Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
1 TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM Annual Report of Progress DECEMBER 31, 2018 INTRODUCTION The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) was established in 1992 to pro- vide a continuing program of applied research on transit issues. The program is spon- sored by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and carried out under a three-way agreement among the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies), acting through its Transportation Research Board (TRB); the Transit Development Corporation, an educational and research arm of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA); and the FTA. TCRP focuses on issues significant to the public transportation industry, with emphasis on developing near-term research solutions to a variety of transit problems involving facilities, vehicles, equipment, service concepts, operations, policy, planning, human resources, maintenance, and administrative practices. TCRP is a unique undertaking. Anyone with an interest in public transportation may play a role in setting the research agenda for the program by submitting research problem statements to TRB at any time. Problem statements are solicited annually from individuals representing the public transportation industry, metropolitan planning organiza tions (MPOs), universities, and federal agencies. In addition, to complement the open solicitation process, from time to time, research needs conferences are held or small consultant studies are commissioned to develop research problem state- ments on topics of special interest. The selection of research projects is the responsibility of the TCRP Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee. The TOPS Committee consists of industry executives, representing the primary beneficiaries of TCRP research.The TOPS Com- mittee functions as the TCRP governing board and sets research priorities. HOW TCRP PROGRAMS ARE FORMULATED The annual research program is the foundation of TCRP. Formulating the annual pro- gramâthat is, identifying the highest priority projects to be researched in a given fiscal yearâis the primary duty of the TOPS Committee. Projects to be funded are based on the TOPS Committeeâs assessment of current problems facing the public transporta- tion industry. The programming process encompasses a series of five steps. First, research statements that describe problems in the industry are solicited annually by TCRP staff, but they may be submitted to TRB by anyone at any time. Approxi- mately 2,954 research problem statements have been submitted since program incep- tion. Research problem statements are typically submitted by individuals representing the following:
2 â¢ Transit Agencies, â¢ APTA Committees, â¢ TRB Committees, â¢ FTA, â¢ Universities, and â¢ Consultants. Table 1 shows the origin of problem statements submitted to date. TABLE 1 ORIGIN OF PROBLEM STATEMENTS FY â92-â15 FY â16 FY â17 FY â18 FY â19 ORGANIZATION NO. % NO. % NO. % NO. % NO. % Transit/Local 717 29.5 8 18.6 3 5.0 8 13.6 8 11.0 State DOT 158 6.5 0 0.0 1 1.7 1 1.7 1 1.4 FTA 245 10.1 0 0.0 1 1.7 2 3.4 0 0.0 APTA Committees 133 5.4 3 7.0 2 3.4 4 6.8 6 8.2 TRB Committees 230 9.5 6 13.9 17 28.8 5 8.4 19 26.0 Industry 68 2.8 2 4.7 2 3.4 1 1.7 4 5.5 University 295 12.1 15 34.9 13 22.0 7 11.9 9 12.3 Consultants 386 15.9 9 20.9 18 30.5 27 45.7 19 26.0 Other 200 8.2 0 0.0 2 3.4 4 6.8 7 9.6 Totals 2,432 100.0 43 100.0 59 100.0 59 100.0 73 100.0 In addition to this process, in some years, the TOPS Committee authorizes special efforts to develop research problem statements around specific themes. For instance, in 1994 projects to aid in increasing transit ridership were developed by the Project H-5 workshop, âIdentification of Research Needs to Increase U.S. Transit Ridership.â TCRP Project H-4, âTransit Policy-Related Research,â generated five projects in the policy area. Problem statements for fiscal years 1997, 1998, and 1999 were devel- oped under TCRP Project J-8, âNew Paradigms for Public Transit,â and under Project H-15, âProjects to Support âMobility for the 21st Century.ââ In 2001, problem statements were developed on public transportation security under TCRP Project J-10, âPublic Transportation Security Research,â in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. Consultants have also been retained to develop research problem statements in the areas of human resources and transit bus improvements. Second, screening workshops are conducted to evaluate candidate problem state- ments and to recommend problems for consideration by the TOPS Committee. The screening panels consider, in addition to FTA strategic research goals, five strategic priorities adopted in the TCRP strategic plan: 1. Place the customer first, 2. Enable transit to operate in a technologically advanced society, 3. Continuously improve public transportation, 4. Flourish in the multimodal system, and 5. Revitalize transit organizations.
