The National Academies

ACRP 04-30 [RFP]

Identifying and Developing the Core Capabilities of an Airport Emergency Management Program

Posted Date: 1/25/2023

  Project Data
Funds: $400,000
Contract Time: 18 months
(includes 2 months for ACRP review and approval of the interim report and 3 months for ACRP review and for contractor revision of the final report)
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/19/2023 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Edward K. McDonald III
   Phone: 202/334-2354
   Email: emcdonald@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 3/13/2023
Fiscal Year: 2023


Airports must manage all-hazards events, which occur from time to time. Airports should be proactive in addressing the needs for the development and implementation of Emergency Management (EM) frameworks and core capabilities to build preparedness. As airports move toward the establishment or expansion of their EM initiatives, they should understand airport organizational designs of EM, training needs, guidelines, and requirements in the development, implementation, and sustainability of EM core capabilities. Airports should consider opportunities to explore lessons learned from airport case studies and examine interdependent industries and related disciplines with emerging risks to identify commonalities and variances. This project will assist airports in establishing and maintaining their EM programs through and standardized approach of continuous process improvement.


The objective of this research is to develop a guide of standardized core capabilities. The core capabilities should include EM-specific benchmarks tailored for the airport EM function for airport sponsors and its stakeholders to continuously evaluate the strengths and opportunities in the development or improvement of a comprehensive EM framework. The report shall include, but not be limited to:

1. Aviation-related regulatory requirements to identify key priorities in the development and implementation of airport EM programs. Explore if there are any existing or projected correlation between governing body guidance and its impacts on EM funding.

2. An analysis of effective practices utilized in other interdependent industries (e.g., transit, hospitals) and related disciplines. Develop a comparative analysis to identify commonalities and variances between industry practices and how they may translate to airport EM.

3. How practices are conducted by interdependent industry EM practitioners.

4. An analysis of EM implementation strategies, objectives, and actions

a. Performance metrics,

b. Process improvement,

c. Operational measures, and

d. Organizational reporting structure and budget capabilities of EM.

5. A summary of impacts of supporting agencies and partners categorized by airport sponsorship type.

6. A list of EM-specific training needs.

7. A list of other EM performance capabilities.

8. A list of recommended airport-specific EM core capabilities and associated performance functions for fulfilling them.

9. A tool on how to assess the current state of EM programs, determining strategies, activities, and Planning Organizing Equipping Training and Exercising (POETE) EM elements.

10. A summary of case studies that at minimum examine and provide:

a. Organizations had an existing emergency management function prior to the event,

b. Incident After Action Reports highlighting gaps, corrective actions taken and best practices that emerged,

c. Organizations had an integrated preparedness plan and training and exercise plan,

d. Organizational support to develop initiatives and strategic plan specific to EM was established,

e. A trend and comparative analysis of gaps between operational performance and EM functionality, and

f. How organizational buy-in was attained to address the need for an emergency management program.


The ACRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are asked to provide a detailed research plan for accomplishing the project 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. The work proposed must be divided into tasks and proposers must describe the work proposed in each task in detail.

The research plan should include deliverables, for ACRP and panel review and approval, that include at a minimum:

  • A data collection plan.
  • A Technical Memo summarizing interviews of airport EM practitioners (or persons with similar responsibility) and an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) specific to EM programs that may translate into general and airport-specific capabilities, including any specific associated tasks (e.g., utilization of metrics, dashboards, Emergency Operations Center, funding). 

The research plan should also include checkpoints with the ACRP panel, including at a minimum:

1. A kick-off teleconference meeting to be held within 1 month of the Notice to Proceed, and

2. One face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting, as well as web-enabled teleconferences tied to the panel review and ACRP approval of other interim deliverables deemed appropriate.

3. (a) A Summary of Key Findings (see Special Note M); (b) a Further Recommended Research Memo (see Special Note N); and (c) a technical memo titled, “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (see Special Note L). 

Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, there should be 3 months for ACRP review and comments and for contractor preparation of the final deliverables. For budgeting purposes, proposers should assume that ACRP will provide access to web-enabled teleconference services. ACRP will pay panel members’ travel costs for the face-to-face interim meeting. Proposers should assume that the meeting will be held in Washington, DC.


A. Proposers shall include, in their airport population samples, a blend of airport sponsors based on the number of enplanements and geographical locations, providing an initial list of anticipated airports to be considered for interviews.

B. Proposers should address opportunities for future research pertaining to funding capabilities and a cost benefit analysis.

C. Proposer of the research team should have expertise in performing EM capability assessments.

D. 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. 

E. 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.

F. 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.

GProposals 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/6814. Proposers may not contact panel members directly; this roster is provided solely for the purpose of avoiding potential conflicts of interest.

H. 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.

I. Proposals are evaluated by the ACRP 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.

J. 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.

K. 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.

L. The technical memorandum titled, “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” should provide: (a) recommended tactics to facilitate implementation; (b) possible institutions/partners and their potential implementation role; (c) potential impediments to successful implementation; (d) metrics to measure extent of product use and benefit; (e) related FAA guidance; and (f) appendices as needed. An annotated template for the memorandum is found here: https://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/acrp/ACRP_Implementation_TechMemo_Template_2019.pdf.

M. The Summary of Key Findings will be a stand-alone document. It should: (a) convey the most pertinent and applicable results of the project’s research; (b) be geared toward the airport industry practitioner while minimizing technical language; (c) present results using text and graphics as appropriate; and (d) encourage readers to explore the primary project deliverables. The Summary of Key Findings should be limited to no more than 4 pages.

N. The Further Recommended Research Memo will be a stand-alone document. It should: (a) identify logical follow-on research that would benefit the industry yet was beyond the original scope and budget of the project; (b) describe how the proposed follow-on research relates to ACRP’s research roadmaps, if applicable; and (c) for the highest priority research needs, include research ideas that could be submitted as ACRP problem statements.

O. 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.

P. 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/2awC8Kpw0plWmXbVSAtF 
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 3/13/2023.

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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