This research topic relates to the strategic goals of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to advance equity in transportation. This topic is also of interest to state departments of transportation (DOTs) that depend on fuel tax revenues to allocate resources. The current fuel tax mechanism for funding surface transportation will likely remain in place for the foreseeable future, despite some advancements made in the future implementation of a mileage-based fee or other revenue options. The federal fuel tax, a fixed per-gallon fee, represents a proportionally higher burden on lower-income families. This disparity may widen as the vehicle fleet becomes increasingly fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicle ownership increases. Improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency are developing at a rapid pace. Auto manufacturers are expanding the production of more fuel-efficient vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles, and states have set ambitious goals for new electric vehicle ownership and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, lower-income drivers tend to replace their vehicles less frequently and continue to drive less fuel-efficient vehicles. The equity disparity around what proportion of an individual’s income contributes to fuel costs will continue to grow under the current fuel tax structure. Transportation revenues are likely to change with technological advancement, infrastructure demands, and climate change, which will have equity impacts.
The objective of this research is to develop a tool kit that informs state departments of transportation about equity impacts resulting from alternative revenue structures and includes strategies to mitigate inequities resulting from transportation revenue mechanisms and changing trends.
The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how 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 contain sufficient detail to demonstrate the proposer’s understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective.
The research plan should:
- Include a kick-off teleconference with the research team and NCHRP convened within 1 month of the contract’s execution;
- Address how the proposer intends to satisfy the project objective;
- Be divided logically into detailed phases/tasks necessary to fulfill the research objective and include appropriate milestones and interim deliverables;
- Include one face-to-face meeting to review an interim report and a web-conference meeting (NCHRP will provide teleconference services); and
- Include opportunities for the project panel to review, comment on, and approve milestone deliverables.
At a minimum, the research plan should include the following activities:
- Conduct a literature review related to the equity impacts of transportation revenue mechanisms and changing trends;
- Summarize the state of practice of equity impact analyses related to the implementation of transportation revenue mechanisms at the state and local agency levels and identify the key issues and successful practices related to mitigating consequential inequities;
- Prepare a technical report that documents the literature review and state of practice summary (include a detailed work plan for the proposed remaining tasks);
- Define the user equity impacts that result from changes in trends given the current fuel tax structure;
- Determine equity impacts from changes in transportation-related revenue mechanisms; and
- Provide strategies to mitigate inequities.
1. Approval of the technical report and a detailed work plan for the remaining tasks shall be approved before initiation.
2. One face-to-face interim meeting shall be convened in Washington, DC, at TRB offices. TRB will cover the costs associated with meetings at TRB facilities, teleconference services, and any approved panel travel.
Prepare final deliverables, which should include:
- A conduct of research report documenting the entire research effort. A literature review summary and list of tools that identify equity impacts and other practitioner-ready resources should be included in an Appendix;
- A tool kit focused on state DOTs to help them understand and mitigate inequities resulting from transportation revenue mechanisms and changing trends. The tool kit shall include, at a minimum, the following:
- Educational materials suitable for a broad range of stakeholders;
- A practitioner-ready equity impact matrix and other tools, with graphical output and embedded instructions, to aid state DOTs;
- A user’s guide for practitioners; and
- Examples demonstrating the use of the practitioner’s tools.
- A logo-free PowerPoint presentation describing the background, objective, approach, findings, and conclusions;
- A presentation of findings at two AASHTO committee meetings;
- A stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (see Special Note I for additional information); and
- A draft article suitable for publication in TR News (information regarding TR News publication may be found on the TRB webpage http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/trnews/info4contributors.pdf).
Proposers may recommend additional deliverables to support the project objective.
1. All sources of data collected or used shall be provided to NCHRP.
2. An annotated outline of the proposed guide and tool kit shall be presented to NCHRP for approval before initiation.
3. No commitment to publish a TR News article is implied.
4. Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, the remaining 3 months shall be for NCHRP review and comment, and research agency preparation of the final deliverables.
Consideration should be given to, but not limited to, the following topics:
- Industry and consumer changes through 2035 including equity impacts of vehicle manufacturing, purchasing trends of new and used vehicles and the resulting impact, emerging mobility technologies, electric vehicle adoption, and changes in mobility;
- Obstacles for low-income users to purchase electric vehicles; the existence of a limited used electric vehicle market; and access to plug-in vehicle infrastructure, such as broadband internet, charging stations, and banking access limitations;
- Barriers to implementing other revenue mechanisms (e.g., vehicle use and ownership trends, work-from-home trends, low-income users, fuel efficiency, and vehicle age);
- Changes that impact equity and variation within and across categories (e.g., demographics, geography, income, gender, age, disability, education, race, climate change); and
- Stakeholders responsible for and impacted by revenue forecasting systems.
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/6736. 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.