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FAQ - State and Local Government Data Analysis Tools for Roadway Safety Notice of Funding Opportunity

Updated 12/17/2019

General Information

What is the State and Local Government Data Analysis Tools for Roadway Safety Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)?

The NOFO advances the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT or the Department) safety strategic goal, which includes using a data-driven systemic safety approach, by providing funding to build the capacity of State, local, and Tribal governments to use tools and information for policy and decision-making to improve roadway safety. The listing addresses an unmet need and is an important next step in the Safety Data Initiative (SDI), which focuses on leveraging data integration, data visualization, and the use of advanced analytics to better understand surface transportation safety risks. Participants will develop, refine, and deploy roadway safety tools that address specific safety problems. This will accelerate the roadway safety community’s ability to gain new safety insights from data and apply information in a meaningful way that can lead to more precise, informed, effective, and/or efficient practices.

This NOFO solicits applications to form partnerships between DOT and State, local, and Tribal governments through cooperative agreements. State, local, and Tribal governments will develop, refine, and implement safety tools that address specific safety problems. The funding will support technical assistance, as well as peer exchanges to encourage the sharing of best practices and lessons learned. At the end of the partnership, DOT will receive the blueprints of the data analysis tools to scale and replicate the work in other jurisdictions. 


Will non-safety related transportation (e.g. congestion improvement) submissions be considered?

The applications should identify a safety problem as part of the application.


How do you define a safety problem?

An applicant is responsible for identifying and defining the safety problem as part of the application. The practitioners and stakeholders in your organization/community could be one source of information to define the safety problem. 


What modes of transportation can apply?

The funding is for roadway safety. This could include but is not limited to infrastructure, behavioral and motor vehicle safety. 


The solicitation asks that you identify a knowledge gap. Can you elaborate on what a knowledge gap is?

A knowledge gap is missing information by transportation professionals or the public at-large that, if filled, could help people better understand or address an existing safety problem. An example on impaired driving: a community has an issue with impaired drivers and alcohol-related crashes. The applicant and the safety practitioners lack information on where the crashes are happening, who are involved in the crashes, how often drivers are pulled over and arrested on suspicions of impaired driving, and what happens to those individuals after the initial arrest. The lack of who/what/where/when/outcomes may hinder the applicant’s ability to craft interventions.


What types of safety tools can be funded for development and refinement?

The safety tool ought to provide information to better understand the safety problem identified in the application. As described in the NOFO, found here, the Department intends to fund projects that will either:

  1. Further develop and refine SDI Beta Safety Tools (Category A); or
  2. Refine and develop other, specific safety tools identified in the application (Category B)

More Information can be found in the Category A and B safety tool sections of the FAQs, as well as on our Category A FAQ Subpage here


How would it impact the grant proposal if the purpose of the proposed tool is to improve access to the data rather than answering a specific research question?
The project narrative in the application requires specific research questions. The development, refinement, and implementation of a safety tool could include improving access to the data, but the applicant must identify the safety problem and research questions. 


Would a tool for State/local agencies to prepare data for traffic safety requirements be appropriate for this solicitation scope?
An application must include specific research questions and the identification of the safety problem. The development, refinement, and implementation of a safety tool could include preparing data for traffic safety requirements, but the applicant must identify the safety problem and research questions.


Does the cover page and table of contents count towards the 15-page limit?

The 15-page limit excludes the cover page required in Section D – Application and Submission Information under Application instructions in a). A table of contents would count towards the 15-page limit.


Timeline and Deadlines


When was the Safety Data Initiative NOFO Solicitation Webinar?

A webinar was hosted on December 3rd, 2019 at 2:30pm Eastern Time (ET). The date for the webinar has passed, but the slides are located here. The recording for the webinar is located here.


When are applications due?

Applications are due January 17, 2020 at 3:00 pm ET. See the NOFO here.


Can I submit an application after the submission deadline?

As described in the NOFO, no submissions after the submission deadline on January 17, 2019 at 3:00 pm ET will be considered. See the NOFO here.


When will the selected awardees be announced?

The estimated announcement of selected awardees will be Spring of 2020. 


Eligibility and Partners


Who is eligible to receive funding?

Eligible Primary Applicants are State or local governments, metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) and regional governments, other political subdivisions of a State or local government, as well as tribal governments. (US) Private sector, research or academic institutions, national organizations and other nongovernment stakeholders are permitted to be partners but are not eligible to be the Primary Applicant.


Can multiple government jurisdictions be primary applicants together on a project (e.g., multiple bordering States or counties)?

A team with partners from multiple jurisdictions is permitted. If a joint application is received, evaluated, and selected for an award, the Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST) will enter into an agreement with only ONE of the joint applicants. The application should note which jurisdiction would be the Primary Applicant. The one jurisdiction would be responsible for managing the cooperative agreement with OST.


