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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Guidelines for Unsolicited Proposal Submission

General Instructions

It is the policy of the Department of Transportation (DOT) to encourage the submission of new and innovative ideas to support DOT's mission. All prospective contractors are encouraged to follow the more conventional practice of submitting offers in response to official U.S. DOT Volpe Center solicitations. Information on Volpe objectives and areas of potential interest, as well as a listing of upcoming Volpe competitive solicitations and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) topics, is available at

Unsolicited proposals may be submitted when a prospective contractor's new and innovative ideas do not fall under topic areas publicized under Volpe-initiated solicitations or programs. As stated in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 15.601, an "unsolicited proposal" is a written proposal for a new or innovative idea that is submitted to an agency on the initiative of the offeror for the purpose of obtaining a contract with the government, and that is not in response to a government-initiated solicitation. See FAR 15.601 for other definitions pertaining to unsolicited proposals.

Please note: Advertising material, commercial item offers, and contributions are not considered unsolicited proposals. You may direct any inquiries on such matters to procurement analyst Brian Balzarini at 617-494-2154 and he will direct your inquiry to the appropriate party.

About Unsolicited Proposals

Unsolicited proposals are accepted by the U.S. DOT Volpe Center for consideration only on the condition that such acceptance does not imply a promise to pay, recognize novelty or originality, or to enter into a contractual relationship such as would render the government liable to pay for information to which it would otherwise lawfully be entitled.

Receipt of an unsolicited proposal does not, in and of itself, justify the government awarding a contract without providing for full and open competition. A sole-source acquisition based on an unsolicited proposal is subject to the same U.S. DOT Volpe Center policies, regulations, and procedures as any other proposed non-competitive acquisition, and will be processed accordingly.

Proposal Submission Instructions

All unsolicited proposals should be sent to:

Attention: Director, Office of Acquisitions
U.S. Department of Transportation
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
55 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02142-1093

This office acts as U.S. DOT Volpe Center's central point of contact for the receipt and handling of unsolicited proposals. This office will forward unsolicited proposals to the appropriate Volpe personnel for evaluation. U.S. DOT Volpe Center does not process unsolicited proposals for the entire Department of Transportation. Each DOT operating administration as well as the DOT Office of the Secretary has its own offices for receipt and processing of unsolicited proposal submissions. 

Questions regarding these guidelines and the submission of unsolicited proposals to U.S. DOT Volpe Center may be directed to procurement analyst Brian Balzarini at 617-494-2154 or email

Proposal Preparation Instructions

U.S. DOT Volpe Center will only evaluate unsolicited proposals from individuals or organizations determined to be responsible, prospective contractors. To qualify as a responsible, prospective contractor, you must satisfy the regulatory requirements cited in FAR Subpart 9.1. Also, you need to ensure compliance with organizational conflict of interest requirements contained in FAR Subpart 9.5.

No rigid format is specified for an unsolicited proposal. We do, however, urge care in preparation. While brevity is desired, the proposal should contain sufficient information to permit full and meaningful review.

In order to be evaluated, an unsolicited proposal submitted to U.S. DOT Volpe Center must include all information required by FAR 15.605, and be marked in accordance with FAR 15.609 if the offeror wishes to restrict the data.

Offerors are urged to protect their interests under the patent and copyright laws and to submit their proposals without proprietary restriction. However, information identified as proprietary in accordance with FAR 15.609 will not be disclosed to parties outside the government without written permission of the offeror.