3 TCRP revises its strategic plan periodically and adjusts selection criteria to be consis- tent with the plan. The problem statements are screened to determine the following: â¢ Whether the problem supports the FTA strategic research goals and/or the TCRP strategic plan, â¢ Whether the problem is important to transit agencies, â¢ Whether the problem is researchable, â¢ Whether the contemplated research is timely, â¢ Whether successful research will produce significant benefits, â¢ Whether the probability of success of the proposed study is sufficiently high, â¢ Whether the proposed study can be designed to avoid undesirable duplication of other completed or ongoing research, and â¢ Whether the proposed study is appropriate for TCRP or whether it should be performed elsewhere. Third, the short list of problem statements is presented to the TOPS Committee for consideration in formulating each yearâs program. Fourth, the technical merits of the problems that survive the screening by the screen- ing workshops are further evaluated by the TOPS Committee at an annual meeting held for this purpose. Based on the comments and discussions, the TOPS Committee selects the program of projects for the next program year. Finally, each yearâs program is referred to TRB for review, acceptance, and execution. RESEARCH PROGRAM TCRP was established by memorandum agreement in 1992. Since then, the TOPS Committee has generally met twice each year, a total of 56 times, to select the research program for the next fiscal year and to review TCRP procedures and performance. Most problem statements selected by the TOPS Committee become research projects, but some are treated as syntheses. Research projects involve original research, which includes data collection, analysis, and preparation of materials for use by the tran- sit industry. Syntheses search out and assemble useful knowledge from all available sources, especially from practitioners, and report on current practices in the subject area. In addition to these two types of studies, TCRP also conducts IDEA (Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis) investigations, legal studies, and quick-response studies. IDEA investigations are intended to develop commercially viable products; legal studies examine legal issues facing the transit industry; and quick-response studies address a variety of issues that require a very short-term response.
4 FINANCING THE PROGRAM TCRP funding was authorized by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) for fiscal years 1992 through 1997; by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) for fiscal years 1998 through 2005; by the Safe, Account- able, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) for fiscal years 2006 through 2012; by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) for fiscal years 2013 through 2015; and by the Fixing Americaâs Surface Transportation (FAST) Act for fiscal years 2016 through 2020. Funding for each year of the program is provided below: â¢ FY 1992 $8.92 M â¢ FY 1993 $7.75 M â¢ FY 1994 $8.475 M â¢ FY 1995 $8.475 M â¢ FY 1996 $7.61 M â¢ FY 1997 $8.25 M â¢ FY 1998 $4.00 M â¢ FY 1999 $8.25 M â¢ FY 2000 $7.15 M â¢ FY 2001 $6.73 M â¢ FY 2002 $8.25 M â¢ FY 2003 $8.196 M â¢ FY 2004 $8.196 M â¢ FY 2005 $8.184 M â¢ FY 2006 $8.91 M â¢ FY 2007 $9.30 M â¢ FY 2008 $9.30 M â¢ FY 2009 $10.00 M â¢ FY 2010 $10.00 M â¢ FY 2011 $9.98 M â¢ FY 2012 $6.50 M â¢ FY 2013 $3.50 M â¢ FY 2014 $3.00 M â¢ FY 2015 $6.00 M â¢ FY 2016 $5.00 M â¢ FY 2017 $5.00 M â¢ FY 2018 $5.00 M â¢ FY 2019 $5.00 M (anticipated) HOW TCRP IS ORGANIZED TO ADMINISTER RESEARCH PROGRAMS Nine research fields and 45 problem areas are used to classify TCRP research (see Figure 1). The distribution of all projects and syntheses through December 2018 is shown in Table 2.
