The APO seeks a well-qualified contractor to complete a random-sample travel survey of residents within the planning area.
Travel surveys are an important ingredient in a well-calibrated regional travel demand model (TDM). Travel surveys bring to light the trip-making characteristics of a population such as:
- Trip purpose
- Means of transportation
- Travel time
- Time of day/day of week
- Vehicle occupancy
- Trip lengths
- Trip origins and destinations
Respondents should describe in their proposal how they intend to solicit and identify survey participants, the number of participants they intend to survey, how they will survey the participants and/or how they will develop the survey instrument, and the level-of-confidence (e.g., 90%) they expect from their survey.
To the knowledge of current APO staff members, a comprehensive travel survey of area residents has never been completed.
The APO does have access to Streetlight Data, which may arguably provide better origin-destination (O-D) data than a household travel survey can. However, Streetlight Data cannot reveal the reason for a trip, the number of people in the vehicle during the trip, or other factors important to fully understanding travel behavior. Respondents should describe in their proposals how they would expect their survey results to supplement, replace, or interact with the Streetlight O-D data within the TDM framework.
In addition to understanding the median travel behavior of area residents, the APO also seeks insights into key sub-groups. For example, as documented in the APO’s Stakeholder Engagement Plan*, it is estimated that about 15% of the region’s population is considered “low-income”. What is their transportation story? What role, if any, does public transit play in meeting their transportation needs? What role, if any, do active transportation modes play in meeting their transportation needs? Do they travel less frequently than moderate- and/or high-income residents? More frequently? Do they trip-chain more often? Are they less likely to own a personal vehicle? If they do own a vehicle, do they tend to have more people in their vehicle when they do travel? To what extent do ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft help to meet their travel needs? Do they tend to travel at the same times as moderate- and high-income residents, or at different times? Do their average trip times differ from others? Do they tend to make shorter or longer trips (in terms of miles) than others?
To the extent possible (given time and budget constraints) APO staff would like a better understanding of the travel behaviors of key demographic groups, including:
- People with low-income vs. people with moderate- and/or high-income
- People with disabilities vs. people without disabilities
- People of color vs. people who are not
- People who are recent immigrants and/or new Americans vs. people who are not
- People who do not own a personal vehicle vs. people who do
- People aged 65 years and older vs. people who are not
- People aged 18 years and younger vs. people who are not
- Residents of each city vs. residents of the other cities surveyed
- Other important or informative differences between population sub-groups as may be uncovered through the survey
Of course, we would like to have as much confidence in the survey results from these sub-groups as we have in the overall survey results, but we understand that may not be possible.
What is Happening Now?
The APO has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit project proposals from qualified consultants.
The RFP can be viewed and/or downloaded by clicking HERE.
Questions & Answers Regarding the RFP
January 25, 2021
Q: [We consider our] indirect and indirect rates and amounts as proprietary, though the APO has explicitly stated that it “…will not consider the prices submitted by the respondent to be proprietary or trade secret materials.” Will the APO accept our proposal on a time-and-materials basis in which we do not disclose either salary or indirect rate information?
A: The APO is a government agency spending public taxpayer dollars. The majority of the our funding comes from the Federal government, so our procurement process and grant expenditures must comply with 2 CFR Part 200. In accordance with those regulations, our procurement policies state, in part: “The APO shall use a time-and-materials type contract ONLY after a determination that no other contract is suitable AND if the contract includes a ceiling prices that the contractor exceeds at its own risk.” In short, time-and-materials type contracts do not offer sufficient transparency for the expenditure of public funds and therefore we will use them only as a last resort. If our current procurement process results in either 1.) no proposals being submitted, or 2.) proposals being submitted only from individuals or firms that we feel are not qualified to conduct the work, AND 3.) if we believe that using a time-and-materials based contract will result in more proposals from qualified firms, then we would consider it.
Q: Must both the prime and any sub-consultants provide the same level of budget details?
A: For specifics, we refer parties to 2 CFR 200.332 – Requirements for Pass-Through Entities. Overall, in our reading of Federal regulations, the requirements for financial transparency flow-through any recipient and therefore apply to any subrecipient. In other words, being a sub-consultant to a contract would not mitigate or relieve the sub-consultant of any obligation for financial transparency under Federal regulations. If this were not the case, being a sub-consultant could deliberately be used as a way to avoid compliance with Federal transparency requirements. Yes, sub-consultants are required to provide the same level of budget details as primary contractors.
Q: Do any/all certifications and affidavits require wet signature in blue ink?
