Call for Research Proposals for 4th Round of Funding


The Transportation Research Center for Livable Communities (TRCLC) is a Tier 1 University Transportation Center funded by the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) and housed at Western Michigan University. The TRCLC focuses on enhancing mobility, accessibility and safety of walking, bicycling and transit modes, particularly for children, people with disabilities, older adults, low income populations, and all commuters.

Request for Proposals

Eligible researchers are invited to submit research proposal focusing in one or more of the following research themes:

1. Integrating public transit systems with the different modes of transportation (walking, bicycling, and cars).
Often times, performance of transit systems is influenced by the level to which the systems are integrated with other transportation modes. The benefits of an integrated transit system are not limited to economic, but also health, equality, etc. TRCLC is seeking research on transit integration practices, benefits, and other related topics.

2. System and network, planning, design, and simulation for improving transportation services for all users, including drivers, bicyclists, pedestrian, elderly, and people with disabilities.
Transportation system and network play a vital role in ensuring livability of communities through safe and efficient transportation services. Of particular importance is the planning, design, operation and maintenance of transportation systems in a manner that improve livability of communities by encouraging the use of alternative modes that foster individual and community health. Research under this area may include topics focusing on Complete Street and other aspects of transportation network planning, design and simulation.

3. Decision making models, performance criteria/measures, and policies that address transportation priorities and needs.
Measuring performance of transportation solutions for livable communities is critical to transportation decision making that often involve competing priorities and needs. Without appropriate decision models, transportation planners face many challenges in their efforts to solve current and anticipated transportation problems while avoiding future problems. Research on developing decision making models and policies that address such challenges, as well as establishing performance criteria and measures for transportation systems, is needed.
4. Behavioral and cultural research that addresses all users of the transportation system, including drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, elderly, and people with disabilities.
Behavioral and cultural characteristics of individuals influence safety and efficiency of transportation modes they use. To improve community livability, there is a need to understand these behavioral and cultural characteristics of the individuals living in the community. Research under this area may include topics focusing on analysis of safety, travel survey, and any other research focusing on behavioral and cultural characteristics of individuals and their relationship with safety and efficiency of transportation.
The research proposed must be original, addressing specifically one of the themes listed above, and with a potential to make an important contribution to transportation knowledge and scholarship. The research proposal must demonstrate how the goal(s) will be achieved through research, education, and/or technology transfer.


Any faculty member or researcher affiliated with the Center and conducting research in an area related to one or more of the four research foci identified above, is eligible to submit a proposal.

Proposal Review and Selection Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee of qualified external reviewers as well as the internal research advisory committee. Selection of the proposal will be based on the following criteria:

  1. Significance of the proposed research and potential to make important contribution to transportation knowledge and advance transportation professional practice to improve livability of communities.
  2. Relevance of the proposed work to the research themes listed in this RFP.
  3. Organization of the proposed research activity and appropriateness of the proposed research methodology.
  4. Interdisciplinary in terms of the content and the proposed members of the research team.
  5. Whether the investigators have the needed qualifications to complete the work and the extent to which students are involved.
  6. Realistic in terms of whether the scope of work is consistent with the proposed timeline and budget.
  7. Clarity of expected outcomes and plan for disseminating results broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding

Tentative Schedule

  • April 1, 2017: Deadline to submit research proposals
  • May 15, 2017: Tentative date to release review results
  • June 1, 2017: Earliest start of contract release


  • Applicants must submit a proposal explaining the research question(s) to be examined and the methodology to be used.
  • Proposed research work must be completed by August 31, 2018.
  • The requested budget should not exceed $80,000 unless it is a multi-institution project. A 50% match of the requested budget must be provided as required by USDOT. The final budget will be negotiated with the TRCLC administration.
  • For partner universities, proposals should be submitted by the TRCLC representative of the submitting institution.

Proposal Content and Format Requirements:

Proposals are limited to a maximum of 10 pages (single-spaced, at least 12-point Times New Roman font, 1-inch margin pages) excluding the references and appendices. The proposal must include the following sections:

  • Cover Page: Title and Principal Investigators
  • Abstract (one separate page for use in USDOT’s Research In Progress (RIP) database)
  • Proposed research background and problem statement
  • Proposed research objectives and goals
  • Proposed research methodology
  • Expected outcomes and educational benefits
  • Relevance to specified themes
  • Schedule of proposed research activities
  • Outcome dissemination plan
  • Qualifications of the Research Team
  • Appendices
    • Proposed budget sheet.
    • Budget justification and details of sources of matching fund
    • Two-page resumes of the Principal Investigator (PI) and co-PIs.
    • Three names and contact information of potential reviewers (in a separate page).

Proposals are due no later than April 1, 2017 at 5 p.m. (EST).