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Department of Transportation Small Business Innovation Research Phase I Solicitation FY-2012 (SBIR)

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Agency: Department of Transportation
Program/Year: SBIR / 2012
Solicitation Number: DTRT57-12-R-SBIR1
Release Date: October 7, 2011
Open Date: October 11, 2011
Close Date: December 12, 2011
12.1-FH1: Coating Existing Concrete Barriers to Reduce Rollover Potential
Description:

There are thousands of miles of concrete barrier in place on the highways across the United States and many more miles used as temporary barriers in work zones.  There are 5 typical concrete barrier shapes which have been used for years that generally have performed acceptably.  The different shapes with their different design characteristics provide some tradeoffs with crash performance.  It is well understood that the safety shape design incorporated to a varying degree in 4 of the designs cause the vehicle to ride-up the barrier face which dissipate kinetic energy.  This can also be a contributing factor to vehicle rollover for lower angle crashes.  The vertical wall that does not incorporate this safety shape (sloped faced) also performs acceptably but it increases the forces on occupants, lateral forces on the wall and under some conditions result in a high risk crash called head slap, where the occupants head makes contact with the wall which is usually fatal. 

Recent research has identified there is a need to improve concrete barrier performance since the more commonly used safety shape designs have a tendency to induce vehicle rollover which can also be a very severe crash.  The Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (located at the University of Nebraska) developed a better performing barrier that addressed the issues but to incorporate the features from this design would require reconstruction of the many thousands of miles of barrier.  Other research performed by Texas Transportation Institute and published in NCHRP 554 showed that increased surface friction along the barrier face enhanced the rollover problem and warns exceeding a threshold.  Subsequent unpublished barrier simulation by NCAC for FHWA showed that reducing the friction along the sloped surface reduces the rollover tendencies of TL-3 vehicles.  Some limited testing was performed at the Texas Transportation Institute by impacting a bogie vehicle into portable concrete barriers coated with epoxy sealant (epoxy has extremely low friction properties and sometimes used to simulate ice for skid test).  The coatings were not tough enough to withstand the impact and the results showed no benefits. 

Therefore, to improve the performance of existing barriers and reduce vehicle rollover crashes, a coating, or other surface treatment for existing, in-place concrete barriers is sought that would provide a durable low friction material and, thereby, reduce the rollover potential of vehicles striking barriers.  To be successful, the coating (or other surface treatment) should be:

1.     The product should be low cost and easily installed in a traffic environment

2.     Durable in an impact so performance is not reduced

3.     Resist sunlight degradation

Expected Phase I Outcomes:

Outcomes expected from Phase I include a detailed concept that demonstrates the viability of creating a prototype that satisfies the issues identified above.  Also a marketing strategy that anticipates the crashes that could be reduced and a possible deployment strategy based on a cost benefit approach.

Expected Phase II Outcomes:

Phase II outcomes may include identifying or developing a product and crash testing to verify product performance and durability. A field application under controlled conditions would be necessary to demonstrate ease of installation and test sections applied in real world conditions to demonstrate to the market the viability of this approach.

12.1-FH2: Fast Real Time Positioning using GNSS
Description:

Many developments in surface transportation are dependent on greater positioning accuracy as well as position integrity for improvements in safety, performance, and efficiency.  Examples include:

·       Construction (grading, paving, infrastructure mapping),

·       Maintenance (line striping),

·       Non-barrier separated toll or HOV lanes,

·       Lane keeping,

·       Infrastructure mapping, etc. 

While some applications are available today using GPS, significant time is required for units to establish the accurate and trustworthy solutions needed to support them.  New products that provide these capabilities at reasonable cost are needed if these capabilities are to become standard in vehicles.

It can also be said that radio navigation, as this area of technology is known, is a very quickly changing field that has shown and continues to show how innovative developers can be.  Currently, there are some 40 + Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) satellites (Global Positioning System (GPS), Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), etc) available. In addition, a ground based infrastructure, with nearly 1500 reference stations, is providing GPS observables to the National Geodetic Survey’s (NGS) Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) service on 1, 5, or 15 second intervals (see http://beta.ngs.noaa.gov/CORS/NGSRealtimeGNSS/index.shtml) is available.  Other data, such as accurate ephemeris and atmospheric delay models, are available from other sources.  Couple this with the development of nationwide broadband data networks and an entire new arena of applications can now be inexpensively and reliably implemented.  Unfortunately, the industry is still focused on two markets: high accuracy survey applications using high end, expensive equipment and low accuracy, recreational grade inexpensive user equipment.  Transportation applications that support safety, performance, and efficiency fall into a middle area that is not being exploited but is a large potential market. 

