Project Development Process
Many investigators associated with the Georgia Transportation Institute (GTI) perform research studies sponsored by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). At Georgia Tech, these studies are performed under Task Orders in accordance with a Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) between the Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC) and GDOT. GTI and GDOT have prepared the following guidelines for proposal Needs Statements, proposal preparation, project management, and project reporting requirements to facilitate communication between GTI Principal Investigators or Principal Investigators and GDOT.
In 2008, GDOT initiated Research Technical Advisory Groups (RTAG's) to develop and approve Needs Statements to proceed to proposals and contracts. There are four RTAG's which are directly aligned with the GDOT's Strategic Goals, and RTAG names are (1) Asset Management; (2) Mobility; (3) Policy/ Workforce; and (6) Safety.
The RTAGs also determine the course of action for either a research Topic or Needs Statement for further development as a research project through the following venues in the following order of consideration:
National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP)
Transportation Pooled Fund Program (national program)
Georgia Transportation Institute, or outside solicitation
Steps to Proposal Preparation
1. PROPOSAL PROCESS
The following processes are typical of how research ideas are matched with GDOT's research needs leading to the preparation of a Task Order.
GDOT may solicit GTI administration by sending a GDOT Needs Statement developed within GDOT and approved by an RTAG. The GDOT solicitation is a request for identification and contact information of interested GTI researchers to be provided by GTI administration. The GTI researcher may respond through the GTI administration to a GDOT solicitation per the directives within it.
GDOT would typically contact all interested GTI researchers for a pre-proposal meeting with GDOT personnel, including the RTAG-identified Technical/Implementation (TI) Manager and the RTAG Secretary/GDOT Research Engineer. This meeting is to scope the objectives, work plan, deliverables and implementation plan for the project and subsequent draft proposal development.
Each GTI researcher at the end of the meeting would be invited to directly submit to GDOT a separate proposal for GDOT review. The proposal would be developed per GDOT Guidelines
posted on this website. GDOT would notify the GTI researcher and GTI administration of selection of the desired proposal and any desired changes. GDOT would also notify other GTI researchers that a selection had been made. GDOT would then proceed to contract.
GTI Unsolicited Research Topic or Needs Statement
GDOT accepts unsolicited research Topics or Needs Statements from in-state universities or colleges. A GTI researcher may submit an unsolicited research Topic or Needs Statement to the GDOT State Materials and Research Engineer (SMRE), Georgene Geary
for forwarding to the appropriate GDOT office. The GTI-UTC's Associate Director of Research, Dr.Catherine Ross should be copied with the submittal.
An unsolicited Topic would normally be limited to a paragraph and cover the perceived problem or need and the approach to addressing the need. A Topic, in lieu of a Needs Statement, may be considered to establish the GDOT's interest in the subject research area. The unsolicited Topic, if supported by a GDOT office, would be developed into a Needs Statement by the submitter together with the GDOT.
An unsolicited Needs Statement should be prepared according to GDOT guidelines posted on this website.
GDOT R&D will forward the submittal of any unsolicited Topic or Needs Statement to the appropriate GDOT office for reviews and expression of interest, and will notify the submitter of the GDOT office's decision after approval by the appropriate RTAG.
2. PROPOSAL PREPARATION
The GTI researcher, after GDOT notification of RTAG approval of a GTI Needs Statement, prepares a full proposal according to GDOT requirements detailed in the Guidelines for Proposal Preparation
posted on this website.
The proposal should be routed through the investigator's home unit (e.g., CEE, ATAS, etc.) with a courtesy copy to GTI. Georgia Tech investigators should note that tuition remission is waived on all GDOT projects. Download the Tuition Waiver Letter
and include the letter in your proposal routing materials.
3. GDOT ACCEPTANCE OF PROPOSAL
The proposal is reviewed by the appropriate GDOT office and, as applicable, any changes noted by the GDOT Office are incorporated into the final proposal. A Task Order is issued by GDOT to begin the research study.
The Principal Investigator is responsible for all phases of the research study including technical and administrative matters and should communicate frequently with the GDOT Project Manager and other GDOT personnel monitoring the project.
The following is a list of specific suggestions for good project management of GDOT projects:
The Principal Investigator is responsible for keeping minutes of all project meetings. The minutes should include a list of topics discussed, action items, and task assignments, and be distributed within two weeks of the meeting.
