[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 30 (Thursday, February 13, 2020)]
[Pages 8335-8341]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-02844]



Federal Transit Administration

Fiscal Years (FY) 2018 Competitive Research Funding Opportunity: 
FTA's Public Transportation Innovation Program, (49 U.S.C. 5312)

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Safety Research 
and Demonstration (SRD) Program.


SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces the 
availability of up to $7,300,000 in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 and FY 2019 
Public Transportation Innovation funds to demonstrate and evaluate 
innovative technologies, safer designs and/or practices to improve rail 
transit safety. FTA is seeking to fund cooperative agreements to engage 
in demonstrations that will improve the operational safety of rail 
transit services in the U.S. FTA is particularly interested in 
proposals to prevent and mitigate suicide and trespassing hazards on 
rail transit

[[Page 8336]]

systems, and for systems that improve the operational safety of shared 
corridor fixed guideway systems, including highway-rail grade crossing 

DATES: Complete proposals are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT on March 24, 2020. 
All proposals must be submitted electronically through the GRANTS.GOV 
``APPLY'' function. Prospective applicants should initiate the process 
by registering on GRANTS.GOV promptly to ensure completion of the 
application process before the submission deadline. Instructions for 
applying can be found at https://www.transit.dot.gov/grants and in the 
``FIND'' module of GRANTS.GOV. Mail, electronic mail and fax 
submissions will not be accepted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Please send any questions on this 
notice to [email protected] or contact Roy Chen, Safety Research 
Program Manager, Office of Research, Demonstration, and Innovation 
(TRI), (202) 366-0462. A Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) is 
available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing at 1-800-877-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: An eligible lead applicant under this notice 
must be an existing FTA grant recipient and eligible project partners 
and sub-recipients under this program may include, but are not limited 
to, providers of public transportation; State and local governmental 
entities; departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Federal 
Government, including Federal laboratories; private or non-profit 
organizations; institutions of higher education; and technical and 
community colleges.
    For the purpose of this solicitation, rail transit systems are 
defined as transit modes whose vehicles travel along fixed rails 
forming a track. Rail transit systems that will be considered for this 
funding opportunity as a lead applicant or part of the team, should be 
public rail transit agencies that fall under the jurisdiction of FTA's 
State Safety Oversight (SSO) Program. This announcement is also 
available on the FTA website at: https://www.transit.dot.gov/grants. A 
synopsis of this funding opportunity will be posted in the FIND module 
of GRANTS.GOV at http://www.grants.gov. The funding Opportunity ID is 
FTA-2020-004-TRI-SRD and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance 
(CFDA) number for FTA's Public Transportation Innovation Program, (49 
U.S.C. 5312) is 20.530.
    Each section of this notice contains information and instructions 
relevant to the application process for the SRD Program, and all 
applicants should read this notice in its entirety for the information 
required to submit eligible and competitive applications.

Table of Contents

A. Program Description
B. Federal Award Information
C. Eligibility Information
D. Application and Submission Information
E. Application Review
F. Federal Award Administration
G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

A. Program Description

    FTA's Public Transportation Innovation program is authorized by 
Federal public transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5312). Under this 
authority, FTA may make grants, or enter into contracts, cooperative 
agreements, and other agreements for research, development, 
demonstration, deployment, and evaluation projects of national 
significance to public transportation that the Secretary determines 
will improve public transportation. The Safety Research and 
Demonstration (SRD) Program which was developed under this authority is 
a competitive demonstration opportunity under FTA's research emphasis 
area of safety and in support of the U.S. Department of 
Transportation's safety goals. The SRD Program provides technical and 
financial support for transit agencies to pursue innovative approaches 
to eliminate or mitigate known safety hazards in public transportation 
via demonstration of technologies and safer designs.
    The goals of FTA's safety research, in general, are to:
     Improve public safety by reducing transit-related 
injuries, fatalities, safety events, and enhance system reliability by 
testing promising new technologies, designs and practices.
     Assess ways to promote better public transit safety 
cultures through the adoption of voluntary safety standards and best-
    The primary objectives of the FY 2018 SRD Program are to assist 
rail transit agencies to:
     Explore advanced technologies, designs and/or practices to 
mitigate and prevent safety hazards on rail transit systems; and
     Evaluate cost-effectiveness and practicability of 
potential solutions.
    The FTA has a critical obligation to provide public transportation 
systems with the tools and resources needed to ensure the safe 
operation of those systems. The SRD Program will focus on improving the 
operational safety of rail transit systems.
    To ensure any proposed demonstration project addresses known safety 
hazards of rail transit operations, FTA is requiring that project 
submittal teams partner with at least one rail transit agency. FTA will 
assess the strength of these partnerships in its evaluation of 
applications. As envisioned, the SRD Program will provide financial and 
technical assistance for transit agencies to pursue cutting edge 
technologies and innovative approaches, and more importantly, the 
opportunity to assess the effectiveness of these solutions in improving 
safety of rail transit systems.
    FTA is seeking innovative projects to demonstrate market-ready or 
near market-ready advanced technologies, designs or practices to 
improve transit rail safety. These demonstrations are expected to 
provide benefits in the form of:
     Reduced fatalities and injuries.
     Improved travel time reliability.
     Cost savings to agencies, businesses and traveling public.
     Increased confidence and use of public transit service.

