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Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)

The Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) Research and Implementation Program (Research Program) is managed by the Research and Technology Implementation Division (RTI). The Research Program provides the framework for TxDOT to contract with Texas state-supported institutions of higher education or other qualified research agencies (University or Performing Agency) through a competitive process to improve Texas transportation.

Summary of Standard Terms

Period of Performance

  • Project period of performance mirrors the fiscal year with an annual end date of August 31st
  • Pre-award spending is not allowable
  • O WORK MAY BEGIN for any fiscal year until RTI issues either the initial or continuation Activation Letter or a Notice to proceed
  • Delays will result in official modifications of the project schedules and budgets to allow the work to end on August 31st

Personnel Changes

  • Change of any key person named in the proposal or award requires TxDOT approval
  • If a change in PI is needed, every effort should be made to find a replacement as soon as possible. UH will send RTI a nomination for the replacement. The formal request will include:
    • When and how UH intends to deliver the project documentation
    • Name and professional background of the nominee
    • The nominee’s relationship to the project
  • Disengagement of the PI for 3 months or more requires TxDOT approval
  • Reduction in effort of named personnel requires TxDOT approval
  • OCG invoices (Form 2635) must identify the role/activity of all personnel paid by the award

Restrictions on Allowable Costs

  • Costs charged to RTI projects must meet federal and state requirements
  • Business meals not related to specific TxDOT-approved travel are not allowed
  • Promotional items (i.e. t-shirts, koozies, & key chains) are not allowed
  • Indirect costs are calculated on the modified total direct cost base (MTDC) using the UH federally-approved indirect cost rate. However, the maximum percentage that can be charged to a project is set by the CRIA; currently 25%. The difference between the two rates is cost sharing

Re-Budgeting

  • Carry forward across project years is NOT allowed. Each yearly budget stands alone
  • Planning and cash forecasting during proposal preparation produce effective fiscal management
  • Costs must adhere to planned budgets and schedules; however, TxDOT does allow slight budget variances within approved budget categories
  • Written contractual amendments are required for the following changes:
    • Any revision which would require additional funding
    • Any revision to the scope of work, including deliverables or objectives
    • Budget revisions
    • Extensions

Equipment/Property

  • Equipment means an article of nonexpendable, tangible property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or greater
  • TxDOT retains title to property purchased under RTI projects, unless RTI transfers title, in writing, to UH. Should TxDOT and UH share the cost of a piece of equipment, both share title. If UH incorporates a component purchased by TxDOT into a piece of equipment and that component cannot be recovered from the equipment, TxDOT and UH share title.
  • Equipment purchases are reported to RTI through monthly invoices and monthly progress reports (MPR)
  • When equipment is acquired or produced UH must attach a RTI Asset Tag and a UH tag number. The following information is then sent to RTI:
    • Project funding the purchase
    • Location and date of equipment delivery
    • Individual who accepted the delivery
    • Pictures of the item including the RTI Asset Tag next to the serial number – front and side views
  • TxDOT may allow UH to retain possession of the equipment for use on other TxDOT projects funded through RTI programs, however the equipment should not be used on non-RTI projects.
  • TxDOT may ask for the return of TxDOT equipment at any time after a project terminates or is cancelled.
  • No equipment funded by a RTI project may be purged without first contacting RTI. See 2019 University Handbook  beginning Chapter 7-6 for details on equipment disposal.      

Subcontracting

  • UH must have written concurrence from RTI for subcontracts with State of Texas-supported universities.
    • This includes contracts in excess of $4,000 with other entities
  • Joint proposals from State of Texas-supported universities are awarded separately by TxDOT
  • Should an entity other than a State of Texas-supported university join the Research Team, UH/OCG is responsible for issuing the subcontract. This includes out-of-state universities and private entities

Travel

  • Travel is categorized as In-State or Out-of-State (includes international)
  • TxDOT must approve out-of-state travel. The request, Form 2632, must be submitted no less than 10 days prior to the trip.    
  • Documentation must be provided for all out-of-town travel and includes:
    • Name of traveler
    • Travel dates
    • Destination
    • Purpose
    • Other party – point of contact
    • Provide a clear justification for over-the-weekend travel
    • Itemized costs for meals, lodging, transportation, etc.
  • State travel expense reimbursement is not based on a per diem rate. Travelers must claim the actual expenses incurred for meals and lodging not to exceed the maximum allowable rates. The maximum should not be claimed unless the actual cost is equal to or exceeds the maximum allowable.
  • The UH PI is required to attend project meetings (often monthly) as scheduled by TxDOT.

Publications

Acknowledgement: UH and members of the Project Team must be acknowledged in each report. Acknowledgements should be presented on a separate page.

Disclaimer: If TxDOT disapproves or conditionally approves the report, UH must include any disclaimer deemed appropriate by RTI. Disclaimers are presented on a separate page following the title page.

