The National Academies

NCHRP 17-127 [RFP]

Guide for Applying Quantitative Highway Safety Analysis Methods

Posted Date: 11/9/2023

  Project Data
Funds: $500,000
Contract Time: 30 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: 8/1/2024 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Anne-Marie Turner
   Phone: 202/334-2966
   Email: aturner@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 1/3/2024
Fiscal Year: 2024


The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Highway Safety Manual (HSM) is a guidance document for incorporating quantitative safety analysis in highway planning and development processes. Many procedures contained in the HSM are complex and challenging for the average practitioner to apply. Given the complexities of the HSM, some practitioners may not use the manual to its full potential. Currently, a new edition of the HSM is in development (HSM-2); this edition will have new and expanded analytical tools. A vigorous and in-depth guide is needed to enhance practitioners’ abilities to use HSM procedures to integrate roadway safety across transportation agency program areas.


The objective of this project is to develop a guide focused on the use and application of quantitative highway safety analysis methods in the HSM-2 for informing decisions throughout the project life cycle, including but not limited to programming, planning, preliminary engineering, final design, construction, maintenance, asset management, assessment of transportation impacts from development, and traffic operations. (See Special Note A.) 

The guide will assist practitioners from diverse professional backgrounds and levels of expertise to navigate and properly apply tools in the HSM-2. As a companion document, the guide should use references and not replicate content from the HSM-2.

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


Proposers are asked to develop and present a detailed approach for accomplishing the project objective. The work proposed must be divided into tasks and proposers must describe the work proposed in each task.  Proposers are expected to present a work plan that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals shall (1) present the proposer’s current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach for meeting the project objective, (2) identify data and resources that may be used to craft the guide, and (3) propose a structure of the final guide.
The work plan will describe appropriate tasks and deliverables that include the following (which also represent key project milestones):

PHASE I: Planning for Guide Development

Task 1. A literature review of relevant research related to practitioner application of the HSM. The review shall include published and unpublished research, including a critical analysis of the HSM-2 to identify where additional examples can support practitioner application of HSM procedures.

Task 2. An analysis and synthesis of the results of the literature review to identify the knowledge gaps related to the project objective. These gaps must be addressed in the final product or the recommended future research as budget permits. 

Task 3. A methodology to achieve the project objective to be fully developed in Phase II. At the minimum, the methodology shall incorporate strategies to develop a guide with the following attributes:

  • The appropriate use of the HSM for a broad variety of project stages, scales, complexities, and system configurations;
  • The uses for parts of the HSM (e.g., steps in the safety-management process, the HSM predictive methods, and application of crash modification factors);
  • The use of the HSM in scenario planning, alternative analysis, and performance-based approaches;
  • The use of the HSM to integrate safety performance considerations with other planning, design, and operations functions (e.g., environmental decisions, capacity analysis, and operations analysis), along with coordination with associated manuals and guides;
  • The use of the HSM in the safety-management decision-making process (e.g., network screening, diagnosis, countermeasure selection, economic appraisal of selection, prioritizing projects, and safety-effectiveness evaluation);
  • How to consider and incorporate HSM predictive analysis for roadway and operational conditions that are not addressed by the HSM;
  • The interpretation of results and the role of engineering judgment in HSM analysis (e.g., understanding reliability, communicating results, documentation);
  • The legal considerations for documenting and reporting HSM results (e.g., use of liability neutral engineering language. Please use and refer to NCHRP Legal Research Digest 83: Guidelines for Drafting Liability Neutral Transportation Engineering Documents and Communications Strategies); and
  • The inclusion of case studies and practical examples that present the overall approach and results (instead of step-by-step calculations) while avoiding the use of proprietary tools.

Task 4. A detailed annotated outline for the proposed guide. The outline must include a chapter review schedule with proposed virtual meetings for feedback.

Task 5. An interim report and panel meeting. The interim report must include the analyses and results of completed tasks. The in-person panel meeting will take place after the panel review of the interim report. 

Allow for a 1-month review of the Interim Report by the NCHRP panel. For budgeting purposes, the proposer shall plan on having the in-person panel meeting in Washington, DC. Costs for the in-person meeting venue and travel costs for NCHRP panel members to attend the meeting will be paid separately by NCHRP. Phase I is limited to 20 percent of the project budget.

NCHRP approval is required prior to advancing to Phase II.

PHASE II: Guide Development

Task 6. Two draft sample chapters, identified by NCHRP, that demonstrate writing style, use of graphics, references, illustrations, case studies, and examples. Contractor may not proceed with guide development until Task 6 has been accepted by NCHRP.

Task 7. A draft guide for applying quantitative safety analysis in highway transportation projects and programs with discussion, case studies, and examples. A virtual panel meeting will take place after the panel review of the draft guide. 

Task 8. A virtual workshop developed and hosted by the contractor with at least 15 representatives of state departments of transportation and other practitioners to review the draft guide. The contractor will revise the draft guide based on feedback gathered during the workshop.  

Task 9. Final deliverables that present the entire research product in a manner that will be useful to practitioners and stakeholders. The final deliverables must include the following:

  • The final guide with draft language and format for consideration by AASHTO;
  • A conduct of research report, including an executive summary, that documents all research and project efforts;
  • A technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (see Special Note K);
  • A PowerPoint presentation with speaker notes suitable for a webinar; and
  • A 90-minute recorded webinar overview of the guide suitable to explain the guide and its contents to practitioners. A draft version of the webinar shall be presented to the panel before recording the final webinar.

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.    Descriptions for the purpose of this request for proposal are listed below.

  • Programming:  Prioritization of projects and allocation of resources;
  • Planning: Identifying and aligning the current and future transportation, land use, economic development, travel demand, public safety, health, and regional and local needs;
  • Preliminary engineering: Identification of a project location, concept design, and design parameters typically including a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Record of Decision;
  • Final design: Design activities following preliminary engineering resulting in final construction plans, specifications, and estimates;
  • Construction: Rehabilitation, restoration, reconstruction, resurfacing, and work zone management activities;
  • Maintenance: The preservation, upkeep, restoration, and refinement of the transportation infrastructure;
  • Asset management: Strategic and systematic approach to the management of transportation assets through the life cycle of the asset;
  • Assessment of transportation impacts from development: Review of impacts and proposed mitigations arising from development; and
  • Traffic operations: Management of traffic system operations.

B. The following link provides a draft list of chapters for the HSM-2: https://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/17-71A/DraftChapters.pdf. NCHRP will allow selected contractor access to other interim products on a case-by-case basis. All requests must be submitted in writing.

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/6935. 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/1M4AWem9rrTon2PC5HCf 
Proposals are due not later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on 1/3/2024.

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).

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