B. Federal Award Information

1. Amount Available

    This notice makes available up to $7,300,000 under the Public 
Transportation Innovation program (49 U.S.C. 5312(b)), which FTA 
intends to award in the form of cooperative agreements, to support the 
research, development, demonstration, deployment, and evaluation of 
research and technology of national significance to public 
transportation that the Secretary determines will improve public 
transportation. FTA may, at its discretion, provide additional funds 
for selections made under this announcement or for additional 
meritorious proposals, if additional funding becomes available. FTA 
will announce final selections on the FTA website and may also announce 
selections in the Federal Register.

2. Award Size

    There is no minimum or maximum award amount. Rather, project scale 
will be bounded by each project's ability to complete all proposed 
planning phase, development phase and a demonstration phase. The SRD 
Program is intended as a research demonstration program and not meant 
as a capital procurement program. FTA intends to fund as many 
meritorious projects as possible under this announcement. FTA 
recognizes that the funding available under this

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announcement may be insufficient to fund all meritorious projects. FTA 
may, at its discretion, select an application for award for less than 
the proposed amount. In those cases, applicants must be able to 
demonstrate that the proposed projects are still viable and can be 
completed with the amount awarded.

3. Type of Assistance Instrument

    Projects funded through this NOFO will be structured as cooperative 
agreements in which the Federal government will have substantial 
involvement. The Federal role will include active participation in the 
project activities by attending review meetings, commenting on 
technical reports, and maintaining frequent contact with the local 
project manager. FTA reserves the right to re-direct project activities 
and funding for projects supported under this NOFO and their related 

4. Project Timelines

    Projects funded under the SRD Program will be allowed a maximum of 
6 months for project planning. The project must start within six months 
of project award or FTA reserve the right to redirect the funding to 
other meritorious projects under the program. A minimum of six months 
of demonstration, data collection and evaluation activities are 
required. The maximum period of performance allowed for the work 
covered by the award should not exceed forty-eight (48) months from the 
date of award.

5. Restrictions on Funding

    The SRD Program is a research and development effort and, as such, 
FTA Research circular 6100.1E (available at https://www.transit.dot.gov/regulations-and-guidance/fta-circulars/research-technical-assistance-and-training-program) rules will apply in 
administering the program. Only proposals from eligible recipients (see 
C) for eligible activities will be considered for funding. Funds made 
available under this program may be used to fund operating expenses and 
preventive maintenance directly associated with the demonstration of 
the proposed project, but may not be used to fund such expenses for 
equipment not explicitly essential to the project. The SRD Program is a 
research demonstration program and not a capital procurement program. 
FTA seek proposals that demonstrate innovative safety technologies or 
solutions to improve rail transit safety. FTA does not seek to 
demonstrate existing solutions that are readily available or proven 
technologies accessible in the marketplace. Please review the six 
evaluation criteria outlined in Section E of this NOFO carefully.

C. Eligibility Information

    To be selected for the SRD Program, an applicant must be an 
eligible applicant and the project must be an eligible project as 
defined below.

