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Innovation Portal


Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) seeks unsolicited proposals that contribute new and innovative ideas consistent with the Agency's mission.

As a public entity, DART is obligated to act as a good steward of public funds. Laws and regulations require DART to seek full and open competition for most procurement opportunities. The Innovation Portal is intended to facilitate the proper timely receipt and evaluation of unsolicited proposals while preserving the integrity of the procurement process and conforming to applicable laws.


An innovative proposal is initiated by the proposer to obtain a procurement opportunity that is not submitted in response to a current, recent, or anticipated request for bids or proposals. The unsolicited proposal:

  • should describe a unique, new concept, product, or service;
  • must be prepared without supervision of DART personnel; and
  • must not be in response to a DART solicitation.


To be considered for evaluation, an innovative, unsolicited proposal must be in writing and sufficiently detailed for DART to determine the utility or benefit to DART. Basic information should include:

  • Concise title, abstract of the proposed effort, and the date of submission;
  • Proposer's name, address, and business description;
  • Name, phone number, and e-mail address for technical or business personnel to be contacted for further information;
  • Identification of any proprietary data;
  • Names of other parties who are participating in the unsolicited proposal, including partners, joint-venture partners, subcontractors, and funding sources.
  • A reasonably complete discussion stating the objectives of the effort or activity, the method of approach, the extent of the effort to be employed, the nature and extent of the anticipated results, how the proposal will support accomplishing DART's mission;
  • Names and biographical information on the Proposer's project key personnel;
  • Type of support needed from DART, e.g., facