The National Academies

NCHRP 03-151 [RFP]

Data Subsystems and Data Management Plans for Traffic Management Systems

Posted Date: 11/8/2023

  Project Data
Funds: $500,000
Contract Time: 30 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: 10/1/2024 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Dr. Zuxuan Deng
   Phone: 2023342305
   Email: zdeng@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 12/22/2023
Fiscal Year: 2024


Traffic management systems (TMSs) are deployed in the United States to improve the efficiency, safety, and reliability of travel on designated portions of the surface transportation network. TMSs are typically large, complex systems, that consist of a number of subsystems (e.g., ramp metering, traffic signal control, dynamic message sign, data, traveler information, communication, software, hardware), as well as a range of components (e.g., dynamic message signs, detection devices/sensors, closed-circuit television cameras, signal heads, controllers, communication switches, servers, video wall, phones).

TMSs capabilities could support different services, functions, tasks, or actions. For example, some TMSs manage only the vehicular traffic on freeways in each region, while others may manage the entire road network, which may include surface streets and freeways. TMSs may also have different roles and responsibilities (e.g., sharing roadway and traveler information) that involve sharing, coordinating, or making information available to other agencies, systems, or service providers (e.g., emergency services, transit).

TMSs range in size (i.e., coverage area), functionality (e.g., incident management, ramp management), services (e.g., traveler information, managing traffic across institutional boundaries), and capabilities (e.g., whether or not the system includes a traffic management center, which can be used for sharing information).

Significant changes have occurred with cloud options available to agencies to store data. TMSs have traditionally been designed with local servers and limited ability to modify or make changes. Technical options are available to support agencies making changes in the design, configuration, and technologies used to support a data subsystem (see Special Note A). 

Limited technical information and resources exist to help agencies assess the capabilities and evolving needs for TMSs data subsystems. There are limited resources to support agencies integrating the needs and requirements of data subsystems into the decisions made in planning and programming processes throughout the life cycle of a TMS (e.g., how to plan, design, or procure needed data storage and management capabilities). Agencies face challenges with systematically managing data as part of their TMSs operation. There are limited resources for agencies to use or to assist with data management (e.g., archiving, use, configuration, monitoring use), and issues with receiving, sharing or using data with third-party sources or within an agency (e.g., licenses, proprietary, sensitive information). Research is needed to help agencies better manage data in TMSs.  


The objective of this research is to develop two technical reports to support agencies’ decision-making processes and frame the opportunities for agencies to consider when contemplating improvements to data subsystems and data management plans (DMP, see Special Note B) of their TMSs:

  • Report No.1, Data Subsystems for TMSs, and
  • Report No.2, DMP for TMSs.

 Accomplishment of the project objective will require completion of the following tasks.


Task 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 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. 


Task 1. Conduct a review of current practice and identify gaps through literature review, surveys, interviews, etc., of agencies on the assessment, benchmarking, planning, design, management, and procurement of TMSs data subsystems. The comprehensive review will focus on identifying effective data management plans and practices appropriate for TMSs and provide insights on how data management practices address issues related to data standards, quality, documentation, and licensing, which are particularly important when external data is involved. This review will build off research and technical resources specific to agencies to use or adapt to meet the needs, requirements (e.g., real-time operation), and constraints for TMSs.

Task 2. Synthesize findings from Task 1 in a white paper (approximately 15 - 20 pages) to identify the knowledge gaps related to the research objective. The white paper is not intended to be a compendium of papers or summary literature review. It should present insights and gaps identified based on the synthesis of findings from literature review, surveys, and interviews. These gaps should be addressed in the final deliverables or the recommended future research as budget permits.

Task 3. Develop draft annotated outlines and review schedule for Reports No. 1 and No. 2. Each annotated outline is intended to provide the foundation, context, and framework for the subject matter in the technical reports to be developed in Task 6. These annotated outlines will include key technical topics, issues, major concepts, current trends and practices, examples, lessons learned, and checklists of issues to consider. The initial annotated outline will be submitted prior to the NCHRP panel meeting as specified in Task 4. The revised annotated outline submitted will address the comments provided prior to developing the two reports in Task 6.

While the contractor has discretion on the structure of the annotated outline, the following specific requirements shall be adhered to:

  • The first section of each chapter after the introduction chapter will explicitly state its purpose, objectives, key topics covered in chapter, context for key issues, gaps, how the chapter is organized, how information in chapter builds off of prior chapter, how it will assist the reader with the next chapter, and a list of the remaining sections in the chapter.
  • The first chapter of the report will address: purpose, objectives, focus or scope of the report, describe the technical focus and issues addressed in the report, provide the context of these technical issues (e.g., current practices, gaps in practice, challenges agencies are facing, why recommended practices are not used), opportunities for enhancing practices, potential benefits and outcomes from applying recommended practices, framework of technical issues covered in report, examples of practices within the report and context for material, intended audience, how report is structured, and how readers might consider navigating through the material and document.
  • The second chapter will provide a technical overview and context for all technical content to be included in this report.
  • Each chapter (not including the introduction) is expected to identify list of issues for the reader to consider specific to the chapter (e.g., issues to consider, challenges, policy implications, procedural, technical), current practices, highlight agency practices, and provide graphics reinforcing the objectives and key concepts specific to each chapter.

Report No. 1, Data Subsystems for TMSs, will review and compile information from available resources, offer insights, and synthesize current practices for agencies to consider when assessing, identifying needs, framing options to improve, developing requirements, and reviewing options to incorporate these needs and requirements into improvement projects or planning for the next generation of an agencies TMS’s data subsystems (e.g., performance management system (PeMS), traffic signal control system, traveler information system, ramp metering system). This information will support agencies (i) determining the appropriate factors to consider with assessing the capabilities of their data subsystems, identifying needed enhancements, and reviewing options to consider with making any improvements, and (ii) developing requirements and identifying other issues (e.g., resources, buy, lease, security) to be considered when selecting methods to acquire and implement data subsystems, and resources to store and manage data for current and future TMSs’ improvement.

 At a minimum, Report No.1 must consist of the following:

  • Introduction
  • Definition of data subsystems
  • Assessing data subsystems
  • Needs for data subsystems
  • Requirement for data subsystems (e.g., measure of effectiveness, requirement for functions/action/services)
  • Planning for improving data subsystems (e.g., requirement, operation and maintenance, cost, options, deployment, benefits)
  • Procuring data subsystems
  • Evaluating and selecting data storage options
  • Managing and maintaining data subsystems (organization chart, roles/support, positions requirement, contracting)
  • Data subsystems design – interoperability and configure legacy storage
  • Process (i.e., system engineering process)
  • Options to get started with transition to new storage
  • Data governance
  • Cyber security

Report No. 2, DMP for TMSs, will provide a technical reference for creating holistic lifecycle DMPs to assist agencies managing data to facilitate TMSs collecting, using, or sharing data within their agency, with other systems, or the public. This report will review and compile current practices of data management and techniques appropriate to meet the needs and requirements unique to TMSs (e.g., real-time data collection, multiple systems in different locations, virtual operation). This report will identify issues to consider with developing or updating data management policies, procedures, plans, resource needs, and practices in support of meeting the needs and requirements unique to TMSs.

At a minimum, Report No.2 must consist of the following:

  • Introduction
  • Definition of DMP
  • Elements of DMP
  • Assessment and identify data management practices and capabilities of an agency
  • Quality assurance/quality control
  • Data storage
  • Manage use of data (interface)
  • Data inventory
  • Configuration and maintenance
  • Data governance
  • Data security
  • Decision support (update or restart)

Task 4. Organize a virtual meeting with the NCHRP panel to review and obtain feedback on the two draft annotated outlines developed in Task 3. Revise the draft annotated outlines based on written and oral feedback from the NCHRP panel meeting. Submit revised versions of each annotated outline for NCHRP’s review and approval, prior to the development of each technical report in Task 6.

Task 5. Prepare Interim Report No. 1 documenting the results of Tasks 1 through 4 and provide an updated plan for the remainder of the research. The updated plan must describe the methodology and rationale for the work proposed for Phase II. 

NOTE: Following a 1-month review of Interim Report No. 1 by the NCHRP, the research team will be required to meet virtually with the NCHRP project panel to discuss the interim report no later than 12 months after contract award. Work on Phase II of the project will not begin until authorized by the NCHRP. Phase I budget shall not exceed $150,000.


Task 6. Develop Reports No. 1 and No. 2 and submit to the NCHRP panel’s review per the schedule according to the approved Interim Report No.1.

Task 7. Develop two PowerPoint presentations (approximately 30 minutes each) for the two technical reports developed in Task 6. The presentation slides shall specify the research purpose, objectives, key issues addressed, research products developed, and the potential benefit or value of the products. The draft presentations will be reviewed, and comments provided will be addressed in the final versions of the presentations. The contractor is expected to present the project findings in a webinar to be organized by TRB after dissemination of the project deliverables.

Task 8a. Prepare agenda and materials for one workshop with at least 5 representatives from state and local agencies to review and provide feedback on the final draft reports and presentations. The representatives should be from state and local agencies in varying geographic regions and size. Submit workshop materials and proposed attendee list for the NCHRP panel’s review and approval.

Task 8b. Conduct one workshop as approved in Task 8a. Revise the final draft reports, presentations, and other workshop materials taking into account feedback gathered during the workshop and submit for the NCHRP project panel’s review.

NOTE: The costs for the workshop, including invitational travel for at least 5 attendees (not including members of the research team), must 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) or state DOT facilities. NCHRP will cover costs associated with NCHRP panel member travel. Catering services for all participants including panel members must be included in the detailed budget for the research.

Task 9. Prepare the final deliverables including the following: 

  1. A conduct of research report that documents the entire research effort, any lessons learned, and recommendations for future research; 
  2. Final reports;
  3. Media and communication material (e.g., PowerPoint presentations, two-page executive level flyer for each report, graphics, graphic interchange format (GIF)s, press releases); and 
  4. A stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products.” See Special Note K for additional information. Additional funding may be available for a follow-up contract on the implementation of the results.

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




A. For this RFP, data subsystems refer to the data element of the TMS’s subsystems (e.g., ramp metering, traffic signal control, etc.). The design or structure of a TMS can be broken down into its physical elements and its logical elements. The physical elements include the subsystems and the components. The logical elements are the operational strategies, functions, actions, and services. Each of these subsystems collects data that can be referred to as a data subsystem.  A data subsystem needs constant archiving, configuration, and management with the evolution of data itself within the subsystem. A data-driven decision-making process for agencies may be done with the help of several data subsystems from several TMS’s subsystems.   

B. A Data Management Plan (DMP) outlines how the data will be handled in a TMS.  The industry practices exist but vary.  Adding effective practices to the process of developing and managing TMSs will help support the archiving and use of data. Hence, agencies can effectively access and use the information that TMSs provide.

C. The Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs were revised in May 2023. Please take note of the new and revised text which is highlighted in yellow. 

D. 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.

E. 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.

F. 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/6898. Proposers may not contact panel members directly; this roster is provided solely for the purpose of avoiding potential conflicts of interest. 

G. 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.

H. 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.

I. 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.

J. 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.

K. 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

L. 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.

M. 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/xV9f1msY8y8RZetxK6Nl 
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 12/22/2023.

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 IV 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).

To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=5491