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DOT SBIR Program Solicitation

Agency: Department of Transportation
Program/Year: SBIR / 2013
Solicitation Number: DTRT57-13-R-SBIR
Release Date: December 10, 2012
Open Date: December 10, 2012
Close Date: March 4, 2013
13.1-FR1: Low Ground Clearance Vehicle Detection and Warning System
Description: High profile highway-rail grade crossings present a severe risk to low ground clearance vehicles such as low-boys, car-carriers, low-floor urban transit buses, and farm equipment trailers in the United States. When such a vehicle traverses a high-profile roadway section, such as a high-profile grade crossing, the vehicle may become stuck on the hump of the crossing and then be struck by a train. One such incident involved a tractor trailer that became stuck at a grade crossing in Glendale, CA on January 28, 2000 and was subsequently struck by a Metrolink commuter train. This problem could be more complicated considering that fact that the underbody of a commercial vehicle is not always a flat surface. There could be electric cables, air lines, tanks, storage cabinets, etc. suspended from the flat surface of the underbody of a commercial vehicle. It is aimed to have a detecting approach that will be able to take these suspended or protruded accessories into account and sense whether these suspended or protruded vehicle parts or accessories are rigid, semi-rigid, or flexible. Would they be rigid enough to get the commercial vehicle stuck on the high-profile grade crossing? One of the ways to reduce the risk to low ground clearance vehicles is to provide advance warning regarding the existence of high-profile crossings ahead. Passive signage already exists for this application (w10-5). However, research is needed into the development of a reliable active system, such as the ones used to detect over-height vehicles before tunnels, that would detect a low ground clearance vehicle on approach to a high-profile crossing and trigger a wayside active warning message that would be visible to the motorist. The system envisioned would be capable of generating its own power, be durable enough for long-term operation with minimal maintenance, and able to operate in adverse conditions including heavy snow. Ultimately it would achieve at least the same level of reliability and quality assurance as existing over-height vehicle detection systems. Recommendation should also be made as how far the developed detection system should be placed away from the grade crossing to allow low-ground clearance vehicle sufficient space to stop ahead of the crossing. The allowable stopping distance, of course, depends on the speed limit for the roadway plus some safety factor. The ideal placement should allow a low-ground clearance vehicle to take an alternative route or detour before reaching the high-profile grade crossing. Some engineering research and analysis are also necessary to recommend an accurate and scientific-based approach for calculating the actual clearance threshold that should consider the specific nature of each individual high-profile grade crossing and the dynamic behavior of the vehicle at the crossing. Expected Phase I Outcomes: Outcomes expected from the Phase I include a detailed concept that demonstrates the viability of creating a prototype that satisfies the attributes described above. It should also estimate the cost of the proposed technology (with and without installation) per grade crossing. Offer should indicate to what degree the offeror has successfully commercialized products of past projects. Expected Phase II Outcomes: Phase II efforts include manufacturing and demonstrating a working prototype low ground clearance vehicle detection system that demonstrates potential for achieving reliability and quality assurance metrics equivalent to or greater than existing over-height vehicle detection systems.
13.1-FT1: Transit Safety
Description: The new authorization, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) gives FTA significant new authority to strengthen the safety of public transportation systems throughout the United States. The FTA is seeking exploratory proposals that will demonstrate innovative, economical and durable technologies and devices or solutions that will improve and revolutionize the safety of public transportation and the riding public. The innovations in public transportation or transit must pertain to and be adaptable to existing heavy rail, commuter rail, light rail, buses, ferries, and streetcars. Project proposals must include a methodology on how it will use data to quantitatively demonstrate that their recommended technology innovations can truly improve or provide confidence for commuters and operators to trust and use a safe transit system. The subtopics could range from improved passenger safety, vehicle safety, road/track safety to service reliability. Sub-topic example: Impaired Operator Detector - The goal of this research is to develop a prototype impaired-operator detector that bridges the gap between current (first-generation, impairment-specific) devices and the ideal impaired-operator detector described below. An ideal impaired-operator detector would have the following attributes: 1. Instantly detects any type of impaired operation across all conditions and operators; 2. Correctly detects 100% of impaired operations (sensitivity) and correctly rejects 100% of unimpaired operations (specificity); 3. Unobtrusive, automatic functioning (e.g., nothing for the operator to wear or do differently); Expected Phase I Outcomes: a. A viable concept that demonstrates the technology or solution in a vehicle, facility or operation in a transit environment to improve transit safety to achieve the following: (1) reduce the number of transit-related fatalities and the severity of transit-related injuries, (2) increase the knowledge about human/machine interface and reduce potential safety-related incidents b. Efficient and low cost technology c. Modular, interoperable, plug and play and open source (if applicable) device d. Technology assessment with respect to industry best practices e. Feasibility analysis (data proven) for success in developing a working prototype Expected Phase II Outcomes: Phase II efforts include manufacturing and demonstrating a working prototype of the technology and device or solution with all of the above listed Phase I outcomes.
13.1-FT2: Improved Decision Support Tools for State of Good Repair
Description: The new authorization, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) gives FTA authority to establish a State of Good Repair grant program to strengthen the state of public transportation infrastructure throughout the United States. The new authorization also requires transit asset management plans from recipients and sub-recipients of Federal financial assistance. The FTA is seeking exploratory proposals that will demonstrate innovative, economical and durable technologies and devices or solutions that will improve the transit infrastructure. Improved decision support tools give transit agencies the ability to prioritize capital budgets for the benefit of public transportation and the riding public. The innovations in public transportation or transit must pertain to and be adaptable to existing heavy rail, commuter rail, light rail, buses, ferries, and streetcars. Project proposals must include a methodology on how they will use data to quantitatively demonstrate that their recommended technology innovations can truly improve a transit agency’s ability to properly maintain its transit infrastructure. The subtopics could range from asset management plans, capital asset inventories, condition assessments, and investment prioritization. Sub-topic example: Asset Management Information System - The goal of this research is to develop a prototype decision support tool to assist with asset management and related activities. While some Commercial-Off-the- Shelf asset management-related software exist, no single commercially available system appears to address all aspects of the asset management framework outlined in forthcoming FTA guidelines. Any decision support tool should contain the following fundamental asset management system components: • Asset Inventory • Asset Condition [condition monitoring, detection and tracking] • Maintenance Management, Fleet Management, Parts Management, Facilities Management • Scenario Analysis and Decision Making, Capital Programming • Financial, Accounting Management, Engineering and other systems Expected Phase I Outcomes: By utilizing the decision support tools implemented through this Asset Management Information system, a transit agency will be able to improve its stewardship over its physical assets, reduce maintenance costs, make better-informed capital investment decisions, and enhance the level of service it provides to its customers. The Phase 1 initiative has two primary outcomes: a. Enhance an agencies’ existing State of Good Repair database, including the incorporation of decay curves and condition ratings, and integration with existing enterprise asset management systems in order to better understand the relationship between asset age, condition and maintenance costs. b. Improve an agencies current project prioritization process, including the acquisition and implementation of a new consensus-based decision support tool that utilizes a set of capital project evaluation criteria based on agency objectives and customer expectations. Expected Phase II Outcomes: Phase II efforts include manufacturing and demonstrating a working prototype of the decision support tool or solution with all of the above listed Phase I outcomes.