This combination of data and availability has been used to a limited extent           but has not been fully exploited.  The missing part of this is the availability of software to use this data to achieve fast resolution (less than 3 seconds) and achieve high accuracy (better than 1 decimeter) with high integrity (greater 99.9%).  This was recognized as a shortcoming in the recently completed National Position, Navigation, and Timing Architecture study undertaken by the Departments of Transportation and Defense (see http://www.acq.osd.mil/nsso/pnt/pnt.htm for details). 

While some theoretical work has been done to develop this concept, a marketable solution that could achieve a very accurate resolution with a high level of integrity in a short time period has not been proposed. 

Expected Phase I Outcomes:

The first goal of this phase is to develop a theoretical algorithm for generating a sub-decimeter solution in 3 seconds using GPS satellite data and data collected from standard GNSS reference stations.  This can be data provided by NGS or another source, but it must be publicly available data.  The second goal is to implement this algorithm such that it can make use of live satellite data and data either streamed over an internet link or broadcast from one of the several low/medium frequency broadcast stations around the country.    

Expected Phase II Outcomes:

Phase II will focus on developing a stand-alone product that provides the user community with integrity, accuracy, and fast solutions implemented in a finished cost effective product.

12.1-FM1: Communicating Towed unit (Trailer) Vehicle Identification Number(s) (VIN) to the Powered unit.
Description:

The primary mission of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)  is to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large truck and buses. One of the strategies employed to accomplish this goal is to foster innovative research in new or augmenting safety enhancing technologies and to facilitate faster deployment of proven systems. In collaboration with our industry partners and stakeholders, we continuously identify new opportunities of emphasis that can serve our agency goals and objectives towards improving highway safety. The opportunity outlined in this solicitation refers to a challenge that, if addressed robustly and cost-effectively, has the potential to further aid many ongoing USDOT safety, security, mobility and efficiency initiatives.

Background:

The Commercial Motor Vehicle freight movement in North America involves powered units (tractors, trucks, buses) that haul a variety of towed units (trailers) in often changing configurations. A sample overview of possible tractor-trailer configurations is outlined in Reference [1]. And due to the fact that the lifetime of a trailer is often much longer than tractors, tractors must work with a variety and age of trailers over the course of their use. To address various roadside, border crossing, smart parking, connected vehicle initiatives, FMCSA  would like to explore robust and very cost effective mechanisms to communicate the trailer(s)’ VIN(s) to the powered unit for some unique opportunities. The composition of the trailer VIN includes a number of trailer characteristics that are defined by NHTSA that can be decoded and used for a variety of reasons.  (More details on Trailer VIN can be found on pages 15-20 in [2].)

Motivation:

FMCSA envisions that trailer VIN information, if transmitted to the tractor can be used in a number of ways to support various ongoing and future initiatives. For instance, by robustly identifying the accurate number of  and characteristics of the attached Trailers, on-board safety systems resident on the tractor can be further optimized for performance.

FMCSA’s Wireless Roadside Inspection (WRI) program can use trailer VIN information in the set of data wirelessly exchanged between a roadside unit and the tractor hauling the subject trailer(s). With this mechanism, tractor-trailer configuration at WRI nodes can be properly identified.

Wireless initiatives streamlining Border Crossing processes can use trailer VIN data in their exchange protocols and automatically determine if the attached trailers match the dispatch documentation.

USDOT’s Connected Vehicle Program can use the trailer VIN information to determine the accurate number of hauled trailer units, total combination vehicle length, axle configurations, trailer body types, etc which would aid articulated vehicle handling within the Basic Safety Message (BSM) definitions.

 

Similarly, decoded trailer VIN information would aid Smart-Park initiatives with the knowledge of the tractor-trailer configuration and total length.

Research Objectives:

The purpose of this topic is to develop cost-effective solutions in the form of devices that can communicate trailer VIN(s) to the powered unit they are connected to. It is foreseen, but not required, that the high level architecture would be composed of a trailer based VIN transmitter and a tractor based VIN receiver and interpreter.

