(s);
  • Statement of resources (e.g., hours per person per task) allocated to this project, and timelines for each task;
  • Resumes of key team members along with a description of responsibilities;
  • Any additions, deletions, or changes you may wish to suggest to the scope of work for undertaking the work; and
  • A list of relevant prior publications (one or two samples may be enclosed).

3.   An executed, unaltered liability statement. Here is a printable version of the Liability Statement.


Proposers will be evaluated by individuals collectively knowledgeable in this problem area. Evaluations are based upon the proposers’: (1) knowledge, experience, and accomplishments in the subject area (demonstrated by the research plan, statement of resources, qualifications, and resumes; (2) understanding of the work (demonstrated by the team’s proposed approach to conducting the research and preparing the report); (3) prior relevant publications (including briefs); and (4) schedule for completing the work.




A.  Proposers should read Guidance for Working on NCHRP and TCRP Legal Projects for more information.


B.  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

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