5 PROBLEM AREAS RESEARCH FIELD A Operations RESEARCH FIELD B Service Configuration RESEARCH FIELD C Engineering of Vehicles and Equipment 11 Scheduling 12 Vehicle Operations 13 Control Systems 14 Fare Collection 15 User Information Systems 16 Safety and Security 21 System Planning 22 Specialized Service Planning 23 Service Performance 24 Marketing 31 Buses 32 Vans 33 Heavy Rail Cars 34 Commuter Rail Vehicles 35 Light Rail Cars 36 People-Mover Vehicles 37 Vehicle Components RESEARCH FIELD D Engineering of Fixed Facilities RESEARCH FIELD E Maintenance RESEARCH FIELD F Human Resources 41 Buildings 42 Rail Operating Facilities 43 Passenger Stations and Terminals 44 Bus Stop Facilities 51 Vehicle Servicing 52 Vehicle Inspections and Maintenance 53 Vehicle Corrective Repairs 54 Overhaul and Rebuilding 55 Non-Vehicle Maintenance 56 Maintenance Management 61 Recruitment 62 Training 63 Employee Reviews 64 Job Classification 65 Salary Administration 66 Labor Relations 67 Performance Improvement Programs RESEARCH FIELD G Administration RESEARCH FIELD H Policy and Planning RESEARCH FIELD J Special Projects 71 Financial Management 72 Procurement and Inventory Control 73 Risk Management 74 Law 75 Management Information Systems 76 Transit Organizations 81 Policy Analysis 82 Planning 83 Economics 84 Environmental Analysis 91 Areas not covered elsewhere Figure 1. TCRP Classification System.
6 TABLE 2 DISTRIBUTION OF PROJECTS AND SYNTHESES BY FIELD THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2018 RESEARCH FIELDS NUMBER OF PROJECTS NUMBER OF SYNTHESES Operations 59 49 Service Configuration 55 32 Engineering of Vehicles and Equipment 28 9 Engineering of Fixed Facilities 19 5 Maintenance 15 6 Human Resources 28 21 Administration 20 16 Policy and Planning 72 18 Special Projects 11 0 PROJECT PANELS Each project is assigned to a panel appointed by TRB. Panel membership must be balanced in terms of professional qualifications, geography, age, gender, and ethnicity. Table 3 displays panel composition by affiliation, race, and gender. Nominations for members of new panels are solicited through an annual solicitation process. Informa- tion about panel nominations is also available on the TCRP website. For most panels, more than four nominees are received for each available slot. Emphasis on selec- tion of well-balanced panels has resulted in membership that reflects the diversity in the transit industry. To ensure that research is relevant to the industry, approximately 35 percent of the members of most panels are employed by transit systems. TABLE 3 PANEL COMPOSITION OF ACTIVE PROJECTS* (59 Project Panels, 669 Members) PANEL COMPOSITION NO. % AFFILIATION Transit System State Government Local Government/MPO Consultants/Private Sector University Association Federal Agency Other 179 36 55 158 50 50 92 53 26.7 5.4 8.2 23.6 7.5 7.5 13.8 7.9 RACE White Minorities Abstentions Members/Chairs 466/40 137/11 104/1 Members/Chairs 6.7/6 20.5/1.6 15.5/0.3 GENDER Male Female Members/Chairs 461/36 246/16 Members/Chairs 68.9/5.4 36.8/2.4 * Totals presented here reflect only panel members who choose to share race and gender data. Data also include individuals who serve on multiple panels.
