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A -- Utility Locating Technology Development Utilizing Multi-Sensor Platforms

Notice Date
Notice Type
Combined Synopsis/Solicitation
541712 — Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Biotechnology)
Contracting Office
The National Academies, Transportation Research Board, Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2), 500 Fifth Street NW, Washington, District of Columbia, 20001
ZIP Code
Solicitation Number
Archive Date
Point of Contact
Chuck Taylor,, Phone: 202-334-2065, Linda Mason,, Phone: 202-334-3241
E-Mail Address
ctaylor@nas.edu, lmason@nas.edu
Small Business Set-Aside
SHRP 2 Request for Proposals Focus Area: Renewal Project Number: R01-B Project Title: Utility Locating Technology Development Utilizing Multi-Sensor Platforms Date Posted: March 10, 2009 SHRP 2 Background To address the challenges of moving people and goods efficiently and safely on the nation's highways, Congress has created the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2). SHRP 2 is a targeted, short-term research program carried out through competitively awarded contracts to qualified researchers in the academic, private, and public sectors. SHRP 2 addresses four strategic focus areas: the role of human behavior in highway safety (Safety); rapid highway renewal (Renewal); congestion reduction through improved travel time reliability (Reliability); and transportation planning that better integrates community, economic, and environmental considerations into new highway capacity (Capacity). Under current legislative provisions, SHRP 2 will receive approximately $150 million with a total program duration of 7 years. Renewal Focus Area The U.S. highway system is aging and must be rebuilt while we are driving on it and living next to it. Research in the SHRP 2 Renewal focus area therefore addresses the need to develop a consistent, systematic approach to completing highway projects quickly, with minimal disruption to the community, and producing facilities that are long-lasting. Identifying new technologies for locating underground utilities; developing procedures to speed the evaluation of designs and the inspection of construction; and applying new methods and materials for preserving, rehabilitating, and reconstructing roadways and bridges are among the goals for this focus area. Alternative strategies for contracting, financing, and managing projects and mitigating institutional barriers also are part of the emphasis on rapid renewal. The renewal scope applies to all classes of roads. Project Background Deployment of multiple sensing techniques is currently necessary in many instances in order to image the various utilities of differing materials, sizes, depths, conductivity, ground conditions, surface obstacles, etc. Covering the same ground more than once with different instruments or techniques is inefficient if one pass with multiple sensing devices will suffice. Time constraints, cost of equipment, understanding of equipment capabilities, and operator training may be factors that discourage necessary multiple passes with different devices. Enhanced utility detection and characterization may be gained through a single pass with a multi-sensor platform due to simultaneous signal processing and data fusion. Combined with improved coupling techniques, a multi-sensor platform may lead to enhanced, perhaps automated, interpretation (better quality, lower risk) and better efficiency (less disruption and cost). The goal of this research is not to just place two or more existing separate devices on a single platform, but to improve the detection ability and efficiency, and/or lower equipment and training costs with improved hardware systems and software packages. Project Objective This project will support improvements in the detection and accurate determination of positions of buried utilities beyond Quality Level B as defined by CI/ASCE 38-02, the Standard Guidelines for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface Utility Data. The proposed combinations of new and/or existing sensor technologies and analysis software must offer significant advances in terms of utility detection and position (horizontal and vertical) from the ground surface across a wide range of soil types and site conditions. Enhanced utility detection is the primary objective. The technology will be validated by field tests of a multi-sensor platform that supports near- real- time utility detection and location. This multi-sensor platform must utilize at least two different geophysical methods and also be able to detect and assess existing electronic marker and transponder signals. Incorporation of methods that leverage the presence of known utilities to improve detection performance is encouraged. Tasks Task descriptions are intended to provide a framework for conducting the research. SHRP 2 is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objectives. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach for meeting the research objectives. Phase I- Proof of Concept Task 1: Prepare a detailed technology development plan across all project phases with schedule and milestones detailing hardware and software development and evaluation. This plan should review available sensors and define sensor combinations and data fusion processes to overcome limitations imposed by site conditions or utility material types and sizes. The plan will then define multi-sensor platform components and plans for prototype platform development and field verification. More than a single multi-sensor platform may be proposed to evaluate the entire range of site conditions and utility material types and sizes, if a single "universal" platform is determined to be impractical. The plan should document the rationale behind the one or more recommended platforms and methods and amplify activities presented in the proposal. Precision and bias for utility position and Type I and II errors for utility detection should be described. The plan should include relevant information from other underground utility mapping research projects, and must coordinate with SHRP 2 projects R01-A and R01-C. This Task 1 technology development plan will be due within three (3) months of the contract award. It will be submitted as part of the first Quarterly Progress Report and will be reviewed promptly by SHRP 2 staff and expert group members; approval with recommendations will be provided within two (2) weeks of plan submission. Task 2: Develop a working proof-of-concept of the multi-sensor platform(s) recommended and defined in Task 1 that can be used in laboratory and controlled field trials (this is not intended to be a market-ready design). The research team will take into consideration the size and complexity of the sensor platform(s), and thus probable acceptance by end users. The approximate dimensions of conceptual sensor platform(s), anticipated means of deployment (e.g., hand-carried, push cart, or powered cart), and proposed spatial referencing system under common field conditions (e.g., open sky and beneath overpasses) shall be addressed during the development of the proof-of-concept prototype(s). Platforms can have any combination of passive detection or active signal generation devices. The proof-of-concept must address data fusion capabilities as well. If it becomes necessary to specify more than a single multi-sensor platform in order to meet the above criteria and yet be applicable to the variety of environmental and ground conditions, and utility material types and sizes, then the specifications of each platform, and the range of application conditions that the platform is expected to evaluate, must be defined. Significant advances over current technology should be described, along with precision and bias for utility position and Type I and II errors for utility detection that are expected to be achieved by the prototype(s). Task 3: Demonstrate the prototype(s) with selected site testing of the detection capabilities of the platform(s) developed under Task 2. The tests should be designed to confirm the ability of the prototype enhancements to overcome limitations imposed by site conditions and utility material types and sizes to a maximum depth of 12 feet, and compare the results with the capabilities and limitations of current technology. As part of the test process, the raw signals received from the sensors must be recorded and provided, in addition to the results developed after signal processing, analysis, and interpretation. The results from this task will be used to refine the sensor systems that become the platform(s) that will be evaluated further in Phase II. Task 4: Prepare a Phase I report that documents the results of Tasks1-3, includes a field test plan for Task 6, and a plan for independent testing for Task 7. The field test plan should include details regarding at least five test locations where utility locations have been recently documented to Quality Level B and some points of the utilities to Quality Level A as defined by CI/ASCE 38-02. The test results will allow the performance of the prototype(s) to be compared with prior technologies. The field test plan shall include logistic and budgetary information such as user fees, owner access permission, varieties of soil characteristics, number and kinds of buried utilities, etc. A similar plan should also be developed for the independent testing described in Task 7. Independent testing should be conducted under a range of site conditions by personnel employed by agencies, utilities, or private companies. This Phase I report will be due within 12 months of contract award. Acceptance and approval of the Phase I report is a requirement before proceeding to Phase II. Phase II - Develop and Test Prototype Task 5: Refine the hardware and software in the platform(s) and develop ruggedized Phase II prototype(s) suitable for testing under service conditions. Task 6: The Phase II prototype(s) resulting from Task 5 shall be used for testing in accordance with the approved test plan developed in Task 4. It is expected that the Phase II prototype(s) will be refined based on the Task 6 testing. Develop a users' manual for the hardware and software used in the Phase II prototype(s). Task 7: The Phase II prototype(s) shall be placed in service with an independent provider of utility locating services under a variety of site conditions. The company or agency agreeing to evaluate these prototype(s) should be identified in Task 4. A log showing the productivity of the prototype(s) and utility mapping performance shall be maintained and a report on the performance of the prototype(s) produced. Costs for these independent tests shall be included in the proposal. Refine the users' manual for the hardware and software developed in Task 6 based on the independent testing of the Phase II prototype(s). Task 8: Prepare a final report. The final report should include results from Tasks 1-7, a revised