PacTrans Call for Multi-Institution Project Proposals for FY 2024-2026

Due date: February 12, 2024, for proposal abstracts and April 12, 2024, for full proposals

 

PacTrans is now soliciting research proposals for multi-institution projects (two or more PacTrans universities) under the theme of “developing human-centered and transformative multimodal mobility solutions for an equitable Pacific Northwest.” Each proposal can be for up to $195K of federal funds (with a required 1:1 non-federal match). Specific thrusts are listed as below:

  1. Equity and Accessibility: understand major factors that limit access to efficient and affordable transportation options, and design innovative methods and tools that empower equitable mobility and better access to jobs, Medicare, and other economic/social opportunities.
  2. Multimodal Systems and Connectivity: leverage new technology-based companies, the collective expertise of the consortium, and incentive programs supported by local agencies, to remove barriers for multimodal integration and to ensure a resilient, reliable, and sustainable supply chain for optimal movements of goods and people.
  3. Safety, Resilience and Reliability: develop approaches that work toward a long-term USDOT goal of vision zero and new strategies for safe/efficient evacuations, reliable travels of people and goods, and for fast and resilient recoveries from major disruptions in both urban and rural contexts, for both passenger and freight movements.
  4. Human-System Integration: identify the factors that limit or facilitate system interactions with humans and foster infrastructure-vehicle cooperation technologies and research, including infrastructure/vehicle sensing and data collection, cooperative and infrastructure-enabled traffic-vehicle control, and related issues such as cybersecurity (of both vehicles and the infrastructure) and privacy protection.
  5. Transformative Solutions: a cross-cutting theme to develop flexible and adaptive solutions to anticipate and respond to changing opportunities and challenges in future transportation. Such solutions include new technologies and tools, modeling methods, policies and standards, and best practices that will transform transportation practice and policy.

Each proposal must address one or more of the first four topic areas above, as well as the fifth, cross-cutting area ((5) Transformative Solutions). Proposals in this multi-institutional category should be of regional importance (benefits to more than one state). Also, they require meaningful contributions from more than one consortium partner institution and a 1:1 non-federal match. Cash match from other funding sources such as state DOTs and local agencies, corporations, and foundations is preferred.

The submission procedure contains two steps, (1) proposal abstract submission by February 12, 2024, and (2) full proposal submission by April 12, 2024. Those who miss the abstract submission deadline are not allowed to submit full proposals. Proposal abstracts will be used for selecting the most promising proposals and for timely recruiting reviewers. They will be assessed by a panel, consisting of PacTrans Board of Directors and agency/industry experts, on how well the proposed research effort responds to this solicitation. An abstract will receive one of the two recommendations: encouraged to submit a full proposal or not encouraged to submit a full proposal. PacTrans Board of Directors will share the initial assessment result with the abstract submitters.

Proposal abstracts need to be uploaded onto the PacTrans website by the abstract deadline using the “Multi-Institution Proposal Abstract Submission” page: click here.

Similarly, full proposals need to be uploaded by the full proposal deadline, using the “Multi-Institution Full Proposal Submission” page: click here.

More detailed information about conducting PacTrans-funded research can be found in our PI Handbook. We encourage you to review this document before submitting for funding. The anticipated period of performance starts from August 16, 2024, approximately.

 

Submission Guidelines

Abstracts

Proposal abstract should be submitted by the online form or in an Adobe PDF file with the following required information:

  1. Project title
  2. PIs, their affiliations, and contacts
  3. Focus area (one or more of the topic areas listed in this RFP)
  4. Possible/Likely match funds provider(s)
  5. Regional Importance (benefits to more than one state, 150 words maximum)
  6. Proposal abstract (350 words maximum)
  7. Research type (applied research vs advanced research)

Full Proposals

Proposal Template <click here>

The full proposal should be NO MORE THAN TEN (10) pages (without references, resumes, similar work disclosure, and match letters) and include the following categories:

  1. Project Title
  2. Project Type: USDOT collects statistics on the types of research that PacTrans funds. Most specifically they distinguish between advanced research and applied, or practical research. Your project will not be judged based on its type but please indicate whether your proposal is considered advanced or applied research.
  3. Collaborators and Affiliations: The project needs to identify the PI, lead organization, and collaborating institution(s) and respective co-PI(s). The study for multi-institution projects needs to include at least one additional consortium partner in a meaningful way for projects up to $195K. Please note that ONLY the five primary consortium universities of PacTrans are qualified partners.
  4. Project Goal: Identify the purpose of the project as it relates to the region (benefits to more than one state), the relevancy to the PacTrans theme (see above), and the strategic goal of Mobility.
  5. Relevancy of Institutional Partnerships: Projects should demonstrate the importance of working with more than one institution to address the project goal. That is, what is the ADDED value/benefit from working with another institution that cannot be done solely within one institution?
  6. Research Background and Problem Statement: What problem is being solved and why should anyone care.
  7. Approach: General framework for what you plan to do, approach, methodology, etc. This also includes the task list table included in the proposal template.
  8. Technology Transfer Plan: Outcomes, Outputs, and Impacts: USDOT is becoming increasingly interested in Technology Transfer, which they break down into three parts: outcomes, outputs, and impacts. (For more on these parts see recent USDOT T2 Primer here: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/12262). Please clearly describe all of your intended outcomes and outputs, as well as probable impacts of your work.
  9. Required Recorded Seminar/Webinar: In the spirit of this new emphasis on Technology Transfer. PacTrans requires PIs of our funded projects to facilitate, as one of your deliverables, a recorded presentation of your research and results. We highly recommend that this either be an in-person seminar or a webinar with current project partners and/or potential users of your research outcomes. Here please briefly describe how you intend to fulfill this deliverable and list likely in-person and/or virtual invitees to your presentation.
  10. Amount of UTC Funds Requested and Budget Justification: A maximum of $195K is available for each multi-institutional project. IDENTIFY THE AMOUNT to be allocated to each institution, and populate the summary budget table in the proposal template.
  11. Non-federal Match: Justification for and commitment of the match is required. This can include a formal letter from the state agency, your university, or other non-federal source that shows the interest to commit the match, the amount, and type of match (in-kind or cash). Also, a contact person for the matching source should be identified in the proposal. However, to minimize the amount of match letter asks we do of our external partners, we do not require you to provide match letters during the proposal phase but only after your project is selected (it is optional). We do however highly encourage you to be in conversations with potential match partners and make those conversations known in this section.
  12. Similar Work Disclosure: PacTrans needs to ensure that work proposed for our funding is not overly similar to work already funded elsewhere. Please briefly describe any similar work currently funded through other sources that is closely related to the work proposed here and, more specifically, highlight the differences between the two scopes. PacTrans may request a copy of the most closely related proposal or project report for evaluation purposes.
  13. References: The literature cited in the proposal need to be provided.
  14. Resumes: Copy and paste one-page resumes for the project’s Principal Investigators.

Please note that up to ten pages are allowed for categories 1-11 above. Each institution can lead no more than one funded multi-institution research project in each funding cycle. Although there is no limit on how many proposals may be submitted from an institution as the lead or supporting partner, all partners involved in each project must have a meaningful role clearly described in the proposal. Per USDOT requirements, a data management plan for each funded project is required. PacTrans will require selected proposals to submit a data management plan later. In this stage, no data management plan is needed.

 

Review Process

Abstract

  • PacTrans External Advisory Board weighs in on how well they believe each abstract addresses at least one of the first four areas bulleted in the RFP ((1) Transportation Equity and Accessibility; (2) Multimodal Systems and Connectivity; (3) Safety, Resilience and Reliability; (4) Human-System Integration), as well as addressing the fifth, cross-cutting area ((5) Transformative Solutions).
  • PacTrans External Advisory Board also provides constructive feedback about each abstract at this stage.
  • PacTrans’ Board of Directors similarly weighs in on how well they believe each abstract addresses our UTC focus as it pertains to the five bulleted areas in the RFP.
  • PacTrans Board of Directors then makes determinations for each abstract as to whether we encourage the PI to proceed to the full proposal round or discourage them from doing so.
  • At this point PIs are also provided with the constructive feedback provided by the PacTrans External Advisory Board to consider while drafting full proposals.

Full Proposal

  • PacTrans will request three external peer reviewers for each proposal. The reviewers will have one month to review. The external peer review form will be sent to each PI with our response to your abstract submission.
  • Decisions will be made by the PacTrans Board of Directors based on those external reviews.
  • Reviewer comments MUST BE sufficiently addressed by the winning PIs before funding can be allocated.

Budget Considerations

Proposal Budget Template <click here>

  • Each participating university in a multi-institution project receives their respective awarded amounts directly from the UW and is not required to administer any other funds for the project other than their institution’s award.
  • A detailed budget is needed and should clearly identify the source of the 1:1 non-federal matching. The budget should include funds for project reporting and travel to the PacTrans regional conference to present results to the Region 10 community.
  • A signed letter from the non-federal source (or related documentation) needs to accompany the budget.

 

Due dates

  • Submission deadline for the proposal abstracts: February 12, 2024
  • Initial feedback to abstract proposers: February 26, 2024
  • Submission deadline for the full project proposals: April 12, 2024
  • Decisions to proposers: May 13, 2024
  • Revised proposal with comments properly addressed by bidders for final acceptance: June 3, 2024

 

Questions

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the Region 10 Associate Director for your respective campus or PacTrans staff:

Dr. Jeff Ban, Associate Director in Research, University of Washington

Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Rahim, University of Idaho

Dr. Jennifer Dill, Portland State University

Dr. Xianming Shi, Washington State University

Dr. Osama Abaza, University of Alaska system (including Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Southeast)