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56 In addition to the costs associated with reconstructing past error.187 It is therefore important to verify race and gender as- subcontract records, state DOTs are well advised to take steps signments by contacting a sample of business owners directly. to ensure the collection of current and future data.185 Once Such "misclassification" surveys, typically done by phone, are procedures have been adopted for subcontract data collec- costly due in part to the sample sizes required for reliable re- tion, appropriate software for maintaining and tracking this sults.188 Studies that include such verification procedures will data can be developed or purchased. There are several con- cost more than studies that do not. Studies that do not, how- tract compliance software products on the market that make ever, may prove more vulnerable to the charge that they are ongoing data gathering easier and facilitate production of re- not sufficiently narrowly tailored. quired annual U.S.DOT submissions and other reports. Since disparity and availability studies must be repeated periodi- cally (every 5 to 6 years is recommended),186 investment in Nonrespondent Surveys subcontract data collection procedures and software will gen- Similarly, most studies conduct one or more mail surveys erate cost savings on future studies. as part of their analyses. Such mail surveys typically achieve Finally, a state DOT should provide complete and accurate response rates of 5%15%, due largely to the fact that partic- information to potential proposers so that proposed cost es- ipation is voluntary. To have confidence in any inferences timates will accurately reflect the costs of reconstructing drawn from such a survey, a competent social scientist will missing data. To the extent that the department does not pro- test whether the respondents were representative of the entire vide full information, proposers are likely to assume the worst survey sample, that is, some comparison of respondents and and price accordingly. nonrespondents is required. Such nonresponse testing is also typically conducted over the telephone and, like the misclas- Subrecipient Data sification surveys, is relatively costly. However, also like mis- classification surveys, studies that ignore nonresponse bias State DOTs routinely pass-through a portion of their may find their mail survey results disregarded, if challenged. federal-assistance dollars to other state and local agencies. These dollars support activities such as construction, design, planning, and transit and airport operations. Multi-Jurisdiction Studies State DOTs should consult with their regional modal ad- ministrations to confirm which of their subrecipients, if any, One potential source of costs savings is to conduct a study are responsible for reporting DBE activity; this will ensure jointly with other government agencies. This approach is most that those subrecipients will be included in the scope of any cost-effective when there is significant overlap in the geo- availability or disparity study. Further, the subrecipients' graphic and product markets of the participating agencies. contracting and subcontracting data should conform to the However, because state DOT contracting can differ sub- same requirements presented above for the state DOT's di- stantially from that of governments like cities and counties, rect contracting and subcontracting data. Any additional ef- geographic and product markets do not overlap as much as fort required to acquire the subrecipients' data and bring it might be desired. In these cases, the savings will be less than up to the same quality level as the state DOT's data should be would be the case with more compatible study partners. factored into the estimated cost and timeframe of any study. There are, however, significant potential cost savings in partnering with other compatible governments, particularly for disparity studies. Costs for building the availability data- Examples of Costs for Other base, conducting the economy-wide statistical analyses, and Analytical Elements gathering the anecdotal evidence, can all be readily prorated Verification of Business Owner Race and Gender among the participants. State DOTs must, however, weigh the inevitable delays and complications that will result from As previously illustrated, the race and gender of business more participants in the process against the potential cost owners obtained from various directories and lists is often in savings. One way to offset these is to reach an understanding be- fore issuing the RFP regarding the responsibilities of each 185 See Appendix A, Methods for Collecting Subcontract Data in anticipation of Future Studies. participating agency to provide its available contracting and 186 Five to six years is our recommendation as a rule of thumb based on the study period length documented in Table 5. A shorter period than this may lead to unnecessary expenditure of public funds on disparity or availability studies, while a period much longer than this runs the risk of a court, in a constitutional 187 See supra, Tables 710. challenge to a DBE Program, finding that the data placed into evidence are 188 Samples must typically be stratified by at least race, gender, and industry "stale." group.