  • The disclaimer will be accompanied by a statement identifying the engineer in charge of the project, including name, P.E. designation, and license number. All technical reports produced for TxDOT under this program will comply with the requirements of the State of Texas and TxDOT related to signing, sealing, and dating of engineering documents, as applicable to the work produced under the specific project.
  • Product Disclaimer - reports will avoid the appearance of endorsing or favoring a specific commercial product, commodity, or service. Trade names or manufacturers’ names are given only if their exclusion results in the loss of meaningful information.  When trade names or manufacturers’ names are used in a report, the following “notice” will be included on the disclaimer page: “The United States Government and the State of Texas do not endorse products or manufacturers.  Trade or manufacturers’ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of this report.”
  • Author’s Disclaimer - required in all technical reports: “The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is (are) responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official view or policies of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) or the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.”
  • Engineering Disclaimer – required on all technical reports that contain engineering recommendations and states: “This report is not intended for construction, bidding, or permit purposes.”

Reporting – Documentation/Deliverables/Meetings

  • Performance reporting: The Project Deliverables Table specifies the deliverable due to TxDOT. The requirement for a deliverable can only be changed by modifying the Project Agreement.
        • Monthly Progress Reports (MPRs)/Task Activities
          • Status reporting details are identified in the Deliverable Table
            • MPRs are listed as a minor deliverable. Provide the project number, project name, agency, month/year and technology readiness level (TRL)
            • The following questions should be addressed in each MPR:
              • Work Completed/Ongoing This Month: Discuss the actual work within the tasks, deliverables being worked on and completed
              • Work Planned Next Month: Discuss the ongoing work within the tasks and any expected or completed deliverables
              • Comments/Issues: Discuss any concerns that the Research Team is facing or information the Project Manager/Team should know  
            • MPRs are due the last day of the deliverable month with a 3 business day grace period (example: performance month is July, 2018 - report is due at the end of the month plus 3 days – August 3, 2018)   
            • A major deliverable is assigned in Exhibit B and listed as the last deliverable in a task (subtask series) and due at the end of the month
        • Technical Memorandum (Tech Memo - TM)
          •  Project Agreements include provisions requiring the PI to submit a TM in association with a task. TMs document progress and provide current research results to TxDOT. TMs benefit the project by facilitating the preparation of project reports.   
        • Final Technical Reporting  
          • Project Summary Reports (PSR)
            • Required for all projects as identified in the Deliverables Table
            • Limited to 1,000 words. If a graph/image is included the word limit must be reduced to make space.  Graphs must be clear and referenced in the PSR
            • The ideal PSR is a clear and concise description of:  
              • Background
              • What the Researchers did
              • What the Researchers found
              • What this means – suggestions for putting the findings to use Research Report (R1)
            • A draft of the report is submitted to TxDOT for review, comments and corrections
            • Some issues to address:
              • Comparison of actual accomplishments to the measurable objectives or outcomes established for the period. Where the output of the project can be quantified, a computation of the cost per unit of output may be required.
              • Reasons for slippage if established objectives were not met
              • Additional pertinent information including, when appropriate, analysis and explanation of cost overruns or high unit costs.
            • Value of Research (VoR)
              At the end of the project the VoR is revaluated and submitted as a separate section of the final Research Report. PIs will recalculate the VoR template with updated economic benefit area variables. Variances between the initial and revised estimates should be contrasted and discussed.
            • A Close-out meeting (CO)
            • A Close-out Video – (COV) best method approach to convey research findings to operating personnel for use
        • Standards in Reporting
          • Technical reports will be developed, published and reproduced to reflect the best professional standards of UH and TxDOT. Details on reporting standards can be found in the 2019 University Handbook, specifically Chapter 6, Section 2.   
          • Reports are submitted via email to RTIMAIN@txdot.gov with a copy sent to the RTI Project Manager and the OCG Research Administrator.   
    • Financial reporting
          • Once a specified month’s deliverables have been sent to RTI an invoice report for that month may be submitted to TxDOT.
          • Each invoice is task-based and should briefly identify the role/activity of each salary/wage charge
          • Invoices should be submitted no later than 120 days after costs are incurred
          • Invoices include a completed Invoice Report form (found on RTI’s website)
          • Late invoicing penalties are imposed
          • Support documentation is required for each invoice
          • Equipment ordered but not received by the end of the fiscal year cannot be billed. However, UH may send a copy of the purchase order and request funds carry over to the next fiscal year to pay for it
          • Invoices must be black and white PDF format (1 PDF file per invoice,)
          • Final invoices are due by October 31st and must be marked “FINAL”
          • Files under 15 megabytes may be submitted to RTI_Invoices@txdot.gov
          • Files under 15 megabytes may be submitted to RTI_Invoices@txdot.gov
          • Larger files should be sent through TxDOT’s drop box https://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/dropbox