In general, there is little challenge in communicating a trailer’s VIN to the tractor as a technical objective. It can be done wirelessly (Wi-Fi, Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC), etc) or over the power line using Power Line Carrier (PLC) protocol (solutions are not limited to these options). The challenge posed in this topic goes beyond the rather trivial ability to communicate a VIN from a trailer unit to a tractor and the Offerors must address these aspects listed below, among others, of the design challenge in their proposals.

 

The following are the general objectives, requirements and constraints:

1.     Trailer transmitter unit shall be very cost effective. If this project is successful, vision is to support a decision to retrofit every single trailer in the field with a trailer transmitter.

2.     The trailer transmitter units shall be programmed once when placed on the trailer. The tractor receiver unit shall not assume to have any a priori knowledge of the trailers attached to the tractor or how the trailer transmitter units may have been configured.

3.     The driver/operator shall have no input to the proposed system. It shall be entirely automatic.

4.     The primary purpose of the tractor receiver unit is to receive VINs, establish a valid number of VIN stack for the attached trailers to the powered unit and put this information on a databus where other devices can use it (such as the J1939 CAN bus). The Offeror’s shall not spend any time on

a.      Any display units for purposes of displaying such info to the driver,

b.     Any ideas on how such trailer VIN information may be used.

c.      How to decode VINs for meaningful interpretations.

5.     The transmitter/receiver solution shall be able to accommodate the communication of –a minimum of- five (5) unique VINs during a given power cycle (triple trailer combination with two dollies).

6.     It is highly desired (but not required) that the solution have a smart logic to be able to sort the VINs by their proximity to the tractor.

7.     The bandwidth should be smartly used; during the course of the vehicle’s operation VIN communication should not be needed continuously. The Offeror shall propose how to structure the use of bandwidth for this purpose. The general idea is to identify the events when the trailer configuration may be changed after first determination and engage re-communication at those instances.

 

8.     Particularly if an over the air transmission based solutions (wireless) is proposed, the Offerors shall address

a.      How to mitigate the privacy concerns associated with transmitting VINs.

b.     How to prevent cross talk between surrounding units.

In addition to the above technical objectives, the Offerors are asked to discuss the logistics and governance structure that may be needed to implement their proposed solutions in a large scale deployment scenario. For this purpose, consider the hypothetical scenario where every trailer unit in the field will be retrofitted and every new trailer will be built with this device in the future.  The particular segment of interest that needs the Offeror’s attention is the Trailers that are already in service (not new builds). Offeror shall elaborate how their proposed solution can be streamlined in a way that such a hypothetical mandate can be streamlined and carried out cost effectively and in a timely manner. Please discuss the additional devices, tools, governance structure that may be needed to make this a possibility with the proposed approach.

General concepts that need attention shall include the installation ease and costs; the process of programming the trailer VIN transmitter units (where, when, how, by whom); susceptibility of the units for tampering and/or failure in service; self diagnostics needs and solutions; governance structure that may be needed.

Expected Phase I Outcomes:

Outcomes expected from the Phase 1 include a detailed concept that demonstrates the viability of creating a prototype of the Contractor’s approach that satisfies the attributes described above for Trailer VIN transmission to the Tractor. In addition to the above technical objectives, the Contractor will need to discuss cost-benefit trade-offs, logistics and governance structures that may be needed to implement their proposed solutions in a large scale deployment scenario.

Expected Phase II Outcomes:

Phase 2 efforts include manufacturing and demonstration of a working prototype of the Contractor’s approach of transmitting Trailer VINs to the tractor in a number of combination vehicle configurations including multi-unit cases. Furthermore, a detailed experimental plan for assessing the robustness and accuracy levels of the solutions shall be developed and the process for implementing a retrofit concept shall be demonstrated for ease of installation, programming, verification, deployment, scalability etc. Finally, a scenario based preliminary cost-benefit analysis and/or projections shall be conducted in collaboration with USDOT.

References:
1- Trucking 101, December 2010, http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/circulars/ec146.pdf
2- http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/maninfo/newManf.pdf
12.1-FM2: Innovative Solutions to Effectively Enforce Anti-texting Rules on Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Drivers
Description:

The primary mission of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)  is to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large truck and buses. One of the strategies employed to accomplish this goal is to foster innovative research in new or augmenting safety enhancing technologies, novel safety enforcement techniques and aides, as well as to facilitate faster deployment of proven systems. In collaboration with our industry partners and stakeholders, we continuously identify new opportunities of emphasis that can serve our agency goals and objectives towards improving highway safety. The opportunity outlined in this solicitation refers to a challenge that, if addressed robustly and cost-effectively, has the high potential to better enforce anti-texting rules dictated by FMCSA and help eliminate or substantially reduce a serious safety violation committed while driving.