Can an individual jurisdiction submit multiple applications?

Yes, the same jurisdiction may submit multiple, separate application entries.


Are municipal (city) governments eligible to be Primary Applicants?

Yes.


Can proposals include partners from different States?

Yes.


Are public research and academic institutes eligible to be Primary Applicants?

No, but such an entity could be a partner on a team with an eligible Primary Applicant. 


Are non-profit entities operating for quasi-public purposes eligible to be Primary Applicants?

No, but such an entity could be a partner on a team with an eligible Primary Applicant. 


Are small and disadvantaged businesses eligible to be Primary Applicants?
No, but such an entity could be a partner on a team with an eligible Primary Applicant.  


May a primary applicant partner with a private sector firm based outside of the United States?
Foreign entities may be partners, and the Primary Applicant is responsible for ensuring the foreign entity’s compliance (as a sub-recipient) with the applicable requirements, including 2 CFR Part 200. 2 CFR § 200.101(c) permits foreign entities and organizations except where DOT determines it would be inconsistent with the international obligations of the United States


Category A SDI Beta Safety Tools


What are Category A SDI Beta Safety Tools?

SDI Beta Safety Tools have already been developed by US DOT or in conjunction with a SDI activity. The Category A tools are:

  • University of Central Florida’s Real Time Crash Risk Visualization
  • Ford’s Safety Insights
  • 2-Step Model
  • Safety Applications of Waze Data
  • FARS Visualizations
  • Pedestrian Fatality Risk Map

Information on the pilots, including recordings, are located at https://www.transportation.gov/SafetyDataInitiative/Pilots

Some Category A SDI Beta Safety Tools have a sub-FAQ for specific questions related to that tool. For those FAQs please visit here.


Where can I find information on the SDI Beta Safety Tools or Category A tools?

Information about the SDI Beta Safety Tools is available on our website at https://www.transportation.gov/content/safety-data-initiative, as well as through the webinar located here.


If I want to use a SDI Beta Safety Tool or Category A tool what does that entail?

The applicant would identify which SDI Beta Safety Tool to be employed, and what refinement would be done to fit your information needs. OST expects the application to propose a derivative product based on the tools built to date if the Applicant chooses Category A.


Are the SDI Beta Safety Tools currently available to the public?

The 2-Step Model, FARS Visualizations, and Pedestrian Fatality Risk Map tools are publicly available and are posted on the SDI website. Demos and descriptions of the University of Central Florida’s Real Time Crash Risk Visualization, Ford’s Safety Insights, and safety applications of Waze data tools are publicly available, but the tools themselves are not on the SDI website.

More information on Category A SDI Beta Safety Tools can be found here.


Do you have recommendations on which tools would work best at certain levels (cities, counties, MPOs, states)?

This would be contingent on the problem you are trying to solve, and the derivative product you plan on producing as part of refining the Category A SDI Beta Safety Tools. Depending on the scope most of the Category A SDI Beta Safety Tools could work at multiple levels of geography.


Does each Category A tool have a list of the core/base data that would be needed from a jurisdiction to make the tool work?

This would be contingent on the problem you are trying to solve, and the derivative product you plan on producing as part of refining the Category A SDI Beta Safety Tools. Most tools would be enhanced with data not available at the Federal level, such as reported crashes and other safety risk information. Another potential derivative product would involve integrating additional data sources. If you are considering a specific tool and want to better understand potential data needs, please contact the appropriate point of contact.


Are the Category A tools' data and source code available to use for local implementation or are applicants' supposed to partner with the developer companies and agencies to implement them?

The public availability of data and code is contingent on the Category A tool:

  • University of Central Florida’s Real-Time Crash Risk Visualization Tool for Traffic Safety Management: the applicant is expected to partner with the University of Central Florida, who has the data and source code.
  • Ford’s Safety Insights: the applicant is expected to partner with Ford Motor Company, who has the data and source code.
  • 2-Step Model. The software product is available on the Safety Data Initiative website.
  • Safety applications of Waze: source code from previous work can be made available, and OST has access to Waze data for those who are approved users.
  • Pedestrian Fatality Risk Map: the source code is publicly available at   https://github.com/USDOT-OST/Pedestrian-Fatality-Risk-Project. Note most but not all of the code used for the project is available on the Github site. The derived data set from the original work is available, and all data sources were publicly available.
  • FARS Visualization: the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data set is publicly available. The Tableau code and transformed FARS data developed for the two beta products is available for use.

If I have further questions about the Category A SDI Beta Safety Tools who should I reach out to?

