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The National Academies

NCHRP 08-169 [RFP]

Valuing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Transportation Asset Management

Posted Date: 12/9/2022

  Project Data
Funds: $500,000
Contract Time: 24 months
(includes 1 month for NCHRP review and approval of the interim report and 3 months for NCHRP review and for contractor revision of the final report)
Authorization to Begin Work: 9/1/2023 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Jennifer L. Weeks
   Phone: 202-334-2122
   Email: jlweeks@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 2/3/2023
Fiscal Year: 2023

BACKGROUND

Investments in roadways have historically focused on safety, mobility, and system preservation. Over time, the understanding of the impacts of roadway decisions has matured, and other factors such as socioeconomic impact, sustainability, accountability, transparency, and innovation have increased importance in the decision-making process. Recently, state departments of transportation (DOTs) and other agencies have sought to specifically address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in transportation decisions, including those related to asset management. For example, the disparate allocation of resources in the maintenance or replacement of critical assets can result in inequitable transportation system performance and accessibility outcomes that can be more harmful to underserved communities with fewer resources available to meet daily transportation needs.

DEI recognizes intersectional (race, gender, socioeconomic, disabilities etc.) differences within communities and among different communities. Integrating DEI indicators into transportation asset management (TAM) can help state DOTs and other agencies to improve the impact of TAM investment decisions, especially to underserved communities. Research is needed to support practitioners seeking to integrate DEI into TAM processes and decision-making. 

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this research is to develop a guide with supporting resources for agencies to identify, analyze, and integrate DEI outcomes in TAM analysis and decision-making to improve TAM outcomes for underserved communities. 

This research shall include the following components:

  • A common set of DEI definitions, taxonomy, and a set of outcomes that articulate what an “equitable” outcome may consist of in a TAM context;
  • A state of practice summary that identifies current understanding and applications of DEI in TAM decision-making by state DOTs and related agencies as well as a  summary of challenges, inherent inequities, and obstacles to consideration of DEI in asset management;
  • A matrix or list of quantitative and qualitative performance measures for asset management that incorporate DEI factors in transportation investment decisions; 
  • A flexible analytical framework for applying DEI and related indicators in TAM decision-making that includes, but is not limited to:
    • Project or program self-assessment to establish an agency’s DEI baseline,  
    • Data collection and use (including qualitative data from stakeholders),
    • Analysis activities to establish current conditions and forecast impact,
    • Scenario planning using alternate investment options with an equity lens, and
    • Investment alternatives analysis decision-making;
  • Methods for community engagement in asset management, including how to identify and effectively engage affected stakeholders and how to include and respond to public feedback in TAM analysis and decision-making;
  • Methods to quantify or otherwise integrate qualitative factors relative to accessibility, public health, and related transportation activities and purposes into TAM decision-making;
  • A list of publicly available data sets that can be applied in a TAM context with direction on how to employ these data to inform TAM analysis and decisions;
  • A set of three to five case study applications that demonstrate the integration of DEI into TAM analysis;
  • Communication techniques or tools that describe the need and benefits of DEI analysis in TAM decision-making and outcomes targeting agency executives and members of the public.

RESEARCH PLAN

Task descriptions within a research plan are intended to provide a framework for conducting the research. The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans with specific tasks 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.

This research should draw on available academic, completed NCHRP, and other literature and the experience, needs, and preferences of state DOTs as well as representatives of underrepresented communities and groups in urban, rural, and suburban areas alike.  It is expected that final deliverables will be validated through an appropriate, but rigorous peer review process to determine the usefulness of the products for agency application.

The research plan should (1) include a kick-off teleconference with the research team and NCHRP convened within 1 month of the contract’s execution; (2) address how the proposer intends to satisfy the project objective; (3) be divided logically into detailed tasks necessary to fulfill the research objective and include appropriate milestones and interim deliverables; (4) include robust engagement of appropriate stakeholders in data collection and product validation; (5) incorporate opportunities for the project panel to review, comment on, and approve milestone deliverables; and (6) include an interim report and panel meeting scheduled to transition the project from data collection and analysis to production of the final deliverables.  

Notes: The costs of any in-person workshops or events convened to support this research, including invitational travel for a specified number of attendees (not including members of the research team), should be included in the detailed budget for the research. For the purposes of estimating these costs, assume that any in-person event will be held at a TRB facility (Keck Center in Washington, DC, or the Beckman Center in Irvine, CA). NCHRP will cover costs associated with NCHRP panel member travel. Catering services for all participants including panel members should be included in the detailed budget for the research. 

FINAL DELIVERABLES

The final deliverables expected will include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • A guide with appropriate resources and case studies as articulated in the objective of this research;

Note: Web-based applications are not advised. If web-based, the compendium tool shall conform to the Cooperative Research Program (CRP) WebResources (see Special Note L.)

  • A stand-alone technical memorandum that identifies implementation pathways, key implementers of the results, and well-defined scopes of work for product dissemination and pilot implementation of the research products (see Special Note I); and

  • A conduct of research report that documents the entire research effort. 

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 the final deliverables.

SPECIAL NOTES

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/SubmitSearch. 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.

L. CRP’s WebResources multi-site is hosted within an open-source content management system called WordPress in Amazon Web Services using an Ubuntu operating system. CRP manages two instances of WebResources (1) UAT used for development and review, and (2) PROD is CRP’s live production site. A list of approved WordPress plug-ins can be found here: https://crp.trb.org/approved-plugins/. WordPress plug-ins not listed in the approved list can be evaluated, but may not be approved. Contractor is responsible for lifetime subscription (if available) costs of new plug-ins, and must transfer the license to CRPs to ensure that the functionality from the plug-in will continue to operate correctly in the future. The selected contractor will be working within the UAT site for all updates.

 


Proposals must be uploaded via this link: https://www.dropbox.com/request/oiKqDQ4hRhMxiAlXhke7 
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 2/3/2023.

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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