Background:

“Texting while driving” is proven to be among the most dangerous acts a driver can commit. Based on the supporting research findings, FMCSA has issued a comprehensive anti-texting rule for majority of Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders yet robust, objective methods to enforce these rules on CMV drivers do not exist.

“Texting while driving” is the act of composing, reading or sending text messages or emails on a mobile device while operating a vehicle. “Texting on the wheel” diverts the full attention a truck driver must dedicate to navigating his/her vehicle away from this core task increasing the Odds Ratio of being involved in a Safety Critical event. Commercial Vehicle Driver Distraction studies showed that the Odds Ratio associated with Texting on a cell phone –while driving- is more than 20, as confirmed in 2 separate studies analyzing naturalistic driving data in 2009 and 2010 (See references [1], [2]).  This ratio indicates that the risk factors associated with being involved in a safety critical event while texting is at least 20-fold higher than during normal attentive driving.

Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have comprehensive laws prohibiting texting behind the wheel, [3], effects of which extend beyond the CMV drivers.

On the same subject area, the FMCSA has issued a final rule, effective October 27, 2010, banning texting by operators of commercial vehicles covering as many vehicle drivers as possible, within its statutory authority. It also narrowed an exception to the texting ban to prohibit texting—but not other functions—on a dispatching device or a device that is part of a fleet management system.  Substantial CDL suspension and civil penalties are proposed for repeat violators of the anti-texting rules and for carriers who allow or require texting.

Purpose:

Despite the strictly scripted Anti-texting rules for CMV drivers, there are no robust means to enforce them without involving subjective observations or assessments by the enforcement officers. It is often presumed that the implied civil and suspension penalties are severe enough to act as a preventive measure. However, there have been no studies or experiments conducted to verify this assumption. Since the inception of the final rule, there have been only a few cases of cited violations. At the time of writing, there have been no recorded cases of CDL suspensions, nor has there been any civil penalties imposed on CDL drivers due to this rule. These statistics could suggest that anti-texting rule enforcement efficacy can be substantially improved.

A recent Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) study finds that there has not been observed benefits from anti-texting rules and hypothesizes two possible reasons for this observation: "texters may realize that texting bans are difficult to enforce, so they may have little incentive to reduce texting for fear of being detected and fined," or, texters may have responded to the ban by "hiding their phones from view, potentially increasing their distractive effects by requiring longer glances away from the road.", [4].

Today, most of the anti-cell phone and anti-texting laws are subjectively enforced based on suspicion or observation of violation by the enforcement officers. To make matters even more challenging, on a CMV truck cabs are often positioned higher than light vehicle compartments and visual based detection techniques for identification of texting violations are considered more difficult and rare.

Sample Solutions:

Historically, anti-texting and anti-cell phone use have been approached in two ways. (1) By preventing the use of all or certain functions of a cell phone (for texting, web surfing, making calls etc) when the vehicle is in operation [preventive measures via on-board safety system integration] (2) By identifying instances of texting-when-in-motion in the aftermath [detection based solutions after the act of violation].

Currently there are many companies that provide cell-phone use restricting solutions in the form of applications for smart phones. They often use the on-board GPS data or a link to vehicle databus to determine when the vehicle is in motion and disable cell-phone use while at speed with the exception of making emergency calls. These methods do not provide all encompassing solution, can often be overridden, and primarily depend on the choice to install, and the use of an application on the cell phone. Furthermore, it does not prevent the use of another cell phone which may not feature similar applications. NHTSA is currently carrying out an experiment assessing the efficacy of such systems in a light vehicle fleet environment based on the concept of voluntary participation. These solutions are seen as less feasible for a CMV operating environment due to longer driving periods. Some additional options are studied in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Distracted Driving report in [6].

Detection and enforcement of “texting that may have taken place while operating a vehicle” after the action takes place has not been researched deeply. Theoretically, there are databases that can be cross-checked to identify such instances. For instance, an Electronic On-Board Recorder (EOBR) has the ability to record the vehicle motion history and cell phone records that contain “texting” event records. Both of these databases can be synched with respect to a Universal coordinated time and could be cross-checked for violations. However, there are numerous existing privacy and data ownership rights issues that need to be researched. Furthermore, it should be understood that the proposed recommended solution may or may not fall within the legislative authority of FMCSA.

