Procedures for Evaluating Research and Development Contracts in the Department of Transportation

PSAD-78-110: Published: May 24, 1978. Publicly Released: May 24, 1978.

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A March 1977 report concluded that the Federal Railroad Administration, the Office of the Secretary of Transportation, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did not have formal procedures for evaluating the usefulness of contracted research and development end products. A followup review was conducted at the Department of Transportation to determine if any changes have been made to evaluation procedures. Although the Federal Railroad Administration has no formal system for evaluating contractor performance upon completion of a contract, the administration's technical representative is responsible for the acceptability of the end product, and the contractor is subject to stringent reporting requirements during the contract performance. The Procurement Operations Division of the Office of the Secretary of Transportation has not developed a formal procedure for evaluating items delivered under research and development contracts. Because these contracts are for individual studies or research and the end products are reports or recommendations, officials believe that the only persons technically competent to evaluate the acceptability of these end products are technical representatives or their designees. After the March 1977 report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiated a requirement for a formal evaluation of completed contracts. Although two of the three agencies have not changed their procedures to include an evaluation of research and development end products, monitoring contractor performance and holding technical representatives responsible could assure acceptable contracted products.

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