7 Panels have four important responsibilities: 1. Defining the scope of the study in a research project statement (request for proposals), 2. Selecting a contractor from among the agencies submitting proposals, 3. Monitoring the research over the duration of the contract, and 4. Reviewing the final research deliverables. HOW PROJECTS ARE PLACED UNDER CONTRACT TCRP concentrates on applied research projects. The program is directed at problems of an immediate, near-term nature that can be undertaken with moderate research funds. TCRP project-funding levels are typically approximately $250,000 per project. As TCRP initiates each yearâs program, the project panels meet to write research project statements based on the research problems referred by the TOPS Committee. Research project statements are only available on the Internet. Proposals are sub- mitted according to fixed deadlines; extensions are not granted. An average of six to eight proposals are received per project. It is important to note that the opportunity to propose is open to anyone. Agency selec- tion is based on the following factors: (1) understanding of the problem, (2) research approach, (3) experience of the research team, (4) application of results and imple- mentation plan, (5) plan for participation by disadvantaged business enterprises, and (6) facilities and equipment. Note that the fifth factor was added in 1997 to supplement ongoing TCRP outreach efforts to encourage greater participation in the program by disadvantaged business enterprises. Staff and panel members evaluate all proposals based on these criteria. The funds available for a project are specified in the research project statement, and contract awards cannot exceed this amount. Cost-proposal line items are examined to determine the reasonableness of the allocation of funds and staffing to the various tasks. The unit costs of the research proposed and such elements as compensation for key personnel, distribution of effort for key tasks, overhead rate, size of any fixed fee, and those expenditures included in direct costs are evaluated. At a second panel meeting, typically held about 30 days after the panel members have received the proposals, agency selection is made. Panel members candidly discuss all aspects of each agencyâs known performance on other research projects. These panel delibera- tions are privileged. Agency selection is made by all panel members excluding staff and liaison representatives. Successful proposals are retained by the panel members for use in monitoring the research. Following the selection meeting, TCRP staff notifies the selected agency. After the National Academiesâ Office of Contracts and Grants completes a financial investiga- tion, a contract between the National Academies and the agency is executed, and the research commences. The policy of TCRP is to provide a debriefing to unsuccessful proposers upon request. The debriefing is intended to indicate to the proposers the strengths and weaknesses of their proposal based on the panel review.
8 The National Academiesâ research contract is normally one of the following types: â¢ Cost reimbursement, â¢ Cost reimbursement plus fixed fee, or â¢ Fixed price. The National Academies decides, in agreement with the agency, which type of con- tract will be executed in each case. The research agencyâs proposal is made a part of the contract with the National Academies. Thus, in addition to the specific objectives outlined in the contract, the research agencyâs cost estimates are also recognized as being part of the agreement. However, the principal investigator does have flexibility in conducting the research, if it is consistent with the general scheme of the proposal. MONITORING RESEARCH IN PROGRESS Once research begins, TCRP staff monitors the administrative and technical progress of the project in accordance with the approved proposal and amplified work plan to ensure conformance with contractual obligations. The project panel maintains con- trol over the research process during execution of the study. Its first involvement is the approval of the researcherâs amplified work plan. This amplified plan is due 15 days after the contract start date. It provides a detailed expansion of the research plan and furnishes a complete description of the activities to be pursued in conducting the research. The amplified planâs purpose is to assist the staff in its monitoring activities and to provide further technical panel guidance to the researcher. TCRP staff reviews quarterly progress reports and monthly progress schedules and maintains contact with the principal investigators. TCRP project managers visit their assigned research agencies throughout the contract period and discuss with each prin- cipal investigator the projectâs status to learn whether the research is being pursued in accordance with the approved research plan. Finally, the project manager and the corresponding project panel evaluate the completed research to determine the degree of technical compliance with the contract. PROMOTING DISSEMINATION AND APPLICATION OF RESEARCH RESULTS In an applied research program such as TCRP, research results must be not only accu- rate but also usable. In âInformation and Instructions for Preparing Proposals,â available at onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/crp/docs/ ProposalPrep.pdf, proposers are encouraged to include a section in their proposals on applicability of results to transit practice. This section should clearly describe how the anticipated research results can be used to improve transit practices and should indicate the expected audience for research results. This measure is taken to ensure that final research reports are presented in language that is understandable to transit managers, professionals, and administrators. Thus, research agencies for TCRP are required to report their results in a form that succinctly summarizes the findings for the busy administrator and likewise informs the transit practitioner of the application of the findings. The program specifies style and