Objectives:

The primary research objective is to research existing and upcoming technologies that could be used to better enforce anti-texting laws for CDL holders operating CMVs. The relevant research should include but not be limited to the inventory of existing, foreseeable, feasible, and possible methods in North America and abroad:

·       Cell-phone use blocking technologies and applications,

·       Leveraging insurance company initiatives and potential future practices to access the insured individual’s cell phone records to determine their insurance premiums,

·       Enforcement/promotion of applications that enable hands-free and voice-activated interactions  of cell-phone operation,

·       Possibilities of requiring or recommending wireless service providers

o   to log GPS speed with text message read/write date and timestamps

o   to broadcast a Bluetooth message every time texting is performed such that the event could be captured by a device such as an Electronic On-board Recorder (EOBR).

The general research objective is to formulate existing and possible options, their feasibility, risks, and costs and benefits of such options. It shall document the limitations (what it can and it cannot detect), capabilities, potential unintended consequences, misdetection sources and whether or not they can become feasible methods, tools or practices to enforce anti-texting rules.   The approach can involve an on-board safety system dedicated to the objective, a handheld-tool for enforcement officers to detect violations in the field, and/or other creative methods that can near eliminate anti-texting law violations either in the form of preventive measures or corrective measures that rely on objective detection of committed violations.

Some constraints/objectives/notes for the research:

o   Note that there may be other devices than cell phones on a given CMV that leverage cell-tower links and hence, proposed solutions shall not interfere with their operations (e.g. cellular signal jamming techniques may not be feasible).

o   The Offerors must address how to make their proposed solutions robust. For example, if the proposed recommended solution is an application to run on a cell-phone which blocks its use when the vehicle is in motion, the Proposer must at least address 1) how to make the proposed application available on all legacy and future phone platforms including but not limited to smart phones, 2) how to assure applications would be loaded and used 3) how to overcome possibility of the driver bringing other phones on the vehicle that may not feature the said application.

o   It is desired that the driver shall have access to his phone when stopped and interference from other vehicles operating around it shall not prevent its functions when stopped.

o   The proposed solutions shall take into account the possibility of the operator bringing another cell phone on the vehicle than the one that may be provided by the carrier.

o   FMCSA has a regulation, 392.60 [7], prohibiting the transportation of unauthorized persons on CMVs other than a bus.

To be considered responsive to this SBIR topic, it is not sufficient to propose a trade study and attach a capability statement. The Offerors are asked to describe outlines of novel options and think through the feasibility of a large scale deployed solutions. Please also consider and address costs, governance, privacy, robustness concerns in the project outline and approach.

Expected Phase I Outcomes:

Outcomes expected from the Phase 1 include a detailed concept that demonstrates the viability of creating a prototype of the Contractor’s approach that satisfies the attributes described above. In addition, a high level cost-benefit analysis will be needed to assess the concept’s large scale deployment feasibility.

Expected Phase II Outcomes:

Phase 2 efforts include manufacturing and demonstration of a working prototype of the Contractor’s approach to validate its Anti-texting law enforcement improvements for commercial motor vehicle drivers. Furthermore, a detailed experimental plan for assessing the efficacy of the solution should be formulated along with updated cost-benefit projections based on Phase II activities and learnings.

References:
1- http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/research-technology/tech/Distraction-in-Commercial-Trucks-and-Buses.pdf
2- http://www.vtti.vt.edu/PDFs/FINAL%20VTTI%20press%20release_commercial%20trucks_10_28_10.pdf
3- http://www.iihs.org/laws/cellphonelaws.aspx#IL
4- http://www.iihs.org/externaldata/srdata/docs/sr4510.pdf
5- http://www.iihs.org/research/topics/pdf/HLDI_Bulletin_27_11.pdf
6- http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/publications/road_traffic/distracted_driving_en.pdf
7- http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrruletext.aspx?reg=392.60
12.1-FR1: Locomotive Engine Exhaust Emissions Reduction Technology
Description:

