Support for AASHTO Committees and Councils. Roadmap for AASHTO Bridge Railing MASH Updates to Support Future Vehicle Fleet Transformation

BACKGROUND The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) 2nd edition is the latest in a series of documents that provide guidance on testing and evaluating roadside safety features. Implementing MASH has been a challenging mission for departments of transportation (DOTs). Implementing uniform guidelines has cost the nation tens of millions of dollars. DOTs and other transportation agencies need a roadmap to accommodate future transformations, such as the introduction of electrical vehicles and changes in MASH requirements, in a timely and more cost-effective manner. One of the most expensive and time-consuming pieces of the current process is building full-scale test sections and performing the actual crash tests. Often, multiple crash tests are required for a particular solution. Computer simulations are currently used in association with full-scale crash testing. There is a need for a safe and cost-effective tool for compliance assessment of bridge rails and bridge rail transitions.  OBJECTIVES The objectives of this research are to (1) evaluate the capability of existing numerical simulations tools in capturing the performance of bridge rails and rail transition systems and (2) develop a roadmap to implement using computer simulations for the compliance assessment of bridge rails and rail transition systems. At a minimum, the roadmap must address, discuss, or identify (1) the current state-of-the-art practices in computer crash-testing simulations and the knowledge gaps, (2) quality assurance (QA)/quality control (QC) procedures for validating the computer simulation models, (3) the limitations of crash simulations, (4) the types and magnitudes of changes that trigger model updates, (5) the concept of using notional vehicles, and (6) research that will need to be pursued to implement the roadmap.  Accomplishment of the project objectives will require at least the following tasks.  TASKS Task descriptions are intended to provide a framework for conducting the research. The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective.  PHASE I—Planning Task 1.  Conduct a comprehensive literature review of relevant research and the current state of practice related to crash-testing bridge railing and bridge railing transition simulations and modeling. Include published and unpublished research conducted through the NCHRP, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and other national, international, state, and pooled-fund sponsored research. Task 2.  Synthesize Task 1 to identify the knowledge gaps in computer crash-testing simulations. Task 3.  Propose a table of contents and format for the roadmap to achieve the research objectives. The roadmap will be fully developed in Phase II. Task 4.  Propose a plan for industry and stakeholder outreach. Outreach shall be accomplished via a survey and a virtual workshop. The project panel should participate in the workshop. Task 5.  Prepare an interim report that documents Tasks 1 through 4 and provides an updated work plan for the remainder of the research no later than 4 months after contract award. The updated work plan must describe the process and rationale for the work proposed for Phase II. Note: Following a 1-month review of the interim report by the NCHRP, the research team will meet with the project panel to discuss the interim report. Work on Phase II of the project will not begin until authorized by the NCHRP.  PHASE II—Road Map Development and Final Products Task 6.  Develop the roadmap according to the approved interim report. At a minimum, the roadmap shall include: Recommended steps to evolve from the current process for assessing the safety of bridge railing systems to the future state where full-scale crash testing may not be required, - An evaluation of federal and state regulations and specifications to allow compliance assessment without full-scale crash testing, - A discussion of stochastic/probabilistic methods for using computer simulations, - Recommendations for establishing a sustainable national clearinghouse for crash-testing data and models, - Discussion on the reliability of the computer simulations for the various bridge rail types with similar features, - QA/QC procedures for validating the computer simulation models, - Identification of limitations of crash simulations, and - Identification of additional areas of research needs. Task 7. Conduct the virtual outreach workshop to obtain feedback on the roadmap. Prepare a technical memorandum that summarizes the workshop comments and lists proposed modifications to the roadmap for review and approval. Present findings from the technical memorandum to NCHRP at an online meeting. NCHRP approval of the memorandum must be obtained before work on remaining tasks begins.  Task 8. Modify the roadmap based on the comments received in Task 7. Task 9. Submit the final deliverables, including (1) the roadmap, (2) a final report that documents the entire research effort, and (3) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products.” See Special Note I for additional information. The draft final deliverables are due no later than 8 months after approval of Phase I. Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, the remaining 3 months shall be for NCHRP review and comment and for research agency preparation of the final deliverables.  