Railroad Research and Development

To foster long-range enhancement of the Federal Railroad Administration's program of research in support of rail safety by developing cooperative research relationships between the Administration and university and industry organizations.

credit: Extension

Examples of Funded Projects

Fiscal Year 2016: American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association?s Short Line Safety Institute to assess and improve members? safety performance. A system for rail defect detection using air-coupled guided waves. Transportation Research Board?s Safety IDEA (Ideas Deserving Exploratory Analysis) program to improve railroad safety.

Fiscal Year 2017: With congressional funding, the Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) functions to (a) conduct on-site assessments of safety culture, and (b) provide safety education for managers and employees of short line and regional railroads.

While the large Class I railroads have invested millions to improve their safety culture over the last decade, Class II and III railroads often lack the resources to make the same investment.

The SLSI was formed to fill this need for the smaller railroads. Refine the air-coupled prototype based on the lessons learnt from the planned fall 2015 field test, and develop and test a ruggedized version of the system for transitioning to industry and commercialization. The Transportation Research Board?s Safety IDEA (Ideas Deserving Exploratory Analysis) program to improve railroad safety provides grants for innovative research ideas.

Currently, there are four active projects through this grant: ? Adaptive Prestressing System for Concrete Crossties ? Prototype System for Managing Enterprise Rail Transport Risks for Hazmat ? Non-contact Deflection Monitoring System for Timber Railroad Bridges ? Intelligent Systems for Railroad Bridge Inspections.

Fiscal Year 2018: American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association?s Short Line Safety Institute to assess and improve members? safety performance.

The Short Line Safety Institute will: ? Further develop expertise in education and training, communication, and research and share that expertise with Class II and Class III railroads.

? Retain additional personnel to: conduct additional assessments, provide education and training, enhance the research capabilities of SLSI, and disseminate proactive and interactive communications to Class II and Class III railroads; and ? Create benchmarks and objectives to measure the progress and effectiveness of the SLSI?s programs.

Transportation Research Board?s Safety IDEA (Ideas Deserving Exploratory Analysis) program to improve railroad safety has not selected projects for FY18.


Agency - Department of Transportation

The Department of Transportation's mission is to ensure fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation that meets vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.

Website Address

http://www.fra.dot.gov


Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories





Selected Recipients for this Program


RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Short Line Safety Institute $ 2,400,000   2019-09-022021-12-31
Short Line Safety Institute $ 60,000   2019-08-192021-12-31
Board Of Regents Of The University Of Nebraska $ 300,045   2015-08-012019-03-31
Short Line Safety Institute $ 1,897,900   2017-09-012018-12-31
Claremont Graduate University $ 56,080   2016-08-012018-12-31
Orlando, City Of $ 28,344   2016-09-012018-12-31
National Academy Of Sciences $ 4,633,206   2010-09-242018-12-31
Sulphur Institute, The $ 100,000   2015-08-172018-03-31
University Of California, San Diego $ 1,251,029   2011-08-112018-03-31
Short Line Safety Institute $ 1,900,000   2016-09-012017-12-31



Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2016: Training of American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association?s Short Line Safety Institute safety assessors and pilot assessment of member railroads. Field testing of a prototype system for rail defect detection using air-coupled guided waves. Laboratory testing of a high efficiency heat exchanger for recovering waste energy from locomotive exhaust. Fiscal Year 2017: The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association?s Short Line Safety Institute accomplishments included completing webinars, training events, releasing safety tips, publishing press releases and articles, communications via dashboards and social media and a development training session with assessors and internal team. The Safety IDEA program?s FY-2017 Grant is currently in the final review phase at the FRA. It is expected to provide the final grant agreement to vendor (NAS/TRB) during this month (June, 2017). The system was completely redesigned from active excitation to passive wheel/rail interface excitation. This makes the system simpler in many ways and allows for higher speed operation. This is important as the previous active system had trouble producing acceptable results beyond 5 or 10mph. The new passive system was tested on the RTT track at TTC and was able to detect joints and welds at speeds up to 80mph. A great first step and proof of concept. Fiscal Year 2018: The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association?s Short Line Safety Institute planned accomplishments will include: ? Webinars: 12 ? Safety Tips: 40 ? Training events: 6 ? On-site railroad safety culture training events: 2 ? Press releases: 12 ? Articles or publications: 6 ? Facebook & Twitter promotions: 100 ? Communications to internal teams: 48 + 12 dashboards 2X survey and follow-up training: 4 + its development training sessions with assessors. The 2018 awards have not been decided, the committee will meet on December 2017 to select projects for FY-18 Rail Safety IDEA program.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Projects must show a relationship towards advancing railroad safety and technology.

