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.
General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Federal Railroad Administration, Department of Transportation
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants
Fiscal Year 2016
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. 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
$1.900,000 was awarded for the FY17 Short Line Safety Institute Program to carry out safety culture assessments on short line and regional railroads, identify and delivery training related to safety practices and safety culture, and continue external communication and strategic planning within these safety initiatives.Fiscal Year 2018
FRA obligated funds for 3 grants supporting research activities for shortlines and rail safety innovations deserving exploratory analysis.Fiscal Year 2019
FRA anticipates obligating funds for 3 grants supporting research activities to improve safety and performance of railroads.Fiscal Year 2020
FRA anticipates obligating funds for 3 or more grants supporting research activities to improve safety and performance of railroads.
Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, Public Law 91-458, 49 U.S.C. 10208; 103(i)
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
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.
See Application Procedures section (092).
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Preapplication coordination is required. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
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: SF424 - Application for Federal Assistance, SF 424C - Budget Information for Construction, or SF 424A - Budget Information for Non-Construction, SF 424D - Assurances for Construction, or SF 424B - Assurances for Non-Construction, FRA's Additional Assurances and Certifications, SF LLL - Disclosure of Lobbying Activities; and other information such as project narratives, statements of work, and budgets.
FRA will contact applicants with successful applications with information and instructions about the award process. This notification is not an authorization to begin proposed project activities. A formal grant agreement or cooperative agreement signed by both the grantee and the FRA, including an approved scope, schedule, and budget, is required before the award is considered complete.
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
FRA is committed to responding to applicants in a reasonable and timely manner. Response times will vary based on size, scope, complexity and volume of applications.
60 Days & to the Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration.
How are proposals selected?
Typical criteria n 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).
How may assistance be used?
Projects must show a relationship towards advancing railroad safety and technology. Applicants must typically demonstrate 5 years of railroad research activity.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
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.
No additional requirements.
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.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.
Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
No restriction on period of time the assistance normally is available. Assistance is usually awarded upon request for reimbursement
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, DC 20590 US
(Cooperative Agreements) FY 18$2,900,000.00; FY 19 est $2,950,000.00; FY 20 est $2,950,000.00; FY 17$2,700,073.00; FY 16$2,674,712.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Range for FY 2018 was $100,000 to $2,400,000 with an average of $762,500.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Recipients of funds must comply with all applicable requirements of Federal law, including, without limitation, the Constitution of the United States; the conditions of performance, nondiscrimination requirements, and other assurances made applicable to the award of funds in accordance with regulations of the Department of Transportation; and applicable Federal financial assistance and contracting principles promulgated by the Office of Management and Budget. In complying with these requirements, recipients, in particular, must ensure that no concession agreements are denied or other contracting decisions made on the basis of speech or other activities protected by the First Amendment. If the Department determines that a recipient has failed to comply with applicable Federal requirements, the Department may terminate the award of funds and disallow previously incurred costs, requiring the recipient to reimburse any expended award funds. Examples of administrative and national policy requirements include: 2 CFR Part 200; procurement standards; compliance with Federal civil rights laws and regulations; requirements for disadvantaged business enterprises, debarment and suspension requirements, and drug-free workplace requirements; FRA's and OMB's Assurances and Certifications; Americans with Disabilities Act; safety requirements; NEPA; environmental justice requirements; performance measures under 49 U.S.C. 22907(f); grant conditions under 49 U.S.C. 22905, including the Buy America requirements, the provision deeming operators rail carriers for certain purposes and grantee agreements with railroad right-of-way owners for projects using railroad right-of way. See an example of standard terms and conditions for FRA grant awards at https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L19057.
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. 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
An example of a project funded in FY 2018 is American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association’s Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) to assess and improve members’ safety performance. The SLSI 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.Fiscal Year 2019
An example of a project funded in FY 2019 is a study for identifying and evaluating existing and upcoming technologies that are feasible for wireless train line operation, utilizing comprehensive modeling and computer simulations.Fiscal Year 2020
Examples of projects anticipated for funding in FY 2020 include research consisting of innovative concepts and methods to improve safety and performance of railroads.