1. Eligible Applicants

    To be eligible for funding under this NOFO, applicants must 
demonstrate that the proposed project is supported by a lead applicant 
in partnership with one or more strategic partner(s) with a substantial 
interest and involvement in the project. Eligible lead applicants under 
this notice must be existing FTA grant recipients. An application must 
clearly identify the eligible lead applicant and all project partners 
on the team.
    Eligible project partners and sub-recipients under this program may 
include, but are not limited to:
     Public Transportation Systems;
     Private for profit and not for profit organizations, 
including technology system suppliers;
     Operators of transportation, such as employee shuttle 
services or airport connector services or university transportation 
     State or local government entities; and,
     Other organizations that may contribute to the success of 
the project team including consultants, research consortia or not-for-
profit industry organizations, and institutions of higher education.
    The lead applicant must have the ability to carry out the proposed 
agreement and procurements with team members in compliance with its 
respective State and local laws. FTA may determine that any named team 
member in the proposal is a key party and make any award conditional to 
the participation of that key party. A key party is essential to the 
project as approved by FTA and is therefore eligible for a 
noncompetitive award by the lead entity to provide the goods or 
services described in the application. A key party's participation on a 
selected project cannot be substituted without FTA's approval. For-
profit companies may participate on teams; however, recipients and 
subrecipients of funding under this program may not charge a fee or 
profit from the FTA research program funding.
    In instances where a provider(s) of public transportation is a 
partner and not the lead applicant, a detailed statement regarding the 
role of the rail transit service provider(s) in the project is 
required. The General Manager, for the public transportation service 
provider, must sign a letter committing the agency to the project as 
well as outline its specific roles and responsibilities in the project. 
FTA requires that project submittal teams partner with at least one 
rail transit agency.

2. Eligible Projects

    Applicants may submit one proposal for each project but not one 
proposal containing multiple projects. Applicants are allowed to submit 
multiple proposals, but the proposals must be focused on the topic of 
rail transit safety.
    The project proposals must include a research/synthesis phase, 
development phase and a demonstration phase. All phases are critical to 
project selection. Revenue-service, full-scale demonstrations are 
preferred where practicable. However, in cases where a full-scale 
demonstration would be impractical, detailed plans for non-revenue 
service or limited demonstration will be considered. Basic research or 
studies that do not result in any demonstration of the potential for 
commercialization or broad deployment within the scope of the project 
will not be considered for funding.
    For the purpose of this solicitation, rail transit system is 
defined as transit modes whose vehicles travel along fixed rails 
forming a track. Rail transit systems that will be considered for this 
funding opportunity, lead applicant or part of the team, should be 
public rail transit agencies that falls under the jurisdiction of FTA's 
State Safety Oversight (SSO) Program. FTA hereby requests applications, 
to eligible entities, to develop projects for demonstration to improve 
operational safety of rail transit system. Applicants need to provide 
background information, including baseline data, regarding the safety 
hazards they have identified and the type of countermeasures proposed 
to mitigate and/or prevent accidents that could results in injuries and 
    FTA is particularly interested in proposals to prevent and mitigate 
suicides and trespassing in rail transit systems. Data pulled from 
National Transit Database (NTD), between 2011 to August 2018, indicate 
492 rail fatalities due to suicide, which accounts for 53% of all rail 
collisions related fatalities during that period. During the same time, 
there were 194 fatalities due to trespassing (or pedestrians not in a 
crossing, walking along the tracks, crossing the tracks). Fatalities 
due to trespassing and suicide accounted for