All significant communication with GDOT regarding project status, scope, budget, schedule, or contractual issues should be in writing. Phone conversations should be followed up with a letter or e-mail message.
Quarterly progress reports should be submitted using the format approved by the GDOT and posted on this web site. Progress reports should include in part a summary of the percent of time and cost expended to date, describe any anticipated problems and suggested courses of action, and document any changes in project scope and/or deliverables.
Requests for time and/or cost extensions must be submitted to GDOT in writing through the university contracting office.
All reports should be prepared in accordance with GDOT's Guidelines for Report Preparation. The report should be carefully checked for spelling and grammatical errors, correct page and section numbering, appropriate format.
Note 1: GDOT and the Georgia Tech contracting units have a Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA), that contains contract (Task Order) language and information essential to good project management. Key excerpts from the BOA are posted on this website, and all Georgia Tech Principal Investigators are responsible for being aware of them.
Note 2: All expenditures under a research project upon the completion of the project are subject to audit and verification by GDOT. The Principal Investigator is responsible for all expenditures made under the project.
The following excerpts from the Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) contain information essential to good project management. A copy of the complete BOA is available from GTI.
Changes in Project Scope
If, prior to the satisfactory completion of the services of a project authorized under this BOA, the DEPARTMENT and GTRC agree to major change(s) due to material changes in the scope, character, complexity or total cost of the services from those required under the Task Order, a supplemental agreement via a modification Task Order will be executed between the parties. Administrative or minor changes in the Task Order which do not involve increased or decreased compensation, or material changes in the goals and objectives of the project may be made by written notification of such change by either party with written approval by the other party.
It is further understood by the parties to this contract that any no-cost (meaning no change in the total project cost) time extension for any Task Order or this BOA is an administrative or minor change that may be made upon written request with justification by GTRC and written prior approval by GDOT.
Nothing within the foregoing shall prevent the GTRC from transferring up to twenty (20) percentage of the line item(s) cost(s) of a Task Order. GTRC shall notify GDOT of any and all line item transfers. Any transfer exceeding twenty (20) percentage of a given line item amount shall require prior approval by the GDOT.
"No expenses for travel outside the State of Georgia shall be an allowable direct cost under a project unless such travel is listed by purpose in Attachment 1 Statement of Work and is included in the cost estimate of the project Task Order or approved in advance by the DEPARTMENT. In addition, direct allowable costs for travel within the State of Georgia shall be limited to the amount included in the cost estimate of the project Task Order, or prior DEPARTMENT approval must be attained for increasing such amount. All travel either within or otside the State of Georgia shall be limited to normal travel rates usually allowed by the GTRC and shall be supported by records of actual expenses incurren."
"Quarterly Progress Reports
shall be submitted to the DEPARTMENT within two (2) weeks after the end of each reporting period. The reporting periods each Calendar Year are as follows: January 1 - March 30; April 1 - June 30; July 1 - September 30; and October 1 - December 31. Should the Project begin within one of these reporting periods, the first report shall cover the partial period from the beginning of the project through the last date of the reporting period in which it began. The reports shall be numbered and be prepared in accordance with the procedures and format specified by the DEPARTMENT."
"A Final Project Report documenting all project activities shall be submitted to the DEPARTMENT for review in draft form (ten  copies) on or before the date specified in the Task Order. This report will explain the purpose, scope, experimental procedures, observations, conclusions, and recommendations in sufficient detail to permit other personnel to understand, evaluate, or duplicate the Project. In addition, the derivations of mathematical formula, tabulations of lengthy data, computer outputs, and such similar items as the DEPARTMENTS considers necessary shall be included as appendixes where so indicated by the nature of the project. Upon receipt of approval and acceptance by the DEPARTMENT, the GTRC shall make any necessary corrections and revisions and submit a camera ready original of the final report to the DEPARTMENT on or before the date specified in the Task Order."
Publications and Publicity
"All publicity matters relative to Task Orders, shall have the approval of the DEPARTMENT. Publications and reports describing the results of any investigations hereunder shall be given recognition in the text and title page to the nature of its cooperative character and shall include on the cover the following statement:
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
STATE OF GEORGIA
In Cooperation with
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION
The following disclaimer statement shall appear on the cover or title page of all reports published:
"The contents of this report reflect the view of the author(s) who is (are) responsible for the facts and accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official view or policies of the Department of Transportation, State of Georgia, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation."
*Note that the tuition waiver was approved beyond the dates shown in the letter.