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Caltrans Issues Five Opportunities for Industry

In a recent virtual Vendor Day, the California Department of Transportation laid out five “challenge” areas, plus a “wild card” category, for which it seeks proposals and solutions from tech vendors.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has issued five challenges for vendors seeking to do business with the department.

In a recent virtual Vendor Day — Caltrans’ first — department executives and technologists presented five general areas in which they’re soliciting potential solutions from vendors. The event, like others presented by the California Department of Technology and the Department of General Services, was facilitated by City Innovate.

As with the other departments’ vendor days, industry members are invited to review the material presented during the March 5 forum and to propose solutions. Those vendors whose proposals were chosen will be asked to follow up. The vendor days are an outgrowth of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “Request for Innovative Ideas,” or RFI2, in which the governor called for a “flexible approach to procurement.” Essentially, the concept flips the script on tech solutions: Instead of the state specifying a solution for a given need, it asks industry members to devise and propose their own solutions.

The five “challenge” areas issued by Caltrans are:
  • Contracting and procurement processes, in which the department is “seeking an innovative strategy and solution to streamline its contracting and procurement processes.”
  • Hiring processes, recruitment and retention, in which Caltrans seeks “an innovative strategy and solution to attract, recruit and retain a diverse and highly skilled workforce" that’s "equipped to meet the evolving challenges in transportation planning, engineering and management.”
  • Safety enhancements in disadvantaged communities, in which he department is “seeking innovative strategies and solution to implement safety benefits for our road users in disadvantaged communities.”
  • Multimodal travel experience, in which Caltrans is seeking solutions to enhance Californians’ ability to travel via various means.
  • Climate impacts on transportation assets, in which the department is “seeking innovative strategies and solutions to enhance the climate resiliency of the state’s transportation infrastructure for all Californians.”

In addition, Caltrans offered a “wild card” category, in which Caltrans “is seeking identification of opportunities and solutions to improve our program and business areas for our residents.”

“This challenge is an opportunity for Caltrans to hear from the vendor and industry communities as business partners and system users on what problems they have identified in California to solicit potential solutions,” the department said.

Participants were told:
  • “We seek market research to address Caltrans’ needs identified in our problem statements.”
  • “You do not need to provide solutions that solve the problem in its entirety.”
  • “Responses are expected to build on ongoing work that Caltrans is doing in these business areas.”
  • “All responses will be considered if they complete the application and respond to the needs of the problem statements.”

Vendors who wish to propose solutions to one or more of the challenges may find more information by emailing Caltrans or consulting the online portal until April 5, Caltrans said.
Dennis Noone is Executive Editor of Industry Insider. He is a career journalist, having worked at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies including USA Today in Washington, D.C.