Active transportation modes have become an increasingly important element of transportation networks in urban, suburban, and rural communities alike. Active transportation networks and infrastructure contribute toward efforts to reach a wide variety of transportation goals related to issues such as mobility, accessibility, emissions reduction, public health, equity, quality of life, economic development, and more.
While public interest in active transportation such as walking, biking, and rolling grows, many transportation agencies are challenged to fully understand and communicate the true costs and benefits of these modes in a decision-making context. One area of particular challenge is the integration of data on active transportation into decision-making. Data requirements for decision-making are particularly of concern as the interest in investing in active transportation grows. Not only is access to data an issue, but also how to interpret, understand, and apply data to make better and more informed decisions about current and future transportation networks.
Research is needed to provide informed technical direction to transportation and other professionals on how to identify, access, collect, store, interpret, understand, and apply active transportation data in transportation planning, design, operations and maintenance, safety, performance management, funding, and other decision-making.
The objective of this research is to develop a guide on how to identify, access, collect, store, interpret, understand, analyze, and use active transportation data in transportation-related decision-making processes.
The guide should, at a minimum, include the following elements:
1. An organized compendium or matrix of active transportation data sources with information on how to access, collect, understand, and apply these resources in a decision-making context. The compendium should provide an easy organizational structure for summarizing the data types and sources, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each data source, and summarizing the data sources that are best for application in different analytical and decision types. The compendium should be contained within the guide but can be designed for dissemination and use as an independent product.
2. Qualitative and quantitative data and data sources for informing different needs and performance of active transportation in a decision-making context;
3. Instructions on how to select, interpret, understand, and apply active transportation data at all phases and milestones of transportation decision-making;
4. Case studies or other illustrative applications of different types and sources of active transportation data in practice;
5. Content and direction related to the unique needs of urban, rural, and suburban areas as well as statewide, regional, and local-level decision contexts; and
6. Content and direction appropriate for decision-making by agencies with different levels of experience and maturity using active transportation data.
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.
Task descriptions are intended to provide a framework for conducting the research.
The research plan will be divided into phases and each phase will contain specific tasks. The research plan should build in appropriate checkpoints with the NCHRP project panel, including, at a minimum, (1) a kick-off teleconference to be held within 1 month of the contract’s execution date; (2) at least one face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting; and (3) web-enabled meetings 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.
Task 1. Conduct a literature review on the use of active transportation data in transportation planning, finance, environment, design, traffic engineering, operations, construction, maintenance, and safety. The focus should be both on the decisions being made that benefit from the consideration of active transportation data and on identifying and summarizing the strengths, costs, and limitations of different data sources in the decision-making context.
Task 2. Conduct a global industry scan of the state of practice with respect to the use of active transportation data in agency decision-making supporting planning, programming, project development and delivery, operations, construction, maintenance, and safety. Consider embedded decision-making points within processes such as environmental reviews, land use decisions, traffic analysis, alternative analysis, design, traffic engineering, work zones, and safety. The scan should include an assessment of the methods and resources required to access, collect, analyze, and apply active transportation data to support these decision-making processes.
Task 3. Conduct a gap analysis of active transportation data needs. What opportunities are there to apply active transportation data in a decision-making context, especially data that are not widely recognized or in use?
The gap analysis shall include outreach to and engagement of active transportation practitioners from the public and private sectors including representatives of transportation advocacy and user groups; transportation system and facility design; real estate and economic development; and other appropriate industries and user groups to identify trends and needs in active transportation data that would facilitate a more effective and safe integration of active transportation into the transportation landscape.
Proposals should identify the preferred method or methods of practitioner outreach in their proposals, such as through surveys, interviews, or workshops. The proposal should also identify how these individuals and groups would be selected for participation. Proposers should feel free to recommend other activities required for completing a gap analysis, as determined appropriate.
Task 4. Develop an annotated outline of the guide and compendium of data sources for review by the panel and NCHRP.
Task 5. Develop and execute a plan for product validation and testing of the final deliverables through the engagement of industry experts and practitioners.
The proposal shall specify a strategy to test the effectiveness of the products to practitioners seeking to expand and enhance the use of active transportation data in decision-making. At a minimum, the following activities are expected to be part of this process: (1) engage outside subject-matter experts to review and provide input to the content and format of the guide and other products proposed; and (2) recruit and select appropriate state departments of transportation and other agencies to “test drive” the draft product or products in a “real world setting” to demonstrate the benefits of the guide and provide additional input on content, design, and other factors that would improve the value of the materials to decision-makers.
