Major Parts of the Supplier's Technical Proposal

by Jeff Davis

Please review and understand the scope of this write up. It only deals with potential transportation systems to be constructed and paid for by a governmental entity. It does not cover private projects such as a ride for a theme park. It also does not cover someone approaching a large company, or Venture Capitalists, with an innovative idea and seeking investment, selling (or sale) of patents/technology, or some other partnership arrangement. The primary purpose is to discuss one of the major parts of project proposals, the Technical Proposal

As per my offer to write up some discussion items regarding to PRT, I offer the following discussion item as Part 5 (other parts include Brick Wall Stop issues, Certification processes, Implementing PRT, Financial Resource Requirements)

Please be advised that the following discussion is meant to be supplier independent and neutral. I apologize if I am repeating anything that the reader already knows.

Product Maturity and Stage of Development:

One major part of a supplier's Tender Documents is the Technical Proposal. In this part of the overall proposal the supplier (or consortium) discuss the various technologies and products they intend to provide and install as part of their system to meet the overall terms of the Contract.  When Request For Proposals documents are issued, Clients have already established the level and quality of service to be provided.  This part is reviewed for how closely the proposed system meets each of the contract terms, including performance and maturity or stage of development of the product.

The review of the maturity and stage of development of the product being offered is not an evaluation of the viability of the mode, but only the product being offered.

The supplier or consortium's proposal should discuss how well the major subsystems have been tested and proven. For example, if the subsystems have been installed, tested, and operated on previous systems then it is important to show how well they performed.

If one of the subsystems has not been installed anywhere or is a new product offering, then supporting documentation could be provided to show how the new design was subjected to Qualification Testing.  Qualification Testing is a systematic series of tests that prove a product will perform as designed.  As an example, if the new product is a vehicle, then the vehicle is tested for:

Structural integrity analysis and tests to show that the frame will last for the designed number of miles (or kilometers) without developing stress cracks or member failures while supporting the design load.

Tipping stability analysis to show that the vehicle will not fall over under reasonable failure modes such as as suspension failure.

Crashworthy analysis to show that the integrity of the passenger cabin will not be compromised during collisions equal to the design speed.

Ride comfort tests to show that the vehicle will provide accelerations, decelerations, and vibrations within established design criteria.

Passenger comfort tests to show that the interior temperature will stay within the design range given maxium and minimum exterior temperature expectations.

Passenger comfort tests to show that the interior lighting levels meet design criteria.

Passenger safety tests to show that the materials used in the vehicle interior will not sustain a flame or emit toxic fumes if burned.

Passenger safety tests to show that the doors will not injure passengers during closing (excessive closing force).

Acceleration and Braking performance to show that the propulsion and braking components will provide the design performance and not overheat or burn out when operated at normal design speeds and passenger load.

Other additional tests that will demonstrate that the design criteria, engineering, and manufacturing will provide a vehicle that will meet the desired quality.

The same evaluation process applies to the vehicle control, system power, system communications, platform or berth doors, track structure, track switches (if used), etc.

In short, suppliers should have a clear and complete plan to complete the research and development of new designs, how to manufacture the product with the desired quality and be able to meet the project schedule.

During the evaluation if it is determined that the subsystem or component has not been fully tested or production may not meet the project schedule (in terms of quality and quantity) this can be a cause of concern to a Client since it presents a risk to the overall project.

In summary, potential suppliers need to show that the proposed subsystems provide minimal risk to the overall project schedule, either by proposing products with a proven service history, or sufficient documentation that the product has been fully engineered, developed, qualification tested, ready for manufacturing/production, and therefore can be expected to provide the desired performance.


Last modified: September 16, 2012


- Jerry Schneider -
    Innovative Transportation Technologies