The National Academies

NCHRP 20-123(08) [RFP]

Scoping Study to Update User and Non-User Benefit Analysis for Highways
[ NCHRP 20-123 (Support for AASHTO Committees and Councils) ]

Posted Date: 2/7/2023

  Project Data
Funds: $200,000
Contract Time: 24 months
(includes 1 month for NCHRP review and approval of the interim report and 3 months for NCHRP review and for contractor revision of the final report)
Authorization to Begin Work: 9/15/2023 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: David M. Jared
   Phone: 202/334-2358
   Email: djared@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 3/28/2023
Fiscal Year: 2023


The most recent version of User and Non-User Benefit Analysis for Highways was published in 2010 by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Known and referred to hereafter as the Red Book, this publication helps state departments of transportation (DOTs), regional/local planning agencies, and other transportation professionals evaluate the economic benefits of highway investments.  

Since the publication of the Red Book in 2010, the transportation industry has evolved significantly, and there is a need to update, expand, or even replace the Red Book. For example, transportation agencies take a much broader approach to understanding the economic benefits of not only highway investments but all transportation investments. Also, understanding both user and non-user benefits has become much more complex. Transportation agencies are having to address new performance measures associated with equity, accessibility, and multi-modal performance. All these changes support investigating the need for developing a resource that is responsive to current practitioner needs for estimating the economic benefits of transportation investments.


The objective of this project is to develop a set of recommendations on the need and feasibility of updating, expanding, or replacing current user and non-user benefit analyses for highways.


The NCHRP is seeking 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 must present the proposers’ thinking described in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach in meeting the research objective.  


Task 1. Conduct a literature review. Review the current Red Book and resources published since its release, both within and outside AASHTO and, where pertinent, internationally. The review should focus on identifying innovations since the publication of the Red Book. 

Task 2. Develop a draft stakeholder outreach plan. The goal of the outreach plan is to obtain input from potential users of the guide on (a) familiarity with the Red Book and experience with it; (b) the tools and resources that are currently available; and (c) any gaps and limitations of the current resources. Outreach could include interviews and/or surveys. Stakeholders may include regional/local planning agencies and consultants in addition to state DOTs. Submit a technical memorandum summarizing the results of Tasks 1 and 2, including the draft outreach plan. NCHRP approval of the tech memo is required before work on subsequent tasks may begin. 

Task 3. Conduct stakeholder outreach. The outreach should include a balanced representation of stakeholders from state DOTs and other transportation agencies, consultants, and research institutions. The outreach should include modal diversity and geographic diversity (e.g., urbanized, small urban, and rural areas).  

Task 4. Submit an interim report. The interim report shall summarize the findings of Tasks 1 to 3, including the identification of (a) gaps and limitations, if any, between the Red Book and the needs of transportation professionals; and (b) opportunities for updating, expanding, or replacing the Red Book. NCHRP approval of the interim report is required before work on subsequent tasks may begin. 


Task 5. Develop initial recommendations on updates, additions, or alternatives to the Red Book. Prioritize opportunities for the changes identified in Task 4. Initial recommendations should consider an assessment of available public and private data sources that could support any proposed changes. NCHRP approval of the initial recommendations is required before work on subsequent tasks may begin.  

Task 6. Develop final recommendations and an implementation roadmap. The implementation roadmap should identify the major activities for the changes needed in the Red Book, the associated research, the research timeline, and the level of effort.  

Task 7. Submit final deliverables. Deliverables shall include (1) a conduct of research report summarizing the research effort; (2) an implementation plan (see Special Note I); and (3) a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the research. If updating, expanding, or replacing the Red Book is recommended, the implementation plan should include, as appropriate, preparation of an NCHRP problem statement on the suggested changes to the Red Book and supporting resources such as analytical tools, presentation materials, and a resource library as suggested by the implementation roadmap.  

Note: Following receipt of the preliminary draft final deliverables, the remaining 3 months shall be for NCHRP review and comment and for research agency preparation of the revised 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 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/6826. 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, et al. 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.

Proposals must be uploaded via this link: https://www.dropbox.com/request/6yQ4mv1XTcys5sKDYlN4 
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 3/28/2023.

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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