9 organization of all research reports to guide the researchers in their writing so that the maximum use by the practitioner may be obtained. In addition to publication, measures are taken to ensure that useful research results are made immediately available to the appropriate personnel. After publication, products are distributed through TRBâs distribution system. Announce- ments of their availability are included in TRBâs weekly electronic newsletter, which is distributed to more than 70,000 individuals. All TCRP publications are available on the Internet in PDF (portable document format) for immediate and free electronic access. Further dissemination of the research reports and support products is carried out accord- ing to the Dissemination Plan developed by APTA under TCRP Project J-1, âDissemina- tion and Implementation of TCRP Research Findings.â The purpose of Project J-1 is to ensure that TCRP products reach the appropriate transit industry audience. For each product, APTA identifies a target audience and ensures that these individuals receive the material. APTA staff also promotes the program and disseminates products at 10 major conferences each year, including the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) Annual Meeting, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) Annual Meeting, and the TRB Annual Meeting. Announcements of products are routinely published in Passenger Transport. APTA includes sessions on research in its conferences, and researchers are encouraged to present findings at the APTA, TRB, CTAA, and other conferences. To aid in the dissemination of findings, APTAâs web- site (www.apta.com) includes a section listing and describing TCRP research products (click on the âResource Libraryâ tab and scroll down the menu to âTCRP.â) Under TCRP Project J-1, a TCRP Ambassador Program has been established with the assistance of COMTO to create a network of geographically distributed transit profes- sionals who are briefed on TCRP products and who represent TCRP at transit agencies and at national, state, and regional conferences. Participants in the TCRP Ambassador Program are identified through a nomination process and are selected by a designated panel. Each TCRP ambassador serves a 2-year term. In any given year, there are typi- cally 16 ambassadors available to represent TCRP at various functions. Requests for nominations are issued to the transit industry on a periodic basis. TCRP publications, starting with Report 166, Synthesis 111, Legal Research Digest 45, and Research Results Digest 109, will be made available only electronically in PDF format. However, TRB has agreed to provide a âprint-on-demandâ option for a fee to cover expenses for those preferring that a hard copy be provided to them. CURRENT STATUS In the period from August 1992 (when the first TCRP grant was received) through December 2018, approximately 784 study activities have been authorized and over 673 publications have been issued. Tables 5 through 13 provide a summary of the sta- tus of each project authorized. In addition, Table 4 lists all TCRP publications issued to date.
10 ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN 2018 In 2018, TCRP held its inaugural TCRP Day to create awareness of the program and the invaluable research it provides to the public transportation industry. TCRP pub- lished the results of 23 projects in 2018. The following TCRP activities of particular interest were completed during the year. Administration TCRP Research Report 200: Contracting Commuter Rail Services is a two-volume set that presents guidance on the different approaches for providing commuter rail service and includes decision trees to assist public transportation agencies and other key stakeholders in determining how to implement commuter rail or evaluate changes in their approach to service delivery of an existing system. Volume 1: Guidebook provides an evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of each potential approach for providing commuter rail service, including the primary functions for commuter rail deliveryâtrain operations, dispatch, maintenance of way, and maintenance of equipment. Key system attributes are included as a part of the evaluation such as passenger miles, train miles, revenues, infrastructure ownership, and other appropriate criteria that could help the practitioner compare and assess the value of the various service approaches. The guidebook includes a decision tree analysis to assess local decisions and discusses trends in contracting commuter rail services. Volume 2: Commuter Rail System Profiles describes the 31 commuter rail services in North America and the various delivery approaches. This volume documents a broad range of strategies and approaches for managing the operation and maintenance issues asso ciated with the contracting of commuter rail services. Legal Ridesourcing service providers (RSPs) have not fallen neatly within traditional regula- tory schemes. States and municipalities have differed in their approaches to devising appropriate regulatory responses. This has resulted in a patchwork of rules and regu- lations that vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Transit agencies have partnered with RSPs in varying capacities, both contractually and non-contractually. Such connections with public transit present potential regulatory, liabil- ity, procurement, and other legal concerns. These issues and other topics are examined in TCRP Legal Research Digest 53: Legal Considerations in Evaluating Relation ships Between Transit Agencies and Ridesourcing Service Providers. This digest includes: â¢ A description of ridesourcing services in the United States; â¢ State and municipal legislative and regulatory schemes and their effect on RSP relationships with transit agencies; â¢ The structure of RSP procurements and the changes required for such procurements; â¢ Contractual and partnership provisions in agreements between RSPs and a public transit agency;
