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Federal Highway Administration Traffic Noise Model (TNM) version 3.0 User Interface Cooperative Research

Solicitation Number: DTFH61-13-R-00008
Agency: Department of Transportation
Office: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
Location: Office of Acquisition and Grants Management
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Added: Feb 13, 2013 3:19 pm




Federal Highway Administration

Please see attachment BAA DTFH61-13-R-00008, for full details.

Added: Mar 14, 2013 4:37 pm
The purpose of this amendment is to incorporate the following supplemental information in paragraph one of the section titled, Full Proposals of Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) Number DTFH61-13-R-00008:

The capabilities for the persistence library are as follows:

1. Import TNM 2.5 inputs in xml format as created from the TNM 2.5 to 3.0 converter within the TNM 3.0 Beta.
2. Open and save TNM 3.0 cases in xml format, which will include all inputs to the model, and sound level results for only specific designs: the default barrier designs ("All Mitigation Barriers at Zero Height" and "All Barriers at Input Height") and all remembered user-defined barrier designs.

In order to support the same barrier design process as supported in TNM 2.5, the BAA respondents would need to develop means to save partial results. Offerors can obtain better understanding of this by reading the source code.

In addition to the above, this amendment is also to provide FHWA's response to the following question regarding the BAA:

Question 1) Does FHWA want the offerors to implement acoustic calc code? For example, does FHWA require:

1- acoustic calculation code plus a GUI front-end (includes all other input/output and more features, as listed in BAA, page 4), or
2- only the GUI front-end code, where the acoustic code comes from Volpe/FHWA (for example by a DLL)

FHWA's response: The first sentence within the "Description and Objectives" (top of page 3) states "The FHWA is soliciting proposals to interface the FHWA Traffic Noise Model (TNM) version 3.0 acoustics library within a graphic user interface (GUI) such as...". As such, FHWA expects any submission to take the FHWA acoustic library, also referred to as the "source code", and implement (or, interface) it with a GUI to accomplish at least the items listed on page 4 of the BAA. FHWA will have sole ownership of the acoustical code, and any changes from the acoustical code will come from the FHWA.

This BAA is amended accordingly.

Added: Mar 19, 2013 4:06 pm
The purpose of this amendment is to modify the following sections: SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT DATES, PROPOSAL SUBMISSION, and FORMAT FOR QUESTIONS Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) Number DTFH61-13-R-00008, to extend the deadline to submit questions from March 13, 2013 to March 25, 2013 at 5 pm (EST).

This BAA is amended accordingly.
Added: Apr 04, 2013 10:47 am
The purpose of this amendment is to provide FHWA's response to the following questions regarding the BAA:

Question 1) Regarding DXF3D:
A) What is the purpose of the DXF3D objects?
B) Is it to provide ground elevation information (Note: TNM Calculation Kernel is not using digital ground model, it only uses elevation lines) or information on buildings (not an object that TNM calculation is processing)?

FHWA's response: The TNM uses elevation data to establish the spatial relationship between objects. You are correct that TNM does not use a digital terrain model. The model assumes a constant slope between two objects.

Question 2) Regarding Data Reduction:
A) Will the CAD/GIS interface TNM software require data reduction capabilities? (Note: The BAA software specification do not require any form of data reduction. The data provided through GIS, ACAD, Microstation,... resources are in general too detailed for acoustic modeling purposes. From our experience with the TNM v2.5 calculation kernel it will be unmanageable to develop contours of unreduced data. The interface tools will require functions to reduce elevation information to manageable model size.)

FHWA's response: The purpose of the BAA is to solicit ideas on implementation of the acoustic code within an interface. The intent of the pre-proposal phase is to obtain input on how this can be achieved. Please provide ideas on how to reduce elevation information to a manageable model size for the purposes of calculating noise contours. Please keep in mind that the primary purpose of noise contours in the FHWA noise program is to provide an estimate of future noise levels on undeveloped lands within project limits.

Question 3) Regarding Digital Terrain Model:
A) Will the TNM Calculation Code consider using a Digital Terrain Model?

