Utah's "unusual" I-15 HOT Lanes procurement (FOLLOW-UP)

September 22, 2009

Utah DOT awarded TransCore the toll systems contract for the I-15 HOT Lanes despite the fact that it was the highest cost of three competing proposers. Summary documents obtained after we first wrote show the the bids for the build part of the project were Telvent-Caseta $8.1m, ETC $10.7m, TransCore $11.3m. TransCore won despite being the high bidder.

A UDOT official told us subsequently it was a "unique procurement" in that technical issues got heavier weighting than price. Normally he said UDOT procurements are weighted 90% price and 10% technical, allowing the low bidder to win in almost all cases.

Requests for qualifications are supposed to weed out companies that are technically unqualified, preventing them from bidding or proposing.

The UT/I-15 HOT Lanes toll system approach is generically called a "best value" procurement.

There was a weighting of 60% to technical aspects of the proposal and 40% to price, a UDOT official told us.

A selection committee of four UDOT officials was responsible for the evaluation and the selection, we're told.

They were assisted by HNTB as project consultants.

The abstract of bid summary gives an Engineer's Estimate of each item priced by the bidders. Those numbers come from HNTB.

TransCore's price follows the engineer's estimate fairly closely, but Telvent and ETC diverge considerably from it.

TransCore bid a very different transponder/reader system from the others - their Encompass 6 readers and eZGo Anywhere transponders at $31 each.

Sirit 6C system bid by losers

Both Telvent and ETC bid Sirit reader/tag systems. In  the case of the readers the IDenity 5100 was specified  in the case of ETC and the newer version IDentity 5200 in the case of Telvent. Both companies quoted the same ISO 18000 6C sticker tags from Sirit at $9 apiece.

The initial UDOT buy of just 3,000 transponders was so small the transponder price is hardly more than petty cash in the contract.

By contrast on the not-dissimilar project GA/I-85 HOT Lanes 350,000 is the initial transponder buy and at $1.59 from TransCore v $31ea here. The transponder is different of course, but the unit cost being paid in Utah is almost 20x.

Major differences are (1) a toggling feature on the TransCore transponder that enables the motorist to signal 'carpooler' or 'toll-liable' and (2) the adaptability of the TransCore eZGo Anywhere transponders to use outside Utah - but whether much use will be made of that is unclear.

Some of the item prices in the nearby table are not to be taken literally because they include the price of separate items left as $00.01 - they are a bundling of items. The table is some of the items of interest extracted from the official bid summary document, a link for which is provided below.

Longterm relationship helped TransCore

TransCore clearly benefited from their longterm relationship with UDOT officials.

see UT/I-15 HOT lanes


our first report written before we got details of three bids:


download bid summary document from which our table is drawn:


TOLLROADSnews 2009-09-22

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