11 â¢ Issues of compliance with federal legislation, civil rights requirements, and the ADA; â¢ Legal claims and litigation associated with RSPs and related agency responsi- bility; and â¢ Risk management issues stemming from relationships between RSPs and tran- sit agencies. This digest will be useful to public and private practitioners interested in the forthcom- ing direction of public transit and efforts to provide on-demand services to the public. It provides transit agencies with legal guidance for considering whether to enter into relationships with RSPs. Operations, Safety, and Security TCRP Research Report 193: Tools and Strategies for Eliminating Assaults Against Transit Operators, Volume 1: Research Overview, provides potential countermeasures and strategies to prevent or mitigate assaults against transit operators. The research overview also documents the materials used to develop Volume 2: User Guide. The user guide includes an operator assault risk management toolbox developed to support transit agencies in their efforts to prevent, mitigate, and respond to assaults against operators. The user guide also provides transit agencies with guidance in the use and deployment of the vulnerability self-assessment tool and the route-based risk calcula- tor, and includes supportive checklists, guidelines, and methodologies. The products of this research will be useful to senior managers, organized labor, law enforcement officials, legal advisors, training personnel, and policymakers. TCRP Synthesis 130: Battery Electric Buses documents current practices of transit systems in the planning, procurement, infrastructure installation, operation, and main- tenance of battery electric buses (BEBs). The study provides information from the per- spective of the transit systems on the deployment of BEBs. The synthesis is intended for transit agencies that are interested in understanding the potential benefits and challenges associated with the introduction and operation of BEBs. The synthesis will also be valuable to manufacturers trying to better meet the needs of their customers and to federal, state, and local funding agencies and policy makers. Policy and Planning TCRP Research Report 201: Understanding Changes in Demographics, Preferences, and Markets for Public Transportation was developed to help transit managers, plan- ners, and communities understand how changes in demographics, traveler preferences, and markets for public transportation affect transit ridership now and in the future. The research report, which is intended for practitioners and decision-makers, is supported by seven appendices that will benefit researchers. TCRP Research Report 197: Tools for a Sustainable Transit Agency presents the research that developed two practical tools for improving sustainability at transit agencies: â¢ The Sustainability Routemap. An interactive PDF, similar to a website, that guides the user to improve a transit agencyâs sustainability program through application of change management principles, best practice examples, and
12 references to online tools. A checklist of possible actions is included with the Routemap that will help users prioritize strategies and track progress. â¢ The S+ROI Calculator. An Excel workbook that quantitatively evaluates potential sustainability projects in terms of financial, social, and environmental returns. The workbook is accompanied by two completed examples. Both tools are available for download from the TRB website. Service Configuration TCRP Research Report 195: Broadening Understanding of the Interplay Among Public Transit, Shared Mobility, and Personal Automobiles extends the research presented in TCRP Research Report 188: Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit. It broadens understanding of the interplay between emerging and established modes of transportation by further exploring how shared modes, particularly transportation network companies, are being incorporated into the mix of transportation options. This report will help transit agencies and other public entities to better understand the opportunities and challenges as they relate to technology-enabled mobility services. Workforce Development TCRP Research Report 199: Transit Technical Training is a two-volume set that presents guidance on technical training programs and their implementation in transportation agencies. Volume 1: Guide to Applying Best Practices and Sharing Resources documents the best models of technical training programs serving U.S. and international transportation agencies and related industries. A product of this research is a training resource catalog to help transit agencies provide technical training for their employees. Training course information listed includes course descriptions, objectives, target audience, length, cost, training standards, and directions on how to access the course. The training resource catalog is available at https://ntrb.enotrans.org/. Volume 2: Guide to Overcoming Barriers to Implementing Best and Innovative Training provides public transportation agencies with best practices, strategies, and resources to assist with the implementation of effective and innovative training programs and techniques for frontline employees. The products of this research will be useful to senior managers and public transportation frontline employees, including operators and maintenance personnel across all modes, all disciplines, and all system sizes. FY 2019 PROGRAM In October 2018, the TOPS Committee allocated funds for fiscal year 2019. Table 14 lists the new projects, continuations of existing projects, and special projects that were selected, contingent on available funding.