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73% of all rail collision fatalities between 2011 and August 2018. In 
the same period, there were 505 non-fatal injuries recorded due to 
attempted suicide and 254 injuries sustained by trespassing. Attempted 
suicides and trespassing events accounted for a total of 759 non-fatal 
injuries, which resulted in 18% of all rail collision related injuries. 
US DOT's Volpe Center and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has 
compiled a list of research studies related to the topic of rail 
suicide prevention and trespassing that could be applicable to rail 
transit systems as well (https://www.volpe.dot.gov/rail-suicide-prevention).
    FTA is also interested in reviewing applications related to the 
operational safety of shared corridor fixed guideway systems, including 
highway-rail grade crossing safety. NTD data from 2008-2014 indicated 
that fixed guideway operation on shared corridors has the highest rate 
of injuries to people waiting for or leaving the vehicles when 
normalized as a rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT). For 
streetcar rail, the injury rates of occupants of other vehicles--both 
in terms of vehicle revenue miles and passenger miles--far exceeded all 
other transit modes. Light rail systems had the greatest increase in 
the number of fatalities, from 2008-2014, at 116.7%. Light rail systems 
had the largest increase in pedestrian crosswalk fatalities from 2008-
2014. Light rail accounted for 82.3% of total injuries occurring at 
pedestrian or grade crossings from 2008-2014, the highest among all 
transit modes. The analysis of NTD data indicated a number of safety 
concerns associated with shared corridor fixed guideway operations for 
pedestrians, transit workers, rail transit users and occupants of 
personal vehicles.
    FTA would like to receive research proposals addressing different 
types of safety hazards caused by intrusion incidents into the shared 
corridor fixed guideway operations, including highway-rail grade 
crossings safety, and evaluate the effectiveness of potential 
mitigation strategies. It should be noted that other sections of this 
NOFO contains additional eligibility information with respect to the 
SRD Program. All applicants should closely review all the sections of 
this NOFO.

3. Cost Sharing or Matching

    The federal share of project costs under this program is limited to 
eighty percent (80%). Applicants are encouraged to seek a lower Federal 
contribution. The applicant must provide the local share of the net 
project cost in cash, or in-kind, and must document in its application 
the source of the local match. Eligible sources of local match are 
detailed in FTA Research Circular 6100.1E. (available at https://www.transit.dot.gov/regulations-and-guidance/fta-circular-61001e-research-technical-assistance-and-training-programs).

4. Other Requirements

a. Independent Evaluation
    To achieve a comprehensive understanding of the impacts and 
implications of each proposed SRD demonstration, projects funded under 
this announcement will be subject to evaluation by an independent 
evaluator selected and funded separately by FTA. Recipients will be 
required to coordinate with the independent evaluator to assist in 
developing an evaluation plan; and collecting; storing and managing 
data required to fulfill the evaluation plan.
b. SRD Program Evaluation
    Projects funded under this announcement will be required to support 
the efforts of FTA or its designee to evaluate the project and 
establish a set of performance metrics, which will be shared with 
selected project teams upon award.
c. Data Access and Data Sharing
    Project funded under this announcement will be required to gather 
and share all relevant and required data with the FTA within 
appropriate and agreed-upon timelines, to support project evaluation. A 
detailed data collection and management plan will be a required 
deliverable within 120 days after effective date of award. Applicants 
should budget for the costs of data storage and sharing as appropriate.
    In response to the White House Office of Science and Technology 
Policy memorandum dated February 22, 2013, entitled Increasing Access 
to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research, the department 
is incorporating Public Access Requirements into all funding awards for 
scientific research. All work conducted under the SRD Program must 
follow the Department data policies outlined in the DOT Public Access 
Plan at: https://ntl.bts.gov/public-access/how-comply. Recipients are 
required to include these obligations in any sub-awards or other 
related funding agreements.
    FTA expects recipients to use publicly available data or data that 
can be made public and methodologies that are accepted by industry 
practice and standards, to the extent possible. If the submission 
includes information the applicant considers to be trade secret or 
confidential commercial or financial information, the applicant should 
do the following: (1) Note on the front cover that the submission 
``Contains Confidential Business Information (CBI)''; (2) mark each 
affected page ``CBI''; and (3) highlight or otherwise denote the CBI 
portions. FTA protects such information from disclosure to the extent 
allowed under applicable law. In the event that FTA receives a Freedom 
of Information Act (FOIA) request for the information, FTA will follow 
the procedures described in the U.S. DOT FOIA regulations at 49 CFR 7. 
Only information that is ultimately determined to be confidential under 
that procedure will be exempt from disclosure under FOIA. Should FTA 
receive an order from a court of competent jurisdiction ordering the 
release of the information, FTA will provide applicant timely notice of 
such order to allow the applicant the opportunity to challenge such an 
order. FTA will not challenge a court order on behalf of applicant.
    Recipients must make available to the Department copies of all work 
developed in performance of a project funded under this announcement, 
including but not limited to software and data. Data rights shall be in 
accordance with 2 CFR 200.315, Intangible property.
d. Knowledge and Technology Transfer
    Project teams may be asked to participate in safety related 
information exchange meetings, conferences, webinars, or outreach 
events to share information with the transit industry and stakeholders 
on the progress and results of their project activities. Applicants 
should allocate a portion of their budgets to support such work, which 
may include travel or presentation at key industry gatherings. A 
knowledge transfer component is expected to be part of the proposal.

