Request for proposals: Research and writing support for SGA’s transportation work

Smart Growth America (SGA) is seeking consultant support to conduct research for and/or write several public-facing reports and resources. These resources will support the technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership of Transportation for America and the National Complete Streets Coalition. The updated deadline to submit is Monday, October 31.

Responses to this Request for Proposals can be submitted for one specific deliverable outlined below or multiple deliverables in this RFP.

Scope of work

Transportation for America (T4America), a transportation advocacy wing of Smart Growth America, co-leads CHARGE (Coalition Helping America Rebuild and Go Electric) with the Clean Vehicles Coalition. T4America is tasked with developing a report that highlights investments in EV infrastructure, heavy-duty vehicle electrification, and public transit.” Along with general recommendations on how to align transportation electrification efforts with T4America’s principles as well as racial equity, smart growth, and environmental goals, the report will include 2-3 case studies for each of the three topics (EV infrastructure, heavy-duty vehicles, and public transit). T4America will provide an outline of the report with some of the case study topics already selected.

This report should speak to an audience of DOT and DOE officials in the Biden Administration, members of Congress and their staff, and state and local officials (both elected and staff) engaged in the implementation of the infrastructure law (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Our reports are pithy and clear and avoid the use of jargon. The report will draw in part on the style and rhetoric of the following past reports and blog posts:

The report will be branded as a CHARGE report and CHARGE coalition members will have several opportunities to weigh in on the report’s content and language.


The awardee will be responsible for the following tasks in developing this report.

  • Participate in planning calls with the CHARGE coalition and CHARGE leadership (which includes the Clean Vehicles Coalition and Smart Growth America).
  • Work closely with SGA to refine the report outline and write text for a report that highlights investments in EV infrastructure, heavy-duty vehicle electrification, and public transit.
  • Collaborate with the SGA communications team to ensure the report layout works with the text of the report to communicate the report’s message.
  • Incorporate changes to reflect input from CHARGE coalition members, the Clean Vehicles Coalition, and Smart Growth America.

Deliverable 1 timeline

  • Draft report within 20 calendar days of notice to proceed.
  • Draft final report within 50 calendar days of notice to proceed

Through a cooperative agreement with the CDC, SGA is developing a report on multimodal needs in rural and small-town America: why multimodal transportation access and active transportation matter in rural communities; the challenges rural communities face; innovative strategies communities are using to improve transportation access, revitalize downtown centers, and create a sense of place; and policy recommendations to support rural communities.

SGA staff have conducted a field scan as the foundation for this report, including a literature review, data analysis, and a series of interviews with decision-makers from communities around the country. We are seeking support to turn these findings into a compelling, readable, public-facing report that both makes a strong case for the value of multimodal access and smart growth development strategies in rural places and highlights innovative and replicable strategies from specific communities.

This report will be branded as a resource from Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition. In addition to SGA staff, CDC staff will provide significant input on a detailed outline for the report and a draft version of the report.

While grounded in research, this report should be digestible, readable, and persuasive to decision-makers and the public rather than written in an academic style. This report should draw on elements of the style, tone, and structure of past reports and resources like the following:


The awardee will be responsible for the following tasks in developing this report:

  • Confirm a timeline for report development with SGA with a goal of releasing this report in the first quarter of 2023.
  • Work with SGA to develop a thorough understanding of the findings from the interviews, data analysis, and literature review already conducted by SGA staff.
  • Work with SGA to refine an existing detailed report outline based on feedback from CDC staff.
  • Write a draft of the report based on the detailed outline, and incorporate changes to reflect feedback from SGA staff and the CDC on the timeline identified.
  • Provide input as SGA scopes and plans an online resource hub with findings and case studies from the report as well as SGA’s other rural work (SGA will work with a separate web developer to develop this online resource).
  • Work with SGA staff to identify opportunities for and create graphics, one-pagers, and visuals to showcase findings in bite-sized format from the report that are easy to share as quick-read references and resources.

Deliverable 2 timeline:

SGA anticipates releasing this report in the first quarter of 2023. While a final timeline will be confirmed during the contract signing process, SGA currently anticipates the following:<

  • First report draft due December 23.
  • Final report draft due Feb 17, incorporating SGA and CDC feedback.

The National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, is seeking to identify examples of states, regions, and localities that have made meaningful progress in achieving positive outcomes through intentional Complete Streets work, whether they have a strong Complete Streets policy in place or through other approaches. While some Complete Streets policies have led to positive change, some do not lead to meaningful improvements due to weak policy language, a lack of political will to make change, or other barriers. SGA is seeking to expand our understanding of and guidance on what factors make policies successful in producing change and how to help localities and states track the impacts of their Complete Streets policies. This work is supported through a cooperative agreement from the CDC and must include a significant focus on increasing physical activity to improve health outcomes.

This work will involve an iterative approach, including:

  • Defining a short list of indicators for what “significant Complete Streets progress” looks like (such as significant reduction in roadway fatalities and injuries; major infrastructure changes on a network scale; increase in active travel; improvements in public health outcomes; reduction in disparities in safe walking, biking, and transit access, health outcomes, or other inequities; etc.).
  • Identifying communities and/or states that have made significant progress on one or more of those indicators, whether recipients of past SGA technical assistance or not.
  • Determining what actions and approaches supported that progress through research and interviews.
  • Developing a public-facing resource that 1) profiles examples, building on the evaluation above, and 2) provides guidance for states and localities on how to assess the effectiveness of their own Complete Streets policies and practices.