13 POLICIES ON BIAS AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST TOPS Committee In the administration of TCRP, it is essential to maximize both the substance and the appearance of fairness in the selection and management of contractors while simul- taneously ensuring the quality of and expanding the number of potential researchers as much as possible. It is in the interest of TCRP to use the expertise of the best-qualified individuals and organizations available to conduct research while avoiding actual or apparent con- flicts of interest. However, conflicts may arise or appear to arise if members of the TOPS Committee or the organizations with which they are affiliated submit proposals on projects. To prevent such problems in the administration of TCRP, members of the TOPS Com- mittee are not permitted to serve concurrently as principal investigators on any TCRP projects. Additionally, the following rules will apply to all members of the TOPS Com- mittee for the duration of their terms of appointment: â¢ A TOPS Committee member is not permitted to be involved in the selection process for TCRP contractors in which the individual member or an affiliated organization is being considered. â¢ No involvement by a TOPS Committee member is permitted in TRBâs adminis- tration of a contract in which the individual member or an affiliated organization is involved. â¢ No involvement by a TOPS Committee member is permitted in setting or modi- fying administrative policies that would directly or materially affect either the administration of existing contracts with the individual TOPS member or affili- ated organization or the ability of the member or affiliated organization to sub- mit proposals. Because of the special position of the TOPS Committee Chair, the following additional rules also will apply during the Chairâs term: â¢ Neither the TOPS Committee nor the immediate administrative unit of which the Chair is a part may propose on any TCRP projects. â¢ The Chair may not be involved in the preparation of a proposal for a TCRP project. â¢ The Chair may not work on a TCRP project as a member of the research team or as a consultant to the team. When a newly appointed Chair of the TOPS Committee or other member of the Com- mittee has existing activities or commitments covered in the foregoing lists of rules on a TCRP project at the time of appointment, those circumstances will be disclosed with- out delay to the Executive Committee of TOPS, and recommendations will be made by the Executive Committee on a case-by-case basis. All issues arising out of the need to interpret these rules will be resolved by the Executive Committee, with the affected members standing aside as appropriate.
14 TCRP Project Panels TRB, as a unit of the National Academies, accords special importance to the policies and procedures established by the institution for ensuring the integrity of and, hence, public confidence in the research reports. Extensive efforts are made to ensure the soundness of research reports issued by the institution by selecting highly qualified members. Yet, if a research report is to be not only sound but also effective, as mea- sured by its acceptance in quarters in which it should be influential, the research report must be and must be perceived to be (1) free of any significant conflict of interest, (2) not compromised by bias, and (3) untainted by allegations of scientific misconduct. To address questions of potential bias and conflict of interest for the protection of both the individual involved and the institution, individuals participating in studies and other activities are asked to complete a Potential Sources of Bias and Conflict of Interest form to be submitted to and reviewed by the institution. In addition, project panels are asked to discuss the general questions of bias and conflict of interest and the relevant circumstances of their individual members at each panel meeting. The question of potential sources of bias ordinarily relates to views stated or positions taken that are largely intellectually motivated or that arise from the close identification or association of an individual with a particular point of view or the positions or perspec- tives of a particular group. Such potential sources of bias are not necessarily disqualify- ing for purposes of panel service. Indeed, it often is necessary, in order to ensure that a panel is fully competent, to appoint members in such a way as to represent a balance of potentially biasing backgrounds or professional or organizational perspectives. It is also essential that the work of panels not be compromised by a significant conflict of interest or, in some circumstances, the significant appearance of conflict of interest on the part of any member of a panel or anyone associated with the work of a panel (e.g., consultants, staff). For this purpose, the term âconflict of interestâ means any financial or other interest that conflicts with the service of an individual because it (1) could impair the individualâs objectivity or (2) could create an unfair competitive advantage for any person or organization. The existence of a significant conflict of interest ordinarily disqualifies an individual from service. SUMMARY TCRP focuses on issues significant to the public transportation industry, emphasiz- ing the development of near-term research solutions to a variety of transit problems involving facilities, service concepts, operations, policy, planning, human resources, maintenance, and administrative practices. TCRP processes ensure maximum exposure of the research efforts while they are in progress in the hope that research results will find their way more quickly into prac- tice in the form of policies, procedures, and specifications by the public transportation industry.