D. Application and Submission Information

1. Address and Form of Application Submission

    Applications must be submitted electronically through GRANTS.GOV. 
general information for submitting applications through GRANTS.GOV can 
be found at www.grants.gov. Mail and fax submissions will not be 
accepted. A complete proposal submission will consist of at least two 
forms: (1) The SF 424 Application for Federal Assistance form 
(available at GRANTS.GOV) and

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(2) the supplemental form for the ``Safety Research and Demonstration 
Program'' (available at GRANTS.GOV and https://www.transit.dot.gov/research-innovation/safety-research-and-demonstration-program.)
    The supplemental profile provides guidance and a consistent format 
for applicants to respond to the criteria outlined in this NOFO. Once 
completed, the supplemental profile must be placed in the attachments 
section of the SF 424 Mandatory form. Applicants must use the 
supplemental form designated for the Safety Research and Demonstration 
Program and attach it to their submission in GRANTS.GOV to successfully 
complete the application process. Failure to submit the information as 
requested can disqualify the application.
    An applicant may attach additional supporting information to the 
SF-424 submission and supplemental form submission, including but not 
limited to letters of support, project budgets and other support 
documentations. The supporting documentation must be described and 
referenced by file name in the appropriate response section of the 
supplemental form, or it may not be reviewed.
    Within 24 to 48 hours after submitting an electronic application, 
the applicant should receive 3 email messages from GRANTS.GOV: (1) 
Confirmation of successful transmission to GRANTS.GOV; (2) confirmation 
of successful validation by GRANTS.GOV; and (3) confirmation of 
successful validation by FTA. If confirmations of successful validation 
are not received and a notice of failed validation or incomplete 
materials is received, the applicant must address the reason for the 
failed validation, as described in the email notice, and resubmit 
before the submission deadline. If making a resubmission for any 
reason, include all original attachments regardless of which 
attachments were updated and check the box on the supplemental form 
indicating this is a resubmission.
    Complete instructions on the application process can be found at 
https://www.transit.dot.gov/grants. FTA strongly encourages applicants 
to submit their applications at least 72 hours prior to the due date to 
allow time to receive the validation messages and to correct any 
problems that may have caused a rejection notification. FTA will not 
accept submissions after the stated submission deadline for any reason. 
GRANTS.GOV scheduled maintenance and outage times are announced on 
GRANTS.GOV. Deadlines will not be extended due to scheduled maintenance 
or outages.
    Applicants are encouraged to begin the process of registration on 
the GRANTS.GOV website well in advance of the submission deadline. 
Instructions on the GRANTS.GOV registration process are listed in 
Appendix A. Registration is a multi-step process, which may take 3 to 5 
days, but could take as much as several weeks to complete before an 
application can be submitted if the applicant needs to obtain certain 
identifying numbers external to GRANTS.GOV (for example, applying for 
an Employer Identification Number). Registered applicants may be 
required to update their registration before submitting an application. 
Registration in the System for Award Management (SAM) must be renewed 
annually and persons making submissions on behalf of the Authorized 
Organization Representative (AOR) must be authorized in GRANTS.GOV by 
the AOR to make submissions.
    Applicants may submit one proposal for each project but not one 
proposal containing multiple projects. Information such as applicant 
name, Federal amount requested, local match amount, description of 
areas served, etc. may be requested in varying degrees of detail on 
both the SF 424 Form and Supplemental Form. Applicants must fill in all 
fields unless stated otherwise on the forms. Applicants should use both 
the ``CHECK PACKAGE FOR ERRORS'' and the ``VALIDATE FORM'' buttons to 
check all required fields on both forms, and ensure that the federal 
and local amounts specified are consistent. The information described 
in Sections ``E'' through ``H'' below MUST be included and/or addressed 
on the SF 424 Form and other supplemental forms for all requests for 
the ``Safety Research and Demonstration Program'' funding.

