The National Academies

ACRP 07-20 [RFP]

Reducing and Managing Disruptive and Unruly Behavior in Airports

Posted Date: 12/20/2022

  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: 6/15/2023 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Joseph D. Navarrete
   Phone: 202/334-1649
   Email: jnavarrete@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 2/8/2023
Fiscal Year: 2023


The number of incidents of threatening and violent behavior in commercial airports has increased in recent years.  Because the focus has been placed on addressing behavior in flight, information and guidelines for airports to address this issue are limited.  Research is needed to identify causes that contribute to unruly behavior, review current processes and practice, and provide guidelines to help airports prevent, reduce, and manage incidents of unruly behavior.


The objective of this research is to develop a guide to reduce and manage disruptive and unruly behavior incidents in a commercial airport setting.

 The guide should include, at a minimum:

  • A primer providing a definition, background, and scope of the issue, including:
    • An understanding of potential offenders (passengers, employees, people experiencing homelessness);
    • Perspectives of relevant stakeholders;
    • Descriptions of possible root causes (e.g., alcohol and drugs, traveler anxiety, travel disruptions, homelessness);
    • Overviews of relevant policies and regulations;
    • General assessment of previous and current initiatives and practices to address disruptive and unruly behavior incidents in airport settings;
    • A review of practices in other settings (e.g., aircraft, stadiums, cruise ships, bus and rail terminals); and
    • Industry challenges to reducing and managing disruptive incidents, including conflicting priorities among stakeholders;
  • Tools and strategies for airports and airport stakeholders to reduce and manage disruptive and unruly behavior incidents based on specific situations (e.g., intentional and unintentional noncompliance, location of incident) including:
    • Facilitating coordination among stakeholders (e.g., federal and local law enforcement, regulators, airlines, airport staff) to ensure consistency among strategies and processes;
    • Measures for post-incident accountability for significant violations as a deterrent;
    • Enhancing training and development for all airport-based employees (e.g., strategies for de-escalation and improved customer service);
    • Developing an awareness/education campaign for the traveling public (e.g., social media, television, radio);
    • Modifying facility design (e.g., materials, acoustics, olfactory, lighting, aesthetics, decompression spaces);
    • Anxiety reduction through onsite communication (e.g., signing, messaging, video) and other initiatives (e.g., pet programs); and
    • Tracking effectiveness of implemented measures;
  • Guidelines to help airports select, implement, and track effectiveness of measures to reduce and manage disruptive incidents based on their unique circumstances (e.g., governance structure, regional/jurisdictional challenges, resource availability); and
  • Case studies of successful implementation and lessons learned.


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, at a minimum, the following interim deliverables, for ACRP and panel review and approval:

  • Review of relevant peer reviewed and trade literature;
  • Data collection and analysis plan, including methods and sources (e.g., surveys, interviews, focus groups, review of incident reports from various stakeholders), variables (e.g., incident type, location of incident, airport characteristics), and metrics (e.g., incidents per unit of enplanements); and
  • Interim report documenting the research effort and results of the project to date including a draft of the primer; the proposed case studies, with rationale; initial list of tools and strategies; and recommended next steps to complete the research.

The research plan should include, at a minimum, the following checkpoints with the ACRP project panel:

  • Kickoff web meeting to be held within 1 month of notice to proceed;
  • Web meeting to review and approve the data collection and analysis plan; and
  • In-person interim report review meeting.

The final deliverables will include:

  • Guide, including primer, tools and strategies, guidelines and case studies;
  • Technical report documenting the entire research process and findings;
  • Technical memo titled, “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (see Special Note M); 
  • Summary of Key Findings (see Special Note N); and
  • Further Recommended Research Memo (see Special Note O).

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. For the purposes of this research, the primary audience is U.S. commercial service airports.

B. Proposers should consider related research and resources when developing their proposed approach including:

C. Proposers should provide in their proposal their initial thinking on the data collection and analysis plan.

D. Proposing team members should include individuals with expertise in law enforcement, airport operations, human-centered design, pertinent legal issues, behavioral science, customer service, and perspectives of relevant stakeholders.

E. 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.

F. 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.

G. 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.

H. 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/6820. Proposers may not contact panel members directly; this roster is provided solely for the purpose of avoiding potential conflicts of interest.

I. 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.

J. 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.

K. 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.

L. 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.

M. 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.

N. 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.

O. 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.

P. 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.

Q. 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/xkfe4Hp3jm4jwo58hj02 
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 2/8/2023.

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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