FHWA's response: Yes

B) What is planned in terms of using aerial surveying data clouds? (Note: The exclusive usage of elevation lines to describe the terrain has been sufficient 10 years ago but since then new technology has arisen with the possibility of aerial topographical surveys. The elevation information usually is presented as a cloud of x,y,z coordinates at a density of 1 coordinate per m^2. To use these data they are triangulated and handed over to the simulation program. The raw triangulated mesh is much better suited for noise mapping than elevation lines derived from the raw data. Using the triangulation directly will strain any simulation program as a cloud of points on a quasi-meter basis will create 2.5 million coordinates per square mile, triangulating these coordinates for sure will overload the current TNM 2.5 calculation core (see 2. Data Reduction). Using the Digital Terrain Model to generate elevation lines also is not a good option as the noise propagation only finds information across the elevation lines but never in a parallel to it.)

FHWA's response: As above, the FHWA seeks input from offerors on ideas about incorporating the TNM acoustic code within other interfaces. Use of cloud data would help modernize the overall analysis process. Please provide ideas in the pre-proposal on how this can be accomplished.

Question 4) Regarding TNM Calculation Errors:
A) How is FHWA planning to handle computation errors from the TNM v3.0 calculation code? An example would be that an elevation line crosses a road or noise barrier, which in the current calculation core is illegal. (Note: Based on past experience with handling large amounts of data it can be anticipated that even after rigorous testing, computation problems will be encountered as software is used by end-users.)

FHWA's response: Computation errors will be handled similar to how they were handled in previous versions of TNM. The example provided remains an illegal intersection and will return an error message.

Question 5) Regarding Noise Mapping:
(Note: The state of the art in noise modeling is not only to produce answers for single receivers but also to create noise contour maps. To create noise contours either a mesh of receivers or a grid of receivers needs to be created and handed over to the calculation core to calculate the results for each of the receivers. The receivers need to be set in the coordinates x,y,z, which again would require the use of a digital terrain model. Grid based systems are more simple but if no proper interpolation techniques are used, will use much more calculation time. Receivers based on a triangulated mesh system can be positioned much better in relationship to roads and barriers and thus will create much better quality of contour lines with much less calculation effort.)
A) Will the definition of the field of receivers be done within the TNM calculation core or is this part of the external pre-processing?

FHWA's response: TNM users typically assign receiver locations based on the location of external areas of frequent human associated with a receptor (residence/place of worship/school, etc.) These locations are typically selected as distinct inputs to the model. As such, this is expected to be part of the external pre-processing. However, the FHWA is interested in obtaining other implementation ideas.

B) What is the preference for a structure, grid or mesh?

FHWA's response: There is no preference. The agency requests that submitters provide their ideas on the best approach.

C) Is FHWA considering the calculation time requirements for contour mapping?

FHWA's response: The TNM has not been widely used for calculation of noise contours due to FWHA's regulatory limits on how noise contours are used in reporting. For example, use of the noise contour function in TNM cannot be used for the purpose of identifying impacts. The run time of contour mapping within TNM 2.5 is not excessive, but can vary depending on parameters selected by the user.

Question 6) Regarding Long Term Development:
A) Is there a long-term support or warranty requirement for software updates / software development?
B) Will FHWA and Volpe be providing hotline software support?

FHWA's response: The FHWA and Volpe currently provide technical support for TNM users. We have considered the possibility that this may no longer be the case depending on the results of the BAA. Ongoing product support for specific applications may result from this activity.

Question 7) Regarding TNM v3.0 Calculation Core:
A) Does the TNM v3.0 calculation code include changes that allow elevation lines objects to cross roads objects, barriers objects or receiver objects?

FHWA's response: No

B) Does the TNM v3.0 calculation code include changes that allow road to cross over each other (i.e., freeway intersection)?

FHWA's response: TNM roadways are allowed to cross each other if they share a common intercept (x,y and z coordinate point) or if one of the roadways is designated as being on structure. This is the case in TNM 2.5 and earlier versions as well.

Question 8) Regarding Graphic Assessment:
A) Are there advanced noise mapping options planned such as difference maps between different scenarios or depicting how many dB of excess to the set limits are encountered?

FHWA's response: The agency seeks input from submitters in their pre-proposals on implementation of the TNM acoustic code within various interfaces. There is no requirement for the mapping described in the question, but the capability is useful.

