Request for Proposals – Research Paper on the Role of Transportation in Addressing Social Isolation in Older Adults

General Information

The Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) is soliciting proposals, on behalf of the National Center for Mobility Management, for a consultant to complete a research paper on the role of transportation in addressing social isolation in older adults through the following question: How can public transportation be used as a preventive intervention tool to address the potentially harmful effects of social isolation? 

Deadline: 12pm EST on February 17, 2020. 

After carefully reviewing the RFP, if you have questions please send them by email to Alex King,, no later than 12:00 p.m., EST, on February 4. CTAA will post any responses it may have to these questions below, and will not respond individually to any questions. Telephone inquiries will not be accepted and may lead to the rejection of a proposal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Could you provide a little more guidance around the scope of the research you expect? For example, do you expect to see any secondary data analysis?
We expect the research to include a mix of primary and secondary research. Primary research would include discussions with a few communities to assist in writing up a case studies for the paper. Secondary research would include a light literature review and potentially secondary data analysis. While the inclusion of pre-existing data is expected to support the research topic, extensive data analysis is not expected for the project.

What is expected to be done to fulfill the following – “. . . consultant will conduct her/his own research to improve understanding of the subject.”?
Under Task 2.1, the consultant would highlight key components where research is lacking and suggest ways to fill in the identified gaps in knowledge. CTAA expects to discuss this with the selected consultant.

Can you provide examples of the type of primary research that is expected to be done?
Task 2.2 was intended to provide additional insights into the research topic through primary research such as interviews with experts in gerontology and transportation, review of available data, or conversations with local communities for case studies.

Do you expect this research to directly address the health impacts on older adults of social isolation?
The goal of this research is to develop a further understanding of the relationship between social isolation, access to public modes of transportation, and older adults’ health outcomes.

Do you have a specific definition of what you mean by “case study”? Is this just a description of a program that has demonstrated success?
A case study is an analysis of a specific program or community that has addressed in practice the thesis/research question. Case studies can be examples of programs and/or communities that were either successful or unsuccessful. Case studies providing examples of what did not work can also provide valuable insights.

How is NCMM is defining public transportation for the purposes of this research? For instance, would shared ride ridehailing be including within the definition of public transportation?
NCMM is following the Federal Transit Administration’s definition of public transportation, which is “the operation of a vehicle that provides general or special service to the public on a regular and continuing basis.”

Is the budget, budget narrative, and itemized cost by tasks included in the 5-page limit?
No, the budget, budget narrative, and itemized cost by tasks can be outside the 5-page limit.

Can you please clarify the accepted models of public transportation for this proposal cycle. Some communities have relied on supplementing public transportation programs with networked transportation, such as Lyft and Uber, to more efficiently streamline spending. Would a research model that in part investigates these cases, be acceptable for the purposes of this research paper request? 
Please see our definition of public transportation included in the question above.  We take this to mean publicly available modes of transportation, including public transportation.

Can indirect costs be included in the budget? If so, is there a standard rate allowed?
Yes, indirect costs can be included in the budget. The proposer should show justification for the indirect cost rate. For example, if the proposer has done work on former federal contracts, it should use the indirect rate negotiated with the cognizant federal agency. The maximum rate is 35.7%.

With regard to the budget, are indirect costs folded into the $50,000 maximum? If so, do you have a cap on the allowable indirect costs?
Yes, indirect costs are folded into the $50,000 maximum. Again, the maximum allowable indirect cost rate is 35.7%.

What is the anticipated award type? Fixed price, T&M, or CPFF?
This will be a time and materials contract with a not to exceed price.

Given that the final deliverables should be completed by May 31, does the CTAA have a date by which it would like to receive a draft of the paper in order to provide feedback?
CTAA does not have a specified date in mind for the completion of a draft paper. This date will be decided upon with the consultant once they have been selected. Respondents can include a potential date within their response if desired when outlining the tasks/timeline for the work.