The National Academies

NCHRP 20-06/Topic 27-04 [Pending]

Managing Performance for Innovative Technology Contracts
[ NCHRP 20-06 (Legal Problems Arising out of Highway Programs) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $100,000
Contract Time: 12 months
Staff Responsibility: Gwen Chisholm-Smith


The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) plans to award a contract for a study and report. Legal reports sponsored by this project are published in NCHRP's Legal Research Digest (LRD) series. Publications are available to some libraries and approximately 4,000 transportation lawyers and officials through the TRB distribution network.


In the last decade, information technology applications for transportation have changed and improved how state departments of transportation (DOTs) services, including parking and active transportation, are operated, used, and funded. The transportation industry has also observed significant shifts in the behavior of travelers and the market trends caused by social, economic, and environmental factors and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Most state DOTs want to utilize these new technologies to enhance and improve transportation services. Accordingly, they will seek third-party technology experts (“vendors”) to provide and integrate the new technologies into the services. Such vendors are relied upon to develop, deploy, operate, and maintain new technology applications in accordance with certain stated specifications. This reliance on vendors may create challenges in procuring and overseeing these services for the agencies. 


The objective of this research is to gather and present information on innovative mobility technologies and tools to help state DOTs with contracts to achieve desired vendor performance in a cost-effective manner. 

This study will:

  • Identify appropriate contractual tools for performance management, e.g., compensation structure, incentives/disincentives, liquidated damages, and performance bond, for innovative mobility technology contracts;
  • Evaluate the suitability of contractual tools for new technologies, e.g., microtransit, mobile payment, and real-time data;  
  • Outline the considerations when drafting relevant contract terms and special provisions; for terms that involve monetary consequences, identify existing intellectual property or solutions, define data sharing and interoperability requirements, and summarize the principles or methods in quantifying the monetary consequences;
  • Document successful practices for using contractual tools in contractor performance management, covering the major types of new technologies in transit; and
  • Provide sample contract language, including key performance indicators, for performance management that can be tailored by transit agencies and DOTs as needed.


This research will be conducted in four tasks under a firm fixed-price agreement.

Task 1. Develop a research plan and detailed report outline. The consultant will (1) prepare a plan to conduct research and collect relevant material, and (2) propose a detailed report outline. The research plan should be 8-12 pages and include the proposed survey if one is to be used. The report outline should contain sufficient detail to show the NCHRP project panel what a 75-to-100-page report will contain and include the estimated pagination for each proposed section and subsection. This material will be submitted to NCHRP for approval.

Task 2. Conduct research. After approval of the work plan, the consultant should conduct additional research and case and statutory/regulatory analysis.

Task 3. Submit draft report in accordance with the approved work plan (including modifications required by NCHRP).

Task 4. Submit final report. The consultant should anticipate making two revisions to the report before it is finalized. One revision may be required after review by NCHRP staff and members of a subcommittee. Final revisions may be necessary after the full committee has reviewed the report.

FUNDING: $100,000


25% paid upon submission and approval of the Task 1 report.

50% paid upon submission and approval of the Task 3 report.

25% paid upon submission and approval of the final report (following revisions as required by NCHRP).


STATUS: A response has been received for this RFP.  The project panel will meet to determine next steps.

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