Rail transportation is one of the most environmentally friendly and energy efficient means of transportation for both passengers and freight.  However, there are opportunities to improve upon these benefits and to extend their impact by further improving the efficiency and reducing the emissions associated with rail transportation and by increasing the proportion of our freight and passenger traffic which is moved by rail.  The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is interested developing and demonstrating new and emerging technologies which support these goals.  Successful proposals will need to include a limited lifecycle cost/benefit analysis to demonstrate the likelihood of a positive return on investment for implementation once commercialized. New locomotives will be required to achieve substantial reductions in nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) exhaust emissions by 2012 and 2015.  Non-Urea solutions for engine emissions reduction are sought for the railroad applications which will have positive ROI when compared to UREA based solutions, and will maintain or improve the efficiency of the locomotive engine. The development, adaptation, refinement of systems and/or subsystems which are likely to lead to the earliest and greatest real-world impact are sought.

Expected Phase I Outcomes:

Outcomes expected from the Phase I include a detailed concept that demonstrates the feasibility of developing a

prototype that satisfies the attributes described above. 

Expected Phase II Outcomes:

Phase 2 efforts include the manufacturing, demonstration and/or integration of the prototype system into a

locomotive for real world testing.

12.1-FR2: Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brake System Adaptor Development
Description:

Rail transportation is one of the most environmentally friendly and energy efficient means of transportation for both passengers and freight.  However, there are opportunities to improve upon these benefits and to extend their impact by further improving the efficiency and reducing the emissions associated with rail transportation and by increasing the proportion of our freight and passenger traffic which is moved by rail.  Electronically Controlled Pneumatic (ECP) Brake Systems show great promise for improving the operating efficiency and capacity of the railroad network.  However these benefits cannot be realized unless entire trains, including locomotives, are equipped with ECP brakes.  ECP brakes are currently incompatible with conventional brakes.  There is a need for the development and application of cost effective adapters or emulators which will enable ECP equipped and conventional equipment to operate in the same train.  The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is interested developing and demonstrating new and emerging technologies which support these goals.  Successful proposals will need to include a limited lifecycle cost/benefit analysis to demonstrate the likelihood of a positive return on investment for implementation once commercialized.

Expected Phase I Outcomes:

Outcomes expected from the Phase I include a detail concept that demonstrates the feasibility of developing a prototype that satisfies the attributes described above. 

Expected Phase II Outcomes:

Phase 2 efforts include the manufacturing, demonstration and/or integration of the prototype system into a locomotive for real world testing.

12.1-FR3: Advanced Locomotive Energy Storage System
Description:

Rail transportation is one of the most environmentally friendly and energy efficient means of transportation for both passengers and freight.  However, there are opportunities to improve upon these benefits and to extend their impact by further improving the efficiency and reducing the emissions associated with rail transportation and by increasing the proportion of our freight and passenger traffic which is moved by rail.  Opportunities exist for both freight and passenger operations to recover and store energy associated with braking operations.  Additionally, advances in locomotive hybrid technologies enable locomotives to operate from battery power being charged from the locomotive’s diesel engine, fuel cell system or shore power.  For the most part, the enabling technologies already exist to create successful wayside and on-board energy storage systems; however, such systems have not been fully adapted to the railroad environment or require further development and refinement to create designs which are likely to yield a positive return on investment for implementation.  The development, adaptation, refinement of systems and/or subsystems which are likely to lead to the earliest and greatest real-world impact are sought.  The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is interested in developing and demonstrating new and emerging technologies which support these goals.  Successful proposals will need to include a limited lifecycle cost/benefit analysis to demonstrate to likelihood of a positive return on investment for implementation once commercialized. The following describes some of the general areas of potential interest.

Expected Phase I Outcomes:

Outcomes expected from the Phase I include a detailed concept that demonstrates the feasibility of developing a prototype energy storage system that is easily integrated into the locomotive power system, and can handle the harsh railroad environment and duty cycle; as well as satisfy the attributes described above. 

Expected Phase II Outcomes:

Phase 2 efforts include the manufacturing, demonstration and/or integration of the prototype system into a locomotive for real world testing.

12.1-FT1: Improved Transit Rider Experience
Description:

Innovative, economical and durable technologies and devices or solutions that will improve and revolutionize the transit experience for the riding public.  The innovations must be adaptable to existing bus and rail transit vehicles and systems. Project proposals must include a methodology on how it will use data to quantitatively demonstrate that their recommended technology innovations can truly improve rider experience or provide safer/greener transit.  The subtopics could range from improved service reliability to information to on-time performance.

Sub-topic examples:

·       Mobile technologies – mobile payment systems, real time traveler information Broadband communications - Multimedia experience

·       Rail Transit Platform Barriers - rail transit systems suffer delays and expenses when persons or foreign objects fall from, are thrown from or blow off of rail transit platforms onto the tracks.

·       Rail Transit Right of Way Barriers - simple, inexpensive and environmentally friendly barriers to keep people from entering the rail transit right of way.

·       Fare Collection - how to verify fare payment in honor barrier-free systems using smart cards.

·       Vertical Transportation - innovative ways to move people other than escalators

·       Preserving transfers between bus and rail - how to keep transit passengers from missing their connections.

Expected Phase I Outcomes:

a.      A viable concept that demonstrates the practicability and interoperability of technology or solution in a vehicle, facility or operation in a transit environment to improve transit passenger experience

b.     Efficient and low cost technology

c.      Modular, 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.

12.1-PH: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
Description:

·    Note:  Small Business Concerns may submit a proposal for all three focus areas.  Proposals addressing multiple focus areas for this topic must be submitted separately.

The biggest source of energy in the United States of America is petroleum, including oil and natural gas. Together, they supply 65 percent of the energy we use. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, oil furnishes 40 percent of our energy, natural gas 25 percent, coal 22 percent, nuclear 8 percent, and renewables make up 4 percent.

The nation's more than two million miles of pipelines safely deliver trillions of cubic feet of natural gas and hundreds of billions of ton/miles of liquid petroleum products each year. They are essential: the volumes of energy products they move are well beyond the capacity of other forms of transportation. It would take a constant line of tanker trucks, about 750 per day, loading up and moving out every two minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to move the volume of even a modest pipeline. The railroad-equivalent of this single pipeline would be a train of 75 2,000-barrel tank rail cars every day. These alternatives would require many times the people, clog the air with engine pollutants, be prohibitively expensive and -- with many more vehicles on roads and rails carrying hazardous materials -- unacceptably dangerous.

Pipeline systems are the safest means to move these products. The federal government rededicated itself to pipeline safety in 2006 when the PIPES Act was signed. It mandates new methods and makes commitments for new technologies to manage the integrity of the nation's pipelines and raise the bar on pipeline safety.

PHMSA safety jurisdiction over pipelines covers more than 3,000 gathering, transmission, and distribution operators as well as some 52,000 master meter and liquefied natural gas (LNG) operators who own and/or operate approximately 1.6 million miles of gas pipelines, in addition to over 200 operators and an estimated 155,000 miles of hazardous liquid pipelines. This supply of energy has too often been disrupted by pipeline leaks that can pose a threat to public safety. In addition, damage from excavation is the leading cause for in-field utilities disruption.

For Pipeline Safety, research is sought toward the development of the following innovative technologies and methods in both hazardous liquid and or natural gas pipelines.

Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

12.1-PH1: Seal Sensor Network for Point-of-Source Leak Detection
Description:

‘Advanced seals’, ‘gaskets’, and  ‘repair patches’ having integrated leak detection sensors are desired to provide capability for point-of-source leak detection across sealed fastened fittings having seals and gaskets, as well as across composite repair patches.  Example uses of advanced seals and gaskets include flanged fittings sealed having o-ring seals, matting surfaces sealed using gaskets, threaded fittings having compression fittings, and valve stem seals. There is a need for advanced seal sensor networks to detect leaks and monitor seal health in pipeline pumping stations, pipeline valves, and pipeline repairs. The seal sensor network could be made-up of seals having integrated sensors that are networked with the capability to communicate state-of-the-system status to distributed intelligent controllers that are placed in both populated and remote locations.  A distributed control architecture using localized control agents is envisioned to provide a robust system topography that does not have the single-point-of-failure vulnerability associated and linkage with centralized supervisory control systems.

Proposals are sought to study, develop and demonstrate new point-of-source leak detection techniques and seal sensor networks for use in hazardous material and gas transmission/distribution pipeline systems.  

Expected Phase I outcomes:

Phase I activities may include research into micro sensing technology capable of being integrated within seals, the development of conceptual designs for seal sensors, the definition of the supporting network topography, and a proof-of-concept prototype to demonstrate the feasibility of a select smart seal concept.

Additional activities in the Phase I report could include establishing whole solution costs, value calculations, detailed technical and market analysis of target applications, market research and analysis of additional potential applications. These activities are designed to provide justification towards a carry-on Phase II effort.