The awardee will be responsible for the following tasks.

  • Collaborate with SGA on a process to define a short list of qualitative and quantitative metrics for Complete Streets outcomes.
  • Conducting research and interviews to identify examples of success and the actions and approaches that supported success. 
  • Based on the findings, collaborate with SGA staff to outline and write sections of a resource with case studies and guidance on how localities can track their own progress on Complete Streets. 

Deliverable 3 timeline:

This work must be fully or mostly complete by July 31, 2023. SGA currently anticipates the following schedule, subject to change:

  • Development of metrics/indicators by December 23, 2022
  • Research and surveys to identify examples of success by February 28, 2023
  • First draft of the written report by April 7, 2023
  • Final draft of the written report by May 31, 2023

The National Complete Streets Coalition periodically releases a report evaluating all Complete Streets policies adopted since the last report and profiles the strongest policies based on our ten elements framework, with case studies and other companion resources. SGA will be releasing the next update to this report in March of 2023, evaluating policies adopted from 2019-2022. SGA staff are currently evaluating and scoring all policies. SGA is seeking support for writing sections of this report as needed (the exact scale of support needed is TBD). 


The awardee will be responsible for the following tasks in developing this report:

  • Work with SGA to refine an outline of the Best Complete Streets Policies Report as needed.
  • Draft to be determined sections of the report as identified in discussion with SGA. This could include the main report text, specific case studies of strong policies included in the report, callout boxes, or other content yet to be identified.
  • Revise content based on SGA feedback.
  • Draft content for SGA’s blog based on the report content as needed/requested.

Deliverable 4 timeline:

SGA anticipates releasing this report in March of 2023. While a final timeline will be confirmed during the contract signing process, SGA currently anticipates the following:

  • Initial draft content due December 23, 2022.
  • Additional draft content (as needed) due January
  • Final draft content due February 17, 2022

Transportation for America (T4America), a transportation advocacy wing of Smart Growth America, will be developing an online resource portal for advocates working to advance better transportation policies and practices in line with T4America’s three principles: prioritizing maintenance, designing for safety over speed, and connecting people to jobs and services. T4America is seeking support developing content and collateral for this resource hub (to be determined ), such as FAQs, topic-specific blog posts and one-pagers, memos, or case studies. This work will primarily require writing support but may include some research through the writing process. While the advocates portal is still being scoped towards deliverables aimed at advancing implementation accountability and advocates influencing implementation decision-making, T4America’s Guide to the 2021 Infrastructure Law is a good model in terms of basic structure, writing style, and type of content covered. 


The awardee will be responsible for the following tasks in developing this report:

  • Collaborate with T4America staff to brainstorm specific content for the advocates portal.
  • Draft identified written content and collateral for the portal.
  • Revise content as needed based on feedback from SGA.

Deliverable 5 timeline:

  • Draft FAQs, blog post(s), or other small collateral material within 10 calendar days.
  • Draft final FAQs, blog post(s), or other small collateral material within 10 calendar days after SGA feedback of the initial draft.
  • Draft memos, case studies, reports, or larger collateral material within 20 calendar days.
  • Draft memos, case studies, reports, or larger collateral material within 20 calendar days after SGA feedback of the initial draft.

Full and open competition policy:

SGA strives to ensure full and open competition, guarantee the objective performance of contracts, and eliminate the possibility for unfair competitive advantages, and therefore SGA uses a competitive process for procurements that exceed $15,000.

Proposal selection shall be based on overall value to SGA considering responsiveness to the solicitation, price, quality, deadlines of delivery, warranties, accountability and fulfillment of the service, and other relevant factors. SGA will also consider other benefits associated with the procurement in the selection process including but not limited to the opportunity to use small, disadvantaged, and minority-owned firms, the opportunity to select procurements that have environmental benefits, the opportunity to support transit and walkable neighborhoods, and other factors that align with SGA’s mission.

Proposal submission:

Interested applicants should submit your proposal via email to Rayla Bellis at [email protected] by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday, October 31 (deadline has been extended from 10/21), including:

  • A brief letter of interest specifying which deliverable(s) the proposal pertains to and confirms your availability to work on the timeline outlined. Please Include your DUNS number if applicable
  • Short resume, including descriptions of 3-5 past research and/or writing projects relevant to the topic(s) in question. 
  • 2-3 writing samples you believe capture the appropriate tone and voice for the deliverable(s)
  • List of references
  • Proposed budget, including hourly rate and estimated overall cost to develop the deliverable in question. Actual contract hours will be determined in collaboration with SGA after selection.

Send any questions to [email protected].

Selection criteria:

SGA is seeking a diverse pool of instructors. Individuals and small firms as well as minority- and women-owned businesses are encouraged to apply. Applicants will be selected based on:

  • Demonstrated subject matter knowledge of the issue/topic for the deliverable(s) your proposal pertains to (ex. the relationship between electrification and smart growth strategies; multimodal needs in rural areas; Complete Streets policies and implementation; etc.).
  • Quality of writing samples.
  • Cost of services.
  • Availability to work on the timelines outlined.

View a pdf version of this RFP.

Some of these deliverables are supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under cooperative agreement OT18-1802 supporting the Active People, Healthy NationSM Initiative, a national initiative led by the CDC to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027. Learn more.

Climate Change Complete Streets Transportation