The National Academies


Evaluation of Motorcycle Licensing and Training Requirements

Posted Date: 2/24/2023

  Project Data
Funds: $400,000
Contract Time: 36 months
(includes 1 month for BTSCRP review and approval of the interim report and 3 months for BTSCRP review and for contractor revision of the final report)
Authorization to Begin Work: 7/24/2023 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Richard Retting
   Phone: 202/334-2418
   Email: rretting@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 4/21/2023
Fiscal Year: 2023


Motorcyclists account for a disproportionate number of overall traffic fatalities. Past efforts to improve motorcycle safety have largely focused on helmets, rider impairment, and operator training. Another potential focus area ─ motorcycle licensing procedures ─ has received less attention, despite being identified as a prospective focal point by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Motorcycle licensing requirements differ considerably across states with regard to tiered licensing practices, rider education, testing requirements, permit restrictions, and other aspects.

Some studies have found that more restrictive licensing elements, such as requiring a skills test to obtain a permit, are associated with reductions in motorcyclist fatalities. However, research in this area has been limited and is somewhat out of date, which hinders the ability to assess best practices. Potential changes to motorcycle licensing procedures seldom gain traction, as most states lack the financial resources to investigate best practices. NTSB has concluded that motorcycle licensing practices have not been sufficiently evaluated with regard to their effectiveness and impact on rider safety.


The objectives of this project are to (1) evaluate the current state of the practice for motorcycle licensing in the United States and (2) develop recommendations for improvement based on the latest empirical data. 

Accomplishment of the project objectives will require at least the following tasks.


Task descriptions are intended to provide a framework for conducting the research. The BTSCRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objectives. 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 objectives. 


Task 1. For each state, document current motorcycle licensing procedures (including graduated licensing and full licensing), training and assessment requirements (including online training), and any restrictions for newly licensed operators. Identify individual components of motorcycle licensing systems that could be used in Task 4 to help determine which types of licensing procedures may have the greatest safety impacts and which are relatively ineffective. Review and document noteworthy international practices that may be applicable to the United States.   

Task 2. For each state identify data available for use in Task 4 related to crashes, operator licensing status, vehicle class, and other relevant data elements. Describe any challenges or limitations associated with available state data, as well as how current the data are.

Task 3. Prepare Interim Report #1 that summarizes results from Tasks 1 and 2 and provides a proposed Phase II data analysis approach, including states recommended for inclusion in the data analysis.

Note: Following a 1-month review of Interim Report #1 by the BTSCRP, the research team will be required to meet with the BTSCRP project panel to discuss the interim report, if necessary. Work on Phase II of the project will not begin until authorized by the BTSCRP.


Task 4. Examine licensing trends in motorcycle crashes, injuries, and fatalities for selected states. A minimum of five to seven states that cover a range of licensing practices should be included. Break down motorcycle licensing systems into their individual components to help determine which types of procedures may have the greatest safety impacts, and which are relatively ineffective. Although the analysis may consider vehicle classes beyond traditional motorcycles such as three-wheeled vehicles and high-speed electric bicycles, the analysis should focus on traditional two-wheeled motorcycles. 

Task 5. Prepare an Interim Report #2 that summarizes results from Task 4 and provides a proposed approach for developing the Task 6 draft guide.

Note: Following a 1-month review of Interim Report #2 by the BTSCRP, the research team will be required to meet with the BTSCRP project panel to discuss the interim report, if necessary. Work on Phase III of the project will not begin until authorized by the BTSCRP.


Task 6. Develop a draft recommended guide for motorcycle operator licensing to address the license application process, permitting, permitting restrictions, graduated licensing procedures, testing, licensing renewals, training requirements, and potential funding mechanisms to support recommended practices.

Task 7. Conduct a workshop with a minimum of 10 state licensing officials and 10 additional stakeholders to present the draft recommended guide and collect feedback. Revise the draft guide and workshop materials taking into account feedback gathered during the workshop.

Note: The costs for the workshop, including invitational travel for at least 20 attendees (not including members of the research team), should be included in the detailed budget for the research. For the purpose of estimating these costs, assume that the workshop will be held at a TRB facility (Keck Center in Washington, DC, or the Beckman Center in Irvine, CA). BTSCRP will cover costs associated with BTSCRP panel member travel. Catering services for all participants including panel members should be included in the detailed budget for the research.

Task 8. Prepare a final deliverable that documents the entire research effort. Final deliverables should include, at a minimum (1) a final research report that identifies general safety concerns associated with motorcycle operations and licensing, as well as documenting the entire research effort and findings; (2) final guide; (3) prioritized recommendations for future research; (4) presentation materials; and (5) a technical memorandum on implementation (see Special Note I).

Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, the remaining 3 months shall be for BTSCRP review and comment and for research agency preparation of the 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 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. 

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/6803. 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 BTSCRP 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. 

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.

Proposals must be uploaded via this link: https://www.dropbox.com/request/1rbJTYXjgcF98ipeiXeO 
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 4/21/2023.

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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