Expected Phase II outcomes:

Phase II outcomes may include product prototyping, testing then designing and building deployable systems followed by analysis/testing in field environments.

12.1-PH2: Pipeline Systems with Integrated Health Monitoring
Description:

Advanced pipeline technology is envisioned that provides point-of-source leak detection and health monitoring of pipeline containment structures including cased pipes, and serge tanks. There is a need for advanced monitoring systems that have integrated sensor functionality to detect leak progression through containment walls, thinning of walls due to corrosion and erosion, as well as the breakdown and leakage of containment structure.   The sensor laden containment structures are envisioned as being networked with the capability to communicate state-of-the-system status to distributed intelligent controllers that are themselves networked using a topography that does not rely upon a centralized supervisory controller having a single-point-of-failure vulnerability.

Proposals are sought to study, develop and demonstrate new point-of-source leak detection techniques and sensor networks for use in containment structures of hazardous material and gas transmission/distribution pipeline systems.  

 

Expected Phase I outcomes:

Phase I activities may include research into micro sensing technology capable of being integrated at various locations within the pipeline transmission/distribution infrastructure; development of conceptual designs; definition of supporting network topography; and a proof-of-concept prototype to demonstrate the feasibility of a selected components within the integrated health monitoring pipeline system..

Additional activities in the Phase I report could include establishing whole solution costs, value calculations, detailed technical and market analysis of target applications, market research and analysis of additional potential applications. These activities are designed to provide justification towards a carry-on Phase II effort.

Expected Phase II outcomes:

Phase II efforts may include product prototyping, testing then designing and building deployable systems followed by analysis/testing in field environments.

12.1-PH3: Study, Develop and Demonstrate a Multi-Channel Insert and Assembly for Cased Pipelines
Description:

Currently, inspection and assessment of pipe condition in cased pipelines is mostly limited to direct and in-line assessment methods such as ILI tools, open-cuts, ultrasonic’s inspection and External Corrosion Direct Assessment (ECDA) practices. These methods are expensive, time consuming, and do not fully prevent leaks, failures and damage to life, property and the environment.  Corrosion and integrity issues continue to jeopardize public safety and leak detection continues to present a significant challenge, especially for small leaks.  While pipelines remain inherently vulnerable to both accidents and deliberate disruption due to their number and dispersion, making pipeline safety and security closely intertwined.

Recent technological innovations offer potential enhancements to pipeline safety, security and reliability with new assessment techniques, including an improved ability to find and eliminate problems before they become hazardous. While new pipeline monitoring technologies, such as continuous leak detection, corrosion monitoring, and motion sensing continue to emerge and improve, the difficulty remains of how to apply such advances to the existing infrastructure of cased pipelines.

While casted containment systems eliminate the need for external cathodic protection and also provide leak containment, traditional designs can only provide a limited capability for leveraging continuous-run monitoring technologies, especially once the pipeline is buried underground, as the internal support structure (sometimes referred to as “spacers”, “spiders”, or “doughnuts”) impede utilization of the available interior space between the carrier and containment pipes.

Subsequently, a gap in technology available is evident. An envisioned solution could comprise an improvement on the existing casement configuration that will enable best in class problem detection and containment over the life of the pipeline by maximizing the utilization of double casing interior space for multiple monitoring technologies in such a way that it is easily accessed once the pipeline is buried.

In this focus area, applications are sought to study, develop and demonstrate new concepts of multi-channel insert and assembly for cased pipelines.

The applicant will study, develop and test a novel pipeline insert and assembly that creates multiple separate and independent linear compartments within the interior space of a cased piping system and that will support the carrier pipe within the containment pipe.  Anticipated results will include enabling the use of multiple monitoring technologies, such as leak detection, motion sensing, wall thickness measurement and corrosion monitoring in the same pipeline.  Besides facilitating initial installation and ongoing operation of multiple technologies, it should enable forward compatibility of the cased pipeline with future monitoring technologies yet to be developed, as new monitoring systems should be able to be easily run through the annular chambers along the length of the pipe.

Expected Phase I outcomes:

Phase I activities may include a complete feasibility study, including analysis of product and whole solution costs, value calculations, detailed technical and market analysis of target applications, market research and analysis of additional potential applications.

Expected Phase II outcomes:

Phase II activities may include product prototyping, testing then designing and building deployable systems followed by analysis/testing in field environments.