Campus Units

Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

Document Type


Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board





First Page


Last Page





Alternative technical concepts (ATCs) have yielded innovative solutions to complicated design issues in a wide range of highway projects. Through ATCs, proposers are allowed to suggest modifications to a contract requirement to provide a project design equal to or better than the one described in the solicitation. However, the realization of such benefits requires a well-structured ATC mechanism, and the project's solicitation documents need to be drafted in a manner that clearly communicates the owner's project goals and ensures fairness and confidentiality to competing contractors. This paper describes the submittal, evaluation, approval, and review procedures currently followed by state transportation agencies to implement ATCs. The study employed a survey that was sent to all state departments of transportation (42 of which responded), in addition to a content analysis of the solicitation documents of 65 ATC projects from 24 agencies. The paper finds that care must be taken to ensure that competing contractors are not discouraged from pursuing ATCs as a result of onerous documentation requirements for ATC submittals. The results also show that the ATC submittal procedures should provide detailed guidance on the conduct and character of one-on-one meetings with competitors, the content of a responsive ATC submittal, and the procedures for the rectification of errors, omissions, and ambiguities. The document should also be clear about what constitutes an ATC and describe the ATC evaluation and review process, as well as the process for presenting proposed ATCs. The ATC evaluation criteria should be known when the solicitation is first published.

Research Focus Area

Construction Engineering and Management, Transportation Engineering


This is a manuscript of an article published as Gad, Ghada M., Douglas D. Gransberg, and Michael Loulakis. "Submittal and Evaluation Procedures for Alternative Technical Concepts." Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 2504, no. 1 (2015): 10-18. DOI: 10.3141%2F2504-02. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

SAGE Publications



File Format


Published Version