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Center Identification Number:  77602       


Project Title:  Finding Ways to Reduce Insurance and Bonding Costs for Major Transit Projects


Co-Principal Investigators:        


Stephen Reich

Phone: 813-974-9847



Janet L. Davis




Center for Urban Transportation Research

University of South Florida

Fax: 813-974-5168


External Project Contact:     


Ike Ubaka

Public Transportation Office / Transit Planning




I.  Project Objective


This project would investigate the reasons behind the recent rising costs in insurance and bonding for transit projects and identify ways that transit agencies can minimize these costs in their major capital programs. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has expressed its concern over the escalating costs of major transit capital projects, particularly as the demand for federal capital transit dollars increases dramatically while available funds for such projects grow only modestly at best. It is also anticipated that there will be major transit capital projects undertaken in a number of Florida communities in the next five years, and results of this study can help to minimize the amount of state and local dollars required for insurance and bonding.  


II.  Project Abstract


The study will examine the history of several major transit construction projects and analyze the variables to identify the cost drivers. More importantly, it will provide best practices on how the costs for bonding and insurance for major transit capital projects can be lowered.


III.  Task Descriptions

The proposed scope of services for this project consists of the following tasks.

Task 1  Literature Review

A comprehensive literature review shall be conducted that will identify all articles that have been written on the subject of insurance and bonding expenses associated with major transit capital projects. Relevant literature pertaining to this subject shall be compiled and summarized. The principle investigators shall explore all sources available through the Internet as well as through traditional TRIS sources. Additionally, the investigators also will take advantage of its extensive connections to the transit community through its numerous listservs, including the 190 transit managers who are part of the Leadership APTA program, the 1500+ names that are on the Transportation Demand Management listserv, and the 200+ people who subscribe to the National Bus Rapid Transit Institute to help secure information on major transit capital projects that are experiencing challenges in obtaining reasonable insurance and bonding rates.

Task 2  Maintaining Close Association with the Federal Transit Administration and FDOT

The research team shall stay in close touch with the Federal Transit Administration offices at both the Washington and regional levels throughout the course of the project. Staff members of FTA are expected to be peer reviewers of the report and to offer guidance throughout the project. The FTA staff will help to identify the projects that have been most troublesome, and to identify the local transit managers who have worked most closely with the issues associated with bonding and insurance requirements and costs. In addition, the CUTR research team shall work with the most appropriate official identified by FDOT who is familiar with the costs associated with major capital projects to ensure that that agency’s concerns are addressed through the report. With the consent of FTA staff, CUTR researchers shall invite stakeholders identified in this project to meet at the offices of the FTA to discuss preliminary findings of the research and to share from their perspectives their ideas on how the costs of insurance and bonding could be reduced.

Task 3 Review of Transit Agencies that have Addressed the Issue of Bonding and Insurance Costs

The information gathered from industry contacts and FTA staff will make a formal survey instrument unnecessary. Surveys are often burdensome to the transit industry and often submitted in incomplete fashion. The information sought is not “yes or no” in nature, and more in depth questions need to be asked. Through direct contact, the project staff shall gather information regarding the types of transit projects undertaken, the circumstances and environment that the project was built in, the total project costs, the cost of insurance and bonding, and whether there were issues regarding the costs of insurance and bonding.

CUTR project staff shall attempt to determine if the costs for insurance and bonding were disproportionate, and if so, identify the reasons for the higher-than-expected costs. This task will also include discussions with financial representatives of loaning institutions in the area and with construction management firms to gain a broader understanding and perspective of the causes for high insurance and bonding. If enough positive responses are received, CUTR project staff will visit FTA and shall organize a round table discussion with representatives of transit project managers, insurance agencies, bonding agencies, construction contractors, and the FDOT project manager to bring as many issues out in the open as possible to see if common understandings and solutions can be identified. Most importantly, this task will identify techniques that transit agencies have used to minimize the costs of bonding and insurance, or new methods that have been suggested by others that have been contacted through this project. If necessary, experience gained through other transportation projects, such as road or bridge construction, will also be sought if the issues are similar, to gain additional insight into the dynamics of the costs of bonding and insurance.

Task 4 Final Report

A final report shall be compiled that will include an introductory section, and separate chapters summarizing all data compilation/analysis and findings from Task 3. A concluding section will provide an overall summary and insight gained from the project as a whole. Drafts of the report shall be reviewed by the project panel throughout the project, with a month at the end of the project for final review. A PowerPoint presentation shall be developed summarizing the findings of the study. In addition, invitations will be extended to professionals with special insights into the issues of bonding and insurance to submit white papers that can be included as appendices to the report.


There will be four deliverables for this project. The first three deliverables will be progress reports for Tasks 1,2 and 3. The fourth deliverable will be the “Final Report”, in both draft and final forms. Once approved by the FDOT Project Manager and the Research Office, fifty copies of the final report and technical memorandums shall be provided on compact discs to the FDOT Project Manager.


IV.  Project Schedule





















Task 1



















Task 2



















Task 3



















Task 4



















Progress Reports



















Final Report




















V.  Project Budget


Finding Ways to Reduce Insurance and Bonding Costs for Major Transit Projects

Budget Categories


Center Director Salary


Faculty Salaries


Admin. Staff Salaries


Other Staff Salaries


Student Salaries


Staff Benefits


Total Salaries and Benefits




Permanent Equipment


Expendable Property/Supplies


Domestic Travel


Foreign Travel


Other Direct Costs


Total Direct Costs


Indirect Costs


Total Costs



Notes: The project team will include faculty, students, and secretarial and other support staff who will work directly on the project and whose costs are reflected in the direct costs of the project as listed above. Budget request includes salary for clerical and administrative staff, postage, local telephone service, office supplies, general purpose software, subscriptions, and/or memberships.


Domestic travel is budgeted to include 5 person trips at $300 each to meet with various parties regarding survey design and access to driver information. Travel will be in state.


VI. Student Involvement


Graduate students may provide assistance with the literature review, research and data collection, qualitative and quantitative analyses, and/or report writing.


VII. Technology Transfer Activities




VIII. Potential Benefits of the Project




IX. TRB Keywords



National Center for Transit Research · at the Center For Urban Transportation Research · University of South Florida · 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 · Tampa, FL 33620-5375 · (813) 974-3120 · (813) 974-5168 · · Comments: