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The National Academies

NCHRP 23-32 [RFP]

Transportation Asset Risk and Resilience

Posted Date: 12/7/2022

  Project Data
Funds: $3,500,000
Contract Time: 36 months
(includes 1 month for NCHRP review and approval of each interim report and 3 months for NCHRP review and for contractor revision of the final report)
Authorization to Begin Work: 6/1/2023 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Ahmad Abu Hawash
   Phone: 202.334.2257
   Email: aabu-hawash@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 2/9/2023
Fiscal Year: 2023

BACKGROUND

Departments of transportation (DOTs) and other transportation agencies are responsible for the transportation system and the delivery of a range of services and functions through the management of that system. There are inherent risks involved with transportation system management, besides aging infrastructure and limited funding. Many agencies are moving toward performance-based resource allocation while simultaneously recognizing risks that may constrain their strategic goals. As these risks affect every component of a transportation system to a greater or lesser extent, there are no analysis strategies to accurately account for and address these risks within a transportation agency’s enterprise-wide risk management program.

Investing in risk and resilience strategies and recovery planning to reduce or eliminate the impact of external events is paramount to ensuring a thriving and viable transportation system. Risk management requires (1) identifying and assessing potential threats and hazards, (2) identifying asset vulnerabilities from applicable threats, (3) evaluating potential mitigation actions to reduce risk, (4) a clear and easy implementation process to prioritize mitigation activities, and (5) investments that align with agency strategic and performance goals. Although many research efforts have been conducted on asset and performance management, information on analytical methods to support risk-based asset management throughout the life cycle of the system, from inception to operation, is lagging. In addition, an understanding of the relationship between risks and system resilience is lacking.  

Research is needed to develop a go-to resource for assessing risk to agency assets and the traveling public from extreme weather, climate change, and other threats/hazards. The resource is needed to create consistency across projects and agencies, and to ensure the adoption of robust quantitative assessment to support benefit-cost analysis and decision-making. A framework and research roadmap for this resource was developed in NCHRP Project 23-09, “Scoping Study to Develop the Basis for a Highway Standard to Conduct an All-Hazards Risk and Resilience Analysis.”

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this research is to provide a science-based technical resource to assess risk and resilience in transportation planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance decisions. At a minimum, the research shall develop:

  • Quantitative, repeatable methods for conducting risk assessments on top priority threats/hazards for transportation assets;
  • A historical data-capture process and system to support risk and resilience modeling and assessments;
  • Quantitative resilience assessment methods and metrics for transportation assets; and
  • Standardized methods to help state DOTs and other transportation agencies identify the most appropriate risk mitigation or resilience improvement strategies.

RESEARCH PLAN

Phase descriptions 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 that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals should describe tasks and deliverables for each phase. 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 NCHRP anticipates the successful proposer will have expertise in multiple disciplines, including asset management, resilience, planning, project development, climate change, risk analysis, and sustainability. 

Phase II shall be divided into sub-phases and tasks. The research plan should build in appropriate checkpoints with the NCHRP project panel, including at a minimum (1) an Amplified Research Plan within 15 days of the start of the contract, (2) a web-enabled kick-off meeting following NCHRP review of the Amplified Research Plan, (3) an in-person panel meeting following the review of each interim report, and (4) stakeholder vetting workshops. Assume an iterative review process by the project panel. Include 1-month review time of each interim report by the NCHRP. Work on subsequent phases of the project will not begin until authorized by the NCHRP.  

PHASE I–Planning

Work conducted in Phase I will include:

  • Conducting a state-of-the-practice review of quantitative approaches to assess risk and resilience. The review should include the transportation industry (private and public sectors; various modes) as well as other industries. The purpose of the review is to better understand where to build from existing experience and where gaps exist.
  • Based on the state-of-the-practice review, developing an overall scope and vision for the project with realistic limits on what can and cannot be done given available resources. This should include a goal of the final deliverable being draft language for a Transportation Asset Risk and Resilience Manual for consideration by American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to incorporate the research results in an AASHTO publication (hereafter called AASHTO Deliverable).
  • Developing a stakeholder engagement plan to indicate how the research team will work with the project panel, the AASHTO Joint Task Force (see Note below), and the broader transportation industry to provide the needed technical input and review. The stakeholder engagement plan shall identify the appropriate number of workshops.
  • Developing the framework for the AASHTO Deliverable. This should include a detailed table of contents, structure, chapters, etc. that will be populated with the results of the research.

Note: AASHTO will establish a Joint Task Force on the AASHTO Transportation Asset Risk & Resilience Manual comprised of members from key AASHTO committees. The purpose of the task force is to support the overall development, implementation, and maintenance of the AASHTO Transportation Asset Risk & Resilience Manual. Membership on the joint task force will pull from different AASHTO committees including resilience, asset management, risk management, bridges and structures (technical committees), construction, materials and pavement, maintenance, design, environment and sustainability. For the purposes of NCHRP Project 23-32, the task force will serve as a resource to provide needed technical expertise and a sounding board for product development throughout the project as directed by the NCHRP. 

For the purpose of estimating costs for the workshops, include the cost of invitational travel for up to 15 attendees and the costs associated with the catering service for up to 30 attendees; for the interim panel meetings, include the cost of catering for up to 15 attendees. Assume that the in-person workshops and interim panel meetings will be held at the Beckman Center in Irvine, CA. The TRB will cover costs associated with NCHRP panel member travel. 

Note: Phase I shall be limited to $200,000.

PHASE II–Execution

Work conducted in Phase II will include:

  • Conducting research related to (1) identifying and developing repeatable methods for performing quantitative risk assessments for top priority threats/hazards for transportation assets; (2) developing a historical data-capture process and system to support risk and resilience modeling and assessments; (3) developing quantitative resilience assessment methods and metrics for transportation assets based on the results of (1) and (2); and (4) developing standardized methods to help state DOTs and other transportation agencies to identify the most appropriate risk mitigation or resilience improvement strategies.
  • Developing the draft AASHTO Deliverable.
  • Conducting review workshops according to the approved stakeholder engagement plan developed in Phase I, and revising the draft AASHTO Deliverable according to the outcomes of the workshops.

Note: Phase II shall be limited to $3,250,000.

PHASE III–Final Product

The final deliverables will include, at a minimum:

  • The AASHTO Deliverable;
  • A stand-alone conduct of research report that documents the entire research effort and presents key findings;
  • Recommendations for future research, including research problem statements; and
  • A stand-alone technical memorandum that identifies implementation pathways, key implementers of the results, steps for capacity-building as defined in NCHRP Project 23-09, and well-defined scopes of work for further dissemination and pilot implementation of the methods. The technical memorandum should provide adequate detail about how state DOTs and other transportation agencies can implement the results (e.g., timeline, budget, and needed staff resources; see Special Note J).

Note: Following receipt of the draft versions of all final deliverables, the remaining 3 months shall be for NCHRP review and comment (1 month) and for research agency preparation of the final deliverables (2 months). Phase III shall be limited to $50,000.

SPECIAL NOTES

A. The research team should anticipate making four presentations to appropriate committees at meetings of the relevant AASHTO Committees.

B. 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.

C. 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.

D. 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.

E. 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/6743. Proposers may not contact panel members directly; this roster is provided solely for the purpose of avoiding potential conflicts of interest.

F. 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.

G. 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.

H. 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.

I. 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.

J. 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

K. 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.

L. 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.


Proposals must be uploaded via this link: https://www.dropbox.com/request/eZBSuh17k1808t5APzrE 
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 2/9/2023.

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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