2. Application Content

    At a minimum, every proposal must include an SF-424 form, with the 
Applicant and a Proposal Profile supplemental form attached. The 
Applicant and Proposal Profile supplemental form for the SRD Program 
can be found at https://www.transit.dot.gov/research-innovation/safety-research-and-demonstration-program.
    All applicants are required to provide detailed information on the 
Applicant and Proposal Profile supplemental form, including:
    (a) State the project title, the overall goals of the project, and 
describe the project scope, including anticipated deliverables.
    (b) Discuss the current state of practice, challenges and how the 
proposed project will mitigate and/or prevent the safety hazard(s) 
identified in rail transit system(s).
    (c) Details on whether the proposed demonstration is a new effort 
or a continuation of a prior research and degree of improvement over 
current technologies, designs, and/or practices.
    (d) Address each evaluation criterion separately, demonstrating how 
the project responds to each criterion as described in Section E.
    (e) Provide a line-item budget for the total project with enough 
detail to indicate the various key components of the project. As FTA 
may elect to fund only part of some project proposals, the budget 
should provide for the minimum amount necessary to fund specific 
project components of independent utility. If the project can be 
scaled, provide a scaling plan describing the minimum funding necessary 
for a feasible project and the impacts of a reduced funding level.
    (f) Provide the Federal amount requested and document the matching 
funds, including amount and source of the match (may include local or 
private sector financial participation in the project). Provide support 
documentation, including financial statements, bond-ratings, and 
documents supporting the commitment of non-federal funding to the 
project, or a timeframe upon which those commitments would be made.
    (g) A project time-line outlining steps from project implementation 
through completion, including significant milestones and the roles of 
the responsible team members.
    (h) The proposed location(s) of the research and demonstration, the 
type of rail modes, the type of rail vehicle, the number of rail 
vehicles involved in the demonstration.
    (i) A description of any exceptions or waivers to FTA requirements 
or policies necessary to successfully implement the proposed project. 
FTA is not inclined to grant deviations from its requirements, but may 
consider deviations if the applicant can show a compelling benefit. 
Examples: Buy America requirement, Deferred Local Share, Letter of No 
prejudice, etc.
    (j) Potential issues (technical or other) that may influence the 
success of the project.
    (k) Address whether other Federal funds have been sought for the 
    (l) Provide Congressional district information for the project's 
place of performance.
    (m) Consistent with the Department's R.O.U.T.E.S. Initiative 
(https://www.transportation.gov/rural), the Department encourages 
applicants to describe how activities proposed in

[[Page 8340]]

their application would address the unique challenges facing rural 
transportation networks, regardless of the geographic location of those 

3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

    Each applicant must: (i) Be registered in SAM before submitting its 
application; (ii) provide a valid unique entity identifier in its 
application; and (iii) continue to maintain an active SAM registration 
with current information at all times during which it has an active 
Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a 
Federal awarding agency. FTA may not make a Federal award to an 
applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable unique 
entity identifier and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not 
fully complied with the requirements by the time FTA is ready to make 
an award FTA may determine that the applicant is not qualified to 
receive a Federal award and use that determination as a basis for 
making a Federal award to another applicant.
    STEP 1: Obtain DUNS Number: Go to Dun & Bradstreet at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform to obtain the number.
    STEP 2: Register with SAM: The registration process can take as 
little as three to five business days or up to two weeks if registering 
for the first time.
    STEP 3: Username & Password: Complete your AOR profile on 
Grants.gov and create a username and password.
    STEP 4: AOR Authorization: Confirm the AOR. Please note that 
organizations can have more than one AOR. In some cases the E-Biz POC 
is also the AOR for an organization.
    STEP 5: TRACK AOR STATUS: Login as an Applicant (enter your 
username & password you obtained in Step 3) to track the AOR status.

4. Submission Dates and Times

    Project proposals must be submitted electronically through 
GRANTS.GOV by 11:59 p.m. EDT on March 24, 2020. Late applications will 
not be accepted.

5. Funding Restrictions

    Funds under this NOFO cannot be used to reimburse projects for 
otherwise eligible expenses incurred prior to FTA award of a 
Cooperative Agreement unless FTA has issued a ``Letter of No 
Prejudice'' for the project before the expenses are incurred.
    The SRD Program is a research and development effort and as such 
FTA Circular 6100.1E rules will apply in administering the program.