Applicants must typically demonstrate 5 years of railroad research activity.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Applicants can be major academic and industry research institutions with backgrounds in the rail transportation arena.

A minimum of 5 years of railroad or railroad related research experience is typically required.

Beneficiary Eligibility

No restrictions.

Credentials/Documentation

See Application Procedures section (092). 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

The FRA will announce specific pre- application coordination activities for each project area in the Federal Register.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. The applicant must submit the following information: Application for Federal Assistance SF-424; US Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration Assurances and Certification forms (https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L05284); Certification Regarding Debarment, suspension, and other Responsibility Matters - Primary Covered Transactions; Certification Regarding Drug-Free Workplace Requirements; Certification Regarding Lobbying; Assurances - Non-Construction Programs, SF 424E or Assurances ? Construction, SF424D (whichever is specified in the announcement); Certificate of Indirect Costs; Detailed project descriptions, statement of work, and budgets; Description of work completed to date; and description of type and source of matching funds.

Award Procedures

The application package is reviewed to ensure that all required documents are complete and signed by the appropriate person. The statement of work (SOW) and budget are reviewed to ensure the appropriation language requirements are met. The SOW is reviewed for technical issues and budget for appropriate costs, including compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and related laws and orders. Applications are compared to determine relative satisfaction of published selection criteria. Select the applicants that are most qualified. After the application package is acceptable to both parties, a grant agreement is drafted, reviewed, and signed upon agreement by both parties.

Deadlines

Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.

Authorization

Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, Public Law 91-458, 49 U.S.C 10208.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 60 to 90 days. Four to 16 weeks after application.

Appeals

60 Days & to the Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration.

Renewals

Grants contemplated in this program are predominantly project-oriented rather than on-going efforts and are therefore non-renewable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula. This program has no matching requirements. This program does not have MOE requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

No restriction on period of time the assistance normally is available. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Assistance is usually awarded upon request for reimbursement.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

The grantee shall submit the following reports: Quarterly progress reports giving an account of significant progress (findings, events, trends, etc.) made during the reporting period, and a description of any technical and/or cost problems encountered or anticipated that will affect completion of the grant and; Final report giving details of the results and benefits of the Grantee's improvement efforts.

SF-270 Request for Advance or Reimbursement.

Quarterly progress reports.

Quarterly financial status reports using SF-425 Federal Financial Report.

Grant recipients will be monitored periodically by FRA to ensure that the project goals, objectives, performance requirements, timelines, milestones, budgets, and other related program criteria are being met.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. In accordance with the provisions of 2 C.F.R. Part 200, nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 C.F.R. Part 200.

Records

During the course of its activities under a grant agreement and for three years thereafter, the applicant must agree to retain intact and to provide any data, documents, reports, records, contracts, and supporting materials relating to its performance under the agreement as FRA may require. Reporting and record-keeping requirements are set forth in 2 C.F.R. Part 200 for private non-profit and for-profit Grantees. Closeout does not alter these requirements.

Financial Information

Account Identification

69-0745-0-1-401.

Obigations

(Cooperative Agreements) FY 16 $2,674,712; FY 17 est $2,000,000; and FY 18 est $3,000,000

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Range for FY 2016 was $8,120 to $2,401,500, with an average of $278,755.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Not Applicable.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

None.

Headquarters Office

John Tunna 1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., Washington, District of Columbia 20590 Phone: (202) 493-6359

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

In descending order of relative importance: (1) Degree to which it may improve upon or advance railroad safety; (2) Overall scientific and/technical merit; (3) Likelihood for its near term adoption and implementation of possible recommendations; (4) Degree to which the proposed project fits into the Administration's overall research objectives: (5) Reasonableness and realism of the proposed cost, and the availability of funds (to include due consideration for proposed cost-sharing by the applicant).



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New York Social Impact Partnership to Tackle Recidivism


New York Social Impact Partnership to Tackle Recidivism

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch themselves, Social Finance Inc., New York State, the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), the U.S. Department of Labor, Chesapeake Research Associates, and The Rockefeller Foundation come together to address recidivism by training and employing ex-inmates.


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