Real-Time Crash Risk Visualization Tool for Traffic Safety Management

Mohamed Abdel-Aty, Ph.D., P.E. F.ASCE, F.ITE, Pegasus Professor and Chair

University of Central Florida (UCF), Dept. of Civil, Environmental & Construction Engineering

Email: M.Aty@ucf.edu | Phone: 407-823-4535

Ford’s Safety Insights

Cal Coplai, AICP, Product Owner

Ford Motor Company

Email: ccoplai@ford.com

2-Step Model

Wei Zhang, Ph.D., P.E., Highway Research Engineer/Program Manager

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Safety R&D, U.S. Department of Transportation

Email: wei.zhang@dot.gov | Phone: 202-493-3317

Safety Applications of Waze Data

Daniel Flynn, Ph.D., Data Scientist

Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, U.S. Department of Transportation

Email: Daniel.Flynn@dot.gov | Phone: 617-494-3665

Pedestrian Fatality Risk Map

Paul Teicher, Senior Policy Analyst

The Safety Data Initiative Team

U.S. Department of Transportation

Email: USDOTSafetyDataInitiative@dot.gov

FARS Visualizations

Paul Teicher, Senior Policy Analyst

The Safety Data Initiative Team

U.S. Department of Transportation

Email: USDOTSafetyDataInitiative@dot.gov

Are there FAQs specifically for the Category A SDI Beta Safety Tools?
Yes, they can be found here.


Category B Safety Tools 


How should we handle an idea for a Category B tool that may have some similarities or overlap with a Category A SDI Beta Safety Tool?

Using Category A tools would start with the SDI Beta Safety Tools developed to date from the list of our SDI Beta Safety Tools list, and propose a derivative project. An existing tool that has similarities but would not connect to work performed for the six Category A tools would most likely be a Category B tool.


Is the visualization component a requirement for Category B applications?

The safety tool ought to convert data into information that is useful for decision making. An applicant has flexibility in how to convey information derived from the tool.


Can applicants who want to submit a Category B application choose to sole source with a vendor to develop our own product?

For Category B tools the applicant is responsible for any RFPs to execute partnerships.


Data Deliverables


One of the required deliverables is the developed software. Does this include mandatory release of all source code?
Not necessarily. The submission shall propose a delineation of ownership at the end of the period of performance (e.g., public domain, ownership retained by Applicant including any proposed commercialization but licensed to USDOT, USDOT ownership, etc.). USDOT shall receive a minimum amount of information that is further described in Section D – APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION Part d) Data Documentation, End Products, and Intellectual Property. 


The application uses proprietary software that was created before the solicitation was released. Are the Primary Applicant or the partners required to submit all software information, including source code and execution code, to DOT as a deliverable?
Applicants are free to propose any structure to the ownership of the tools, including the advancement of any existing software/tools, as part of the data documentation deliverable. At a minimum, the Primary Applicant shall provide DOT a license to the developed materials arising out of the Primary Applicant’s effort under this funding opportunity that is perpetual and sub-licensable. 


How does the delineation of the safety tool ownership affect the evaluation of the application?
Successful use cases will not only provide benefits to the jurisdictions where they are being applied, but will also provide blueprints in order to scale and replicate the tools elsewhere. OST encourages Primary Applicants to submit proposals that provide flexibility in the future use of the safety tool products developed. Applications that propose restricted use of the safety tool/software employed may be adversely impacted in two of the five selection criteria –the Potential for Use and the Potential for Replication. See Section E of the funding opportunity for more information on the selection criteria.
 


Matching Funds and In-Kind Contributions


What is considered to be a match or in-kind contribution?
Cost share and in-kind contributions could include but are not limited to:
o    Non-Federal government funds originating from a program funded by non-Federal revenue State or tribal funds originating from programs funded by State/tribal revenue;
o    Private funds; and 
o    Donation of data, professional services, or other goods and services in support of the development or refinement of the safety tool. 

For more information on cost sharing, matching, and in-kind contributions please see 2 CFR § 200.306 Cost sharing or matching. The regulatory text is located here.


Are there options for cost sharing, matching, and in-kind contributions?

Cost sharing or matching is not required, as permitted under 49 U.S.C. § 330(f)(2), because the Secretary of Transportation has determined that the activities that will be funded under this NOFO [IP(1] are of substantial public interest or benefit. However, the OST will favorably consider Applicants who contribute non-federal funding to the project. In-kind contributions are encouraged and will be considered toward the Recipient's share, as described in 2 CFR 200.306. 


Would other Federal funds count as matching funds?

No, only non-Federal matching funds count as matching funds.


If the applicants have existing partnerships with data providers, that would perhaps entail getting data for free or at a lower cost, would that be considered in-kind contribution towards the grant? 
A donation of data would likely be considered an in-kind contribution. For more information on in-kind contributions please see 2 CFR § 200.306 Cost sharing or matching. 