E. Application Review

1. Evaluation Criteria

    Projects will be evaluated by FTA per the following six evaluation 
criteria described in this section. Each applicant is encouraged to 
demonstrate the responsiveness of a project to all the criteria shown 
below with the most relevant information that the proposer can provide.
    The FTA will assess the extent to which a proposal addresses the 
following criteria:
(a) Project Innovation and Impact
    (i) Anticipated effectiveness of the project in achieving and 
demonstrating the specific objectives of the FY 2018 SRD Program.
    (ii) Anticipated demonstration of benefits in addressing the 
specific needs of the rail transit agencies and industry.
    (iii) Anticipated degree of improvement over current and existing 
technologies, designs, and/or practices.
(b) Project Approach
    (i) Quality of the project approach such as existing partnerships, 
collaboration strategies and level of commitment of the project 
    (ii) Proposal is realistic in its approach to fulfill the 
milestones/deliverables, schedule and goals.
    (iii) Proposal clearly establishes a research phase, a development 
phase and a demonstration phase.
(c) National Applicability
    (i) Degree to which the project could be replicated by other rail 
transit agencies regionally or nationally. Consistent with the 
Department's R.O.U.T.E.S. Initiative (https://www.transportation.gov/rural), the Department recognizes that rural transportation networks 
face unique challenges. To the extent that those challenges are 
reflected in the merit criteria listed in this section, the Department 
will consider how the activities proposed in the application will 
address those challenges, regardless of the geographic location of 
those activities.
    (ii) Ability to evaluate technologies, designs and/or practices in 
a wide variety of conditions and locales.
    (iii) Degree to which the technology, designs and/or practices can 
be replicated by other rail modes and/or transportation modes.
(d) Team Resources and Capacity
    (i) The level of local match (minimum of 20%) and the quality of 
cost share (in-kind or cash).
    (ii) Availability of resources to carry out the project: Physical 
facilities, technical, human and financial.
    (iii) Demonstrated capacity and experience of the partners to carry 
out the demonstration project of similar size and/or scope.
(e) Commercialization and/or Knowledge Transfer
    (i) Demonstrates a realistic plan for moving the results of the 
project into the transit marketplace (patents, conferences, articles in 
trade magazines, webinar, site visits, etc.).
    (ii) How the project team plans to work with the industry on 
improving best practices, guidance and/or standards, if applicable.
    (iii) demonstrate a clear understanding and robust approach to data 
collection, access and management.
(f) Return on Investment
    (i) Cost-effectiveness of the proposed project.
    (ii) Anticipated measurable safety improvements and potential 
impact on industry guidance and/or standards. Safety performance data 
could include conventional data regarding safety incidents, operational 
data, exposure measures, and innovative measures of safety-relevant 
appropriate to the project that might indicate an improvement on safety 
    (iii) Other anticipated benefits, such as making public 
transportation service more appealing to potential passengers (increase 
reliability, reduction of wait time, etc.), providing educational 
opportunities, or reducing negative externalities such as traffic 
congestion and others.

2. Review and Selection Process

    A technical evaluation panel comprising FTA, and possibly other 
Departmental or Federal agency staff will review project proposals 
against the evaluation criteria listed above. The technical evaluation 
panel may seek clarification from any applicant about any statement in 
the proposal. FTA may also request additional documentation or 
information to be considered during the evaluation process. After the 
evaluation of all eligible proposals, the technical evaluation panel 
will provide project recommendations to the FTA Administrator.
    The FTA Administrator will determine the final list of project 
selections, and the amount of funding for each project. Geographic 
diversity, diversity of project type, and the applicant's receipt of 
other Federal funding may be considered in FTA's award decisions. FTA 
may prioritize

[[Page 8341]]

projects proposed with a higher local share.

3. FAPIIS Review

    FTA, prior to making an award, is required to review and consider 
any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity 
and performance system accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 
41 U.S.C. 2313). An applicant, at its option, may review information in 
the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM 
and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding 
agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity 
and performance system accessible through SAM.
    FTA will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the 
other information in the designated integrity and performance system, 
in making a judgment about the applicant's integrity, business ethics, 
and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the 
review of risk posed by applicants as described in Sec.  200.205 
Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.