Question 9) Regarding Noise Barrier Optimization:
(Note: One of the primary objectives of TNM software is to design and evaluate noise barriers or alternative noise control options. In order to optimize a noise barrier and thus save tax dollars, noise barriers should be optimized not for a single receiver at a time but simultaneously for many receivers. The best solution is to automate this procedure and iterate with a feedback loop that automatically increases or decreases barrier heights based on the predicted noise levels. Depending on the situation it may be required to conduct the optimization of numerous receivers at every floor in the surrounding buildings. The barrier analysis should be able to iterate the height and width of the noise barrier segment by segment and rank the effectiveness of the barrier elements in regards to the number of receivers protected. Depending on project geometry and impact there optimization may result in various design results that require a documentation and discussion.)

A) Is FHWA envisioning a separate optimization software tool that will allow a detailed noise barrier optimization based on various optimization measures?

FHWA's response: The TNM 3.0 includes a barrier design function that allows analysis of multiple receivers. Ideas regarding methods to optimize barrier analysis are welcome.

Question 10) Regarding Building Object:
(Note: We question the value of noise contouring without considering buildings. This approach is acceptable for Freeway projects that primarily consider noise receptors in the 1st row of buildings but it does not at all effectively model the noise impact into a community to the extent that is required.)
The FHWA TNM development effort seems is focused primarily on the federal funded or federal regulated road projects. The fact that the TNM software is used on various levels for transportation noise assessments is not reasonable considered. The TNM software user base includes traffic engineers, architects, environmental planner, city planner, acousticians and noise consultants. The project range from residential developers, city planning, EIS, EIR, ... . By ignoring the effect of buildings FHWA is significantly restricting the applicability of the software. For example for a residential developer it is of interest to get detailed building exposure noise levels for the assessment of noise reduction requirements for windows.
(Note: Since the mid ‘90's the state of art for noise modeling is to consider the effect of buildings in regards to shielding and reflecting surfaces.)

A) Will TNM remain years behind in terms of the noise modeling technology by only considering buildings as a statistically effects and not take each individual building into account?

B) With the detailed GIS data available will FHWA provide a guideline in terms of reducing building footprint and building elevation data to derive and reduce the information into statistical parameter for building rows?

FHWA's response: The BAA does not preclude consideration of alternative methods of considering buildings. Users currently take three general approaches to considering existing buildings, 1) they ignore them altogether, 2) they model them as building rows or using the barrier object depending on size, or 3) they model each building separately using the TNM barrier object. Each approach has positive and negative consequences.

Question 11) Regarding Data / Project Management:
(Note: TNM projects are single variant scenarios (i.e., without and with noise barrier). In the decision phase of a road project often the noise aspect forces changes in the structure of the road alignment, therefore there are often static parts of the project and variant parts that need to be correctly administered.)

A) What is the plan for structured noise projects?

FHWA's response: Ideas incorporating the ability to save persistent scenarios would be useful. The TNM 2.5 and older versions provide this functionality with the ability to save multiple barrier designs rather than simply saving a barrier/no barrier case.

B) Shall the data preparation program be limited to a scenario (without and with barrier) or is anticipate to manage the project with "building blocks" of data in separate files?

FHWA's response: The FHWA has no preconceived notions for data management. Many users already perform most of the work outside the TNM environment in pre-processing using either CAD or GIS software, which each require management of various file formats depending on the information needed.

This BAA is amended accordingly.




Added: Apr 12, 2013 2:42 pm
The purpose of this amendment is to modify the following sections, SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT DATES and PROPOSAL SUBMISSION of Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) Number DTFH61-13-R-00008 to include the following:

The deadline to submit Pre Proposals has been extended from April 12, 2013 to April 19, 2013 at 11 am (EST).

Please consult the list of document viewers if you cannot open a file.

BAA DTFH61-13-R-00008

Other (Draft RFPs/RFIs, Responses to Questions, etc..)
BAA DTFH61-13-R-00008
Posted Date:
February 13, 2013
Description: BAA DTFH61-13-R-00008, FHWA

Proposal Attachments

Other (Draft RFPs/RFIs, Responses to Questions, etc..)
Proposal Attachments
Posted Date:
February 13, 2013
Description: Attachment No. 1 - Past Performance Questionnaire
Description: Attachment No. 2 - Contract Pricing Summary
HAAM, Mail Stop E65-101
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, District of Columbia 20590
Geopardi Bost,
Contract Specialist
Phone: 2023667051
Jennifer Johnson,
Contracting Officer
Phone: 2023660904
Fax: 202-366-3705