SPECIAL NOTES A. The Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs were revised in May 2022. Please take note of the new and revised text which is highlighted in yellow. B. Proposals must be submitted as a single PDF file with a maximum file size of 10 MB. The PDF must be formatted for standard 8 ½” X 11” paper, and the entire proposal must not exceed 60 pages (according to the page count displayed in the PDF). Proposals that do not meet these requirements will be rejected. For other requirements, refer to chapter V of the instructions. C. The Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs have been modified to include a revised policy and instructions for disclosing Investigator Conflict of Interest. For more information, refer to chapter IV of the instructions. A detailed definition and examples can be found in the CRP Conflict of Interest Policy for Contractors. The proposer recommended by the project panel will be required to submit an Investigator Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Form as a prerequisite for contract negotiations. D. Proposals will be rejected if any of the proposed research team members work for organizations represented on the project panel. The panel roster for this project can be found at Proposers may not contact panel members directly; this roster is provided solely for the purpose of avoiding potential conflicts of interest. E. Proprietary Products - If any proprietary products are to be used or tested in the project, please refer to Item 6 in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals. F. Proposals are evaluated by the NCHRP staff and project panels consisting of individuals collectively knowledgeable in the problem area. The project panel will recommend their first choice proposal considering the following factors: (1) the proposer's demonstrated understanding of the problem; (2) the merit of the proposed research approach and experiment design; (3) the experience, qualifications, and objectivity of the research team in the same or closely related problem area; (4) the plan for ensuring application of results; (5) how the proposer approaches inclusion and diversity in the composition of their team and research approach, including participation by certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises; and, if relevant, (6) the adequacy of the facilities. A recommendation by the project panel is not a guarantee of a contract. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS - the contracting authority for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine) will conduct an internal due diligence review and risk assessment of the panel’s recommended proposal before contract negotiations continue.   Note: The proposer's approach to inclusion and diversity as well as participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises should be incorporated in Item 11 of the proposal. G. Copyrights - All data, written materials, computer software, graphic and photographic images, and other information prepared under the contract and the copyrights therein shall be owned by the National Academy of Sciences. The contractor and subcontractors will be able to publish this material for non-commercial purposes, for internal use, or to further academic research or studies with permission from TRB Cooperative Research Programs. The contractor and subcontractors will not be allowed to sell the project material without prior approval by the National Academy of Sciences. By signing a contract with the National Academy of Sciences, contractors accept legal responsibility for any copyright infringement that may exist in work done for TRB. Contractors are therefore responsible for obtaining all necessary permissions for use of copyrighted material in TRB's Cooperative Research Programs publications. For guidance on TRB's policies on using copyrighted material please consult Section 5.4, "Use of Copyrighted Material," in the Procedural Manual for Contractors. H. Proposals should include a task-by-task breakdown of labor hours for each staff member as shown in Figure 4 in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals. Proposals also should include a breakdown of all costs (e.g., wages, indirect costs, travel, materials, and total) for each task using Figures 5 and 6 in the brochure. Please note that TRB Cooperative Research Program subawards (selected proposers are considered subawards to the National Academy of Sciences, the parent organization of TRB) must comply with 2 CFR 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. These requirements include a provision that proposers without a "federally" Negotiated Indirect Costs Rate Agreement (NICRA) shall be subject to a maximum allowable indirect rate of 10% of Modified Total Direct Costs. Modified Total Direct Costs include all salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each lower tier subaward and subcontract. Modified Total Direct Costs exclude equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each lower tier subaward and subcontract in excess of $25,000. I. The required technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” should (a) provide recommendations on how to best put the research findings/products into practice; (b) identify possible institutions that might take leadership in applying the research findings/products; (c) identify issues affecting potential implementation of the findings/products and recommend possible actions to address these issues; and (d) recommend methods of identifying and measuring the impacts associated with implementation of the findings/products. Implementation of these recommendations is not part of the research project and, if warranted, details of these actions will be developed and implemented in future efforts. The research team will be expected to provide input to an implementation team consisting of panel members, AASHTO committee members, the NCHRP Implementation Coordinator, and others in order to meet the goals of NCHRP Active Implementation: Moving Research into Practice, available at J. If the team proposes a Principal Investigator who is not an employee of the Prime Contractor, or if the Prime Contractor is proposed to conduct less than 50% of the total effort (by time or budget), then section five of the proposal should include: (1) a justification of why this approach is appropriate, and (2) a description of how the Prime Contractor will ensure adequate communication and coordination with their Subcontractors throughout the project. K. All budget information should be suitable for printing on 8½″ x 11″ paper. If a budget page cannot fit on a single 8½″ x 11″ page, it should be split over multiple pages. Proposers must use the Excel templates provided in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs.


  • English


  • Funding: $150,000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-123(16)

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Abu-Hawash, Ahmad

  • Start Date: 0
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01788062
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-123(16)
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Nov 15 2021 6:40PM