F. Federal Award Administration

    The FTA intends to fund multiple meritorious projects to support 
executing eligible project activities. To enhance the value of the 
portfolio of research and demonstration projects to be implemented, FTA 
reserves the right to request an adjustment of the project scope and 
budget of any proposal selected for funding. Such adjustments shall not 
constitute a material alteration of any aspect of the proposal that 
influenced the proposal evaluation or decision to fund the project.

1. Federal Award Notice

    Subsequent to announcement by the Federal Transit Administration of 
the final project selections posted on the FTA website, FTA may publish 
a list of the selected projects, including Federal dollar amounts and 

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

a. Pre-Award Authority
    The FTA will issue specific guidance to recipients regarding pre-
award authority at the time of selection. The FTA does not provide pre-
award authority for competitive funds until projects are selected and 
even then, there are Federal requirements that must be met before costs 
are incurred. Preparation of proposals is not an eligible pre-award 
expense. For more information about FTA's policy on pre-award 
authority, please see the Apportionment Notice published on July 3, 
2019. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/07/03/2019-14248/fta-fiscal-year-2019-apportionments-allocation-and-program-information.
b. Grant Requirements
    Successful proposals will be awarded through FTA's Transit Award 
Management System (TrAMS) as Cooperative Agreements.
c. Planning
    The FTA encourages applicants to engage the appropriate State 
Departments of Transportation, Regional Transportation Planning 
Organizations, or Metropolitan Planning Organizations in areas likely 
to be served by the project funds made available under this programs.
d. Standard Assurances
    The applicant assures that it will comply with all applicable 
Federal statutes, regulations, executive orders, FTA circulars, and 
other Federal administrative requirements in carrying out any project 
supported by the FTA grant. The applicant acknowledges that it is under 
a continuing obligation to comply with the terms and conditions of the 
grant agreement issued for its project with FTA. The applicant 
understands that Federal laws, regulations, policies, and 
administrative practices might be modified from time to time and may 
affect the implementation of the project. The applicant agrees that the 
most recent Federal requirements will apply to the project, unless FTA 
issues a written determination otherwise. The applicant must submit the 
Certifications and Assurances before receiving a grant if it does not 
have current certifications on file.
e. Buy America
    FTA requires that all capital procurements meet FTA's Buy America 
requirements per 49. U.S.C. 5323(j), which require all iron, steel, or 
manufactured products be produced in the United States. Federal public 
transportation law provides for a phased increase in the domestic 
content for rolling stock. For FY 2020 and beyond, the cost of 
components and subcomponents produced in the United States must be more 
than 70 percent of the cost of all components. There is no change to 
the requirement that final assembly of rolling stock must occur in the 
United States. FTA issued guidance on the implementation of the phased 
increase in domestic content on September 1, 2016 (81 FR 60278). 
Applicants should read the policy guidance carefully to determine the 
applicable domestic content requirement for their project. Any proposal 
that will require a waiver must identify in the application the items 
for which a waiver will be sought. Applicants should not proceed with 
the expectation that waivers will be granted, nor should applicants 
assume that selection of a project under the Low-No Program that 
includes a partnership with a manufacturer, vendor, consultant, or 
other third party constitutes a waiver of the Buy America requirements 
applicable at the time the project is undertaken. Consistent with 
Executive Order 13858 Strengthening Buy-American Preferences for 
Infrastructure Projects, signed by President Trump on January 31, 2019, 
applicants should maximize the use of goods, products, and materials 
produced in the United States, in Federal procurements and through the 
terms and conditions of Federal financial assistance awards. Additional 
information on Buy America requirements can be found at https://www.transit.dot.gov/buyamerica.

3. Reporting

    Post-award reporting requirements include submission of Federal 
Financial Reports and Milestone Reports in FTA's electronic grants 
management system reports on a quarterly basis for all projects. A 
final report is required upon the completion of the project as well.

G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

    For further information concerning this notice, please contact the 
FTA SRD Program manager Roy Chen at [email protected] or 202-366-
0462. A TDD is available for individuals who are deaf or hard of 
hearing at 1-800-877-8339.

    Issued in Washington, DC.
K. Jane Williams,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2020-02844 Filed 2-12-20; 8:45 am]