This task should culminate in a report that specifies (1) lessons learned from the engagement conducted; and (2) proposed modifications to the final products to respond to input received, including any changes in content, format, design, or any product additions that might be proposed, such as communications materials, tools, or graphics.
Note: Proposers should describe their approach to the validation activities, including the format of industry engagement (e.g., web-enabled, in-person workshops, interviews, peer exchanges) and conceptual agenda(s). NCHRP will not provide funding for travel for event participants or costs associated with a venue for vetting activities.
Task 6. Develop a Phase II work plan that outlines lessons learned from the data gathered in Phase I. The work plan shall identify any additional data collection, document or product modification, or other tasks to be undertaken by the research team in Phase II to reach the research objective.
Task 7. Develop an Interim Report documenting the research process and information collected to date, specifying lessons learned, gaps identified, and areas of emphasis to be integrated into the final deliverables of this project.
Note: The draft Interim Report, Phase II work plan, and deliverable outlines and proposed revisions shall be shared with the Panel in an Interim Meeting, hosted by TRB either in person or online, to obtain input and discuss the next steps as outlined in the Phase II work plan.
The contractor shall not proceed to subsequent tasks without the expressed consent of NCHRP.
Work in Phase II will focus on applying the approved Phase II work plan to develop final deliverables that respond to input documented in Tasks 5 to 7 of Phase I. Anticipated deliverables include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- A guide to the use of active transportation data in transportation decision-making, with a focus on accessing, maintaining, processing, interpreting, and applying data to specific decisions and decision types;
- A compendium of active transportation data sources that summarizes methods to access, collect, and manage each data source; the benefits and challenges of using each data source; and potential uses of each data source in decision-making;
- A stand-alone technical memorandum that identifies implementation opportunities and lays out a process for disseminating and encouraging pilot application or other implementation of the products of this research in practice (see Special Note I); and
- A stand-alone conduct of research report documenting the project activities.
Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, the remaining 3 months shall be for NCHRP review and comment and for research agency preparation of all final deliverables.
A. The Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs were revised in May 2022. Please take note of the new and revised text which is highlighted in yellow.
B. Proposals must be submitted as a single PDF file with a maximum file size of 10 MB. The PDF must be formatted for standard 8½” 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. The Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs have been modified to include a revised policy and instructions for disclosing Investigator Conflict of Interest. For more information, refer to chapter IV of the instructions. A detailed definition and examples can be found in the CRP Conflict of Interest Policy for Contractors. The proposer recommended by the project panel will be required to submit an Investigator Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Form as a prerequisite for contract negotiations.
D. Proposals will be rejected if any of the proposed research team members work for organizations represented on the project panel. The panel roster for this project can be found at https://www.mytrb.org/OnlineDirectory/Committee/Details/6772. Proposers may not contact panel members directly; this roster is provided solely for the purpose of avoiding potential conflicts of interest.
E. Proprietary Products - If any proprietary products are to be used or tested in the project, please refer to Item 6 in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals.
F. Proposals are evaluated by the NCHRP staff and project panels consisting of individuals collectively knowledgeable in the problem area. The project panel will recommend their first choice proposal 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. A recommendation by the project panel is not a guarantee of a contract. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS - the contracting authority for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine) will conduct an internal due diligence review and risk assessment of the panel’s recommended proposal before contract negotiations continue.
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 Academy of Sciences. 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 Academy of Sciences. 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. Proposals should include a task-by-task breakdown of labor hours for each staff member as shown in Figure 4 in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals. 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.
I. The required technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” should (a) provide recommendations on how to best put the research findings/products into practice; (b) identify possible institutions that might take leadership in applying the research findings/products; (c) identify issues affecting potential implementation of the findings/products and recommend possible actions to address these issues; and (d) recommend methods of identifying and measuring the impacts associated with implementation of the findings/products. Implementation of these recommendations is not part of the research project and, if warranted, details of these actions will be developed and implemented in future efforts.
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
J. If the team proposes a Principal Investigator who is not an employee of the Prime Contractor, or if the Prime Contractor is proposed to conduct less than 50% of the total effort (by time or budget), then section five of the proposal should include: (1) a justification of why this approach is appropriate, and (2) a description of how the Prime Contractor will ensure adequate communication and coordination with their Subcontractors throughout the project.
K. All budget information should be suitable for printing on 8½″ x 11″ paper. If a budget page cannot fit on a single 8½″ x 11″ page, it should be split over multiple pages. Proposers must use the Excel templates provided in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs.