PacTrans Call for Multi-Institution Project Proposals for FY 2021-2022

Due date: September 18, 2020 for proposal abstracts and November 2, 2020 for full proposals


PacTrans is now soliciting research proposals for multi-institution projects (two or more PacTrans universities) under the theme of “Providing Data-Driven Solutions for the Diverse Mobility Challenges in the Pacific Northwest.”Each proposal can be for up to $180K of federal funds (with a required 1:1 non-federal match). Specific topic areas are listed as below:

  • Accessibility for All: focuses on new tools and platforms that increase access to transportation information, support new mobility services in both connected and isolated communities, and provide assistive technologies for those with physical or cognitive disabilities.
  • System-wide Efficiency: improves efficiency through technologies to connected users and infrastructure systems, identify travel service gaps, improve multimodal connections, and support system integration and optimization.
  • Improved Reliability across Modes: includes innovative methods for managing parking supply, decision support tools for winter road maintenance, and simulation tools for evaluating system performance under extreme conditions.
  • Traffic Safety: focuses on emerging technologies and new methods to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes.
  • Data-Driven Solutions in Transportation: a cross-cutting theme, making extensive use of advanced sensing, communications, and data analytics tools in support of our efforts on accessibility, efficiency, and reliability. We anticipate that the developed data-driven solutions will support one or more of the non-exclusive topic areas.

Each proposal must clearly address one or more of the above topic areas. Also, they require meaningful contributions from more than one 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. At a minimum, your proposal needs to identify the source of your match funds. If you can, it would be ideal to get a signed match letter from your match source. Ultimately we will need signed match letters from all funded PIs before distributing PacTrans funds.
A list of regional research priority topics has been developed by the PacTrans Board of Directors with the assistance of our External Advisory Board. Proposals that address the topics identified in this list are strongly encouraged. This list is not exhaustive so proposals that address regional needs not specified in this list will also be considered with equal weight. To view this list, please click here.

The submission procedure contains two steps, (1) proposal abstract submission by September 18, 2020, and (2) full proposal submission by November 2, 2020. 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 discouraged you from submitting a full proposal.  PacTrans Board of Directors will share the initial assessment result to 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. Anticipated period of performance starts from March 16, 2021 approximately.


Submission Guidelines


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. Match funds provider(s)
  5. Proposal abstract (350 words maximum)
  6. 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 $180K. 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.
  8. Technology Transfer Plan: Outputs, Outcomes, and Impacts: USDOT is becoming increasingly interested in Technology Transfer, which they break down into three parts: outputs, outcomes, and impacts. (For more on these parts see recent USDOT T2 Primer here: 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 this year, will begin requiring 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: A maximum of $180K is available for each project. IDENTIFY THE AMOUNT to be allocated to each institution.
  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. Finally, the time between period between feedback to PIs from PacTrans and the deadline for full proposal submissions is only two weeks. It is therefore important to begin conversations with potential match partners early (ideally during the abstract phase), as many agencies require several weeks to produced signed match letters.
  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 1-10 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 a new USDOT requirement, 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


  • PacTrans External Advisory Board rates each abstract on a scale of 0 to 5 based on how well they believe each abstract addresses at least one of the five areas bulleted in the RFP (Accessibility, Efficiency, Reliability, Safety, and/or Data-Driven Solution).
  • PacTrans External Advisory Board also provides constructive feedback about each abstract at this stage.
  • Similarly the PacTrans Board of Directors rates each abstract on a scale of 0 to 5.
  • Based on the ratings and comments of the external advisory board and their own reviews the PacTrans Board of Directors determines 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. To view the external peer review form, please click here.
  • 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 institutions 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) will be required for any selected project before funds are distributed.


Due dates

  • Submission deadline for the proposal abstracts: September 18, 2020
  • Initial feedback to abstract proposers: October 16, 2020
  • Submission deadline for the full project proposals: November 2, 2020
  • Decisions to proposers: January 31, 2021
  • Revised proposal with comments properly addressed by bidders for final acceptance: February 1, 2021
  • Final decision notification: February 15, 2021


***SPECIAL THIS YEAR: Anticipated period of performance: up to twelve (12) months from contract start date (appx start: March 16, 2021)

This year is anticipated to be the last year of research funding for our FAST Act UTC grant, which will be closing in September of 2022. Thus, the anticipated period of performance for this round of funding is significantly modified. The performance period will be as follows:

  • start date: March 16, 2021
  • draft reports due: January 15, 2022*
  • performance period ends: March 15, 2022

*Due to the tight timeline, PIs will only have access to a maximum of a three-month no-cost extension period if needed.



If you have any questions please don’t 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. David Hurwitz, Oregon State University.

Dr. Eric Jessup, Washington State University

Mr. Billy Connor, University of Alaska system (including Fairbanks, Anchorage and Southeast)