users' manual, and estimated costs for construction and maintenance of the Phase II prototype(s). Deliverables • Task 1 development plan presented in the first Quarterly progress report • Phase I Report documenting Tasks 1 through 3 • Final Report • Quarterly progress reports • Two (2) interim meetings with SHRP 2 staff: one (1) in Washington, DC and one (1) at the contractor's facility or field test site • Telephone conference calls, as needed • One (1) interim meeting with the Technical Coordinating Committee in Washington DC; Irvine, CA; or Woods Hole, MA. Funds Available: Not to exceed $2.0 million for the entire project. Contract Period: Thirty (30) months for the entire project. Responsible Staff: Chuck Taylor, ctaylor@nas.edu, 202-334-2065 Authorization to Begin Work: September 2009, anticipated Proposals (20 single-bound copies) are due not later than 4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on April 21, 2009 This is a firm deadline, and extensions simply are not granted. In order to be considered, all 20 copies of the agency's proposal accompanied by the executed, unmodified Liability Statement must be in our offices not later than the deadline shown, or they will be rejected. Liability Statement The signature of an authorized representative of the proposing agency is required on the unaltered statement in order for SHRP 2 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 printable version of the Liability Statement ( http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/shrp2/LiabilityStatement.pdf ). A free copy of the Adobe Acrobat PDF reader is available at http://www.adobe.com. The Liability Statement is included as Figure 1 in the Manual for Conducting Research and Preparing Proposals for SHRP 2 referred to in General Note 4. Special Note Special Note 1: This project is based, in part, on recommendations developed in a previous SHRP 2 Renewal project, R01 "Encouraging Innovation in Locating and Characterizing Underground Utilities." A PDF file containing the R01 contractor's draft final report is available on request. This project is one of three that build on Project R01 that address underground utility location and characterization. The others are R01 -A, Technologies to Support Storage, Retrieval, and Utilization of 3-D Utility Location Data, and R01-C, Innovations to Expand The Locatable Zone For Underground Utilities. The research team for this project will be expected to coordinate regularly with the teams working on these other projects. General Notes 1. Proposals will be evaluated by SHRP 2 staff and Expert Task Groups (ETGs) consisting of individuals collectively very knowledgeable in the problem area. Selection of an agency is made by the SHRP 2 Oversight Committee, based on the recommendation from SHRP 2 staff and the ETG. The following factors are considered: (1) the proposer's demonstrated understanding of the problem; (2) the merit of the proposed research approach and experimental design; (3) the experience, qualifications, and objectivity of the research team in the same or closely related problem area; (4) the proposer's plan for participation by disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs)-small firms owned and controlled by minorities or women; and (5) the adequacy of facilities. TRB and the SHRP 2 Oversight Committee strongly encourage the significant participation of DBEs in SHRP 2 research contracts. Although no quota is specified nor is DBE participation mandated, the proposer's plan for involvement of DBEs is a factor in contractor selection, and the contractor's adherence to its DBE plan will be monitored during the contract period. Contractors are required to submit periodic reports comparing actual with proposed payments to DBEs. The Contractor Expression of Interest section of the SHRP 2 website is a resource for proposers interested in participating on research teams. This database is being enhanced and will be renamed the Research Team Builder. 2. Any clarifications regarding this RFP will be posted on the SHRP 2 Web site ( http://www.trb.org/shrp2/ ). Announcements of such clarifications will be posted on the front page and, when possible, will be noted in the TRB e-newsletter. Proposers are advised to check the Web site frequently until March 26, 2009, when no further comments will be posted. 3. 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. 4. The essential features required in a proposal for research are detailed in the Manual for Conducting Research and Preparing Proposals for SHRP 2 ( http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/shrp2/PreparingSHRP2Reports.pdf ). Proposals must be prepared according to this document, and attention is directed specifically to Section IV for mandatory requirements. Proposals that do not conform to these requirements will be rejected. 5. 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. 6. 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. IMPORTANT NOTICE Potential proposers should understand that the research project described herein is tentative. The final content of the program depends on the level of funding made available. Nevertheless, to be prepared to execute research contracts as soon as possible after sponsors' approvals, the Strategic Highway Research Program is assuming that the tentative program will become official in its entirety and is proceeding with requests for proposals and selections of research agencies.
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