A: No, most certifications and affidavits that are submitted to us are scanned copies of originals. This is 2021, and everyone understands that most business is conducted via electronic documents.
Q: Would you please indicate which, if any, certifications and affidavits are required of subconsultants?
A: As stated in a previous answer, all financial requirements flow through a pass-through agency to any sub-recipient. Which certifications and affidavits are required would be determined by the amount of funding proposed to be paid to the sub-consultant.
For any contract for more than $0: 1.) Affidavit of Non-Collusion, 2.) Conflict of Interest Checklist and Disclosure Form, 3.) Assurances for Non-Construction Programs, and 4.) Certificate of Liability Insurance
For contracts more than $50,000: 1.) Affidavit of Non-Collusion, 2.) Conflict of Interest Checklist and Disclosure Form, 3.) Assurances for Non-Construction Program, 4.) Certificate of Liability Insurance, and 5.) Immigration Status Certification
For contracts more then $100,000: 1.) Affidavit of Non-Collusion, 2.) Conflict of Interest Checklist and Disclosure Form, 3.) Assurances for Non-Construction Program, 4.) Certificate of Liability Insurance, 5.) Immigration Status Certification, 6.) Affirmative Action Certification, and 7.) Certification of Restriction on Lobbying
Q: Does the APO expect to receive key personnel resumes as part of an appendix? If so, are these included in the 30 page limit?
A: Submission of formal resumes is not required. However, given that the evaluation of the proposals will be based in part on expertise and experience of key personnel, short summaries of their relevant experience is helpful. These summaries are counted toward the 30 page limit.
Q: The St. Cloud APO website states that proposals are due on February 15th. Please confirm that the proposal is due per the RFP on February 16th.
A: February 15th is a Federal holiday and the APO offices will be closed on that date. The due date is February 16th. Thank you for catching the error. The webpage has been updated with the correct date.
Q: Regarding the price plan, does the APO view the sample price plan (Exhibit B) as exhaustive of possible expense line items? For example, could a line item be added for the cost of transportation or web hosting expenses?
A: The sample price plan included in the RFP is not meant to be exhaustive. Respondents should feel free to add line item costs for whatever additional costs they are including in their proposal.
Q: Would the APO please share a sample Professional Services Contract?
A: Yes, you can see an example of an actual contract from 2020 by clicking HERE.
Q: What expectations do you have for participation of household members? Do you require all household members to participate? What are your expectations concerning entry of children’s diaries by adult HH members?
A: We are not experts in survey methodologies. In my experience, when I have been the project manager for household travel surveys in the past, the one person recruited from each household was asked to keep a travel diary only for themselves. There were questions asked about the names and ages of other household members, and for each trip the recruit was asked to identify which other household members (if any) accompanied the recruit during the trip. So in that way the survey did capture some (but not all) of the travel behavior of other household members. But I honestly don’t know if this is the state-of-the-art in household travel survey methodologies. So, to answer your questions more directly, I expect that you – as the expert in survey methodologies – would identify in your proposal a methodology that you think is best given the goals we have identified in the RFP.
Q: Is the APO willing to be involved in informing the community about the survey, e.g. highlighting the survey on relevant government agency websites, enlisting local media to inform the public about the survey initiative, etc.?
A: Yes, absolutely. We will support the survey process however we can.
Q: Are there any restrictions associated with the amount or the form of the incentive for participation?
A: There are not any formal limits at an individual level. However, the survey budget ($300,000) is the budget. The incentives must come from that budget so there is a practical overall limit. In terms of the form of incentive, what I have seen most often – again from past experience – is a gift card. But I know of no reason why it couldn’t be cash, check, or some other form of credit. Remember that the consultant will be responsible for processing and paying the survey participants, and some amounts and forms of payment may be easier to process than others.
Q: Does the APO have any sampling frame at its disposal that could be helpful in the recruitment of participants?
A: We do not. Again, we are not survey experts. We look forward to reviewing the sampling frame that you propose. Having said that, I will add that we are always concerned about representation from traditionally underserved populations – persons of low income, people with disabilities, people for whom English is not their first language, people of color, etc. So we definitely would like to see a sample frame that takes these populations into consideration.
Then What Happens?
Proposals are due to the APO by February 16, 2021. APO staff will review and rank the proposals and negotiate terms of a contract with the top-ranked respondent.
How Can I Get Involved?
Public involvement will be critical to the success of this effort. We will be surveying a random sample of area residents and asking them to give us detailed information about their trip-making behavior for a limited period of time. If you are contacted to participate in the APO’s Household Travel Survey, we encourage you to do so. Participants will be selected randomly so as to get data from a representative cross-section of the community.