If the applicant is already paying for the data, would that be considered cost-share?
Costs a recipient incurs in carrying out the cooperative agreement for which it does not intend to seek reimbursement may be considered cost share if the costs are otherwise consistent with 2 CFR 200.306 and Subpart E Cost Principles. Please note that only costs incurred after award announcement may be considered toward cost share. Costs incurred prior to award notification are not eligible as cost share. 
 


Use of Funds


Will the funding cover any salary costs?
Costs, such as salaries, incurred in support of carrying out the cooperative agreement project are allocable to a Federal award to the extent such costs meet the requirements of 2 CFR § 200.405


Are these funds intended for experimental treatments versus proven safety counter measures?
The purpose of the funds is the development and refinement of a safety data tool to inform policy and decision making. Contingent on the purpose of the tool, the information derived from the tool may inform experimental treatments or proven safety countermeasures.


Can funding be used to install infrastructure that will be directly used to collect data necessary for the safety tool in development?
The purpose of the funding is for the development, refinement, and implementation of a safety tool. Hardware may be an eligible expense to the extent it furthers the development and refinement of the safety tool, consistent with the Cost Principles set forth in 2 CFR Part 200 Subpart E.


Can we use the funding mainly for equipment with an existing software program? 
The purpose of the funding is for the development, refinement, and implementation of a safety data tool. Equipment may be an eligible expense to the extent it furthers the development and refinement of the safety tool, consistent with the Cost Principles set forth in 2 CFR Part 200 Subpart E


Can we use this funding for developing solutions that have a hardware component along with a software component?
Yes, as long as the hardware component is in support of the development, refinement, and implementation of the safety data tool. 


Should the grant money be directly and only used by the applicants and the partners on the grant? Can the applicants contract the work to people with software expertise to work on developing the tool?
Costs incurred in support of executing the cooperative agreement, including contracting for software expertise, are allowed to the extent the recipient adheres to the applicable procurement standards in 2 CFR 200.317 through 200.326
 


How to Apply


Where can I apply for this opportunity?

You can apply for this opportunity here on Grants.gov. The materials for the opportunity can be accessed on the Related Documents tab after following the link

If you have techincal difficulties with Grants.gov, see What if I am having technical issues with grants.gov? FAQ below. 


What if I am having technical issues with grants.gov?

Please refer to the following links for technical issues with grants.gov:

· Grants.gov Applicant User Guide

· Grants.gov Organization Registration User Guide

You can also contact Grants.gov Customer Support Hotline at 1-800-518-4726, Monday-Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EDT.


Application Review and Awarding Process


What is the anticipated award range?

The expected award range is between $250,000 and $500,000. 


What is the award type?

The award type is a Cooperative Agreement. Disbursement of funding under the award will be phased and contingent on the submission of deliverables as outlined in the table under Section B.2, "Type of Award." OST will pay 50% of the overall funding amount upon completion of the Project Management Plan and the Analytic Design Plan. See the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) here.


What are the criteria for selecting proposals?

As described in the NOFO, DOT will evaluate eligible applications based on the following evaluation criteria, which are ordered from most important (A) to least important (E). A. Technical Merit B. Potential for Use C. Potential for Replication D. Diversity of Receptionist E. Partnerships.


What is the award procedure?

Eligible applications will undergo review and evaluation by officials at the Department. Based on those reviews Departmental leadership determines which applications receive the awards. If an application is selected for an award, the Department will contact the Principal and Alternate Principal contacts listed in the Application submission to finalize the terms of the Cooperative Agreement prior to award. 


Is there a set percentage of the total award amounts that will be set aside for Category A proposals and Category B proposals?

OST expects at least one award for each category.


When will the selected awardees be announced?

The estimated announcement of selected awardees will be Spring of 2020. 


Volpe Data Science Services


For using Volpe Technical Assistance, does a proposal need a service quote from Volpe or include Volpe as a team member?

Instruction on how to use Volpe Technical Assistance is in Appendix A of the NOFO. You may also reach out to Erika Sudderth at Erika.Sudderth@dot.gov for more information.


If I am using Volpe data science services where should it be noted in the Application?
The Application should note it in two places. In a) Cover Page under “Federal Technical Assistance or Data Management Requested” put Yes. In the e) Key Personnel section add a sentence that states you will be using Volpe data science services. 


Does the Applicant include the filled out Appendix A form in their Application?
No. 


Does the Federal funding requested include the amount to be allocated for Volpe data science services?
Yes. 


The webinar described Volpe's workzone detection report and other projects. Is that information  publicly available?

Yes.


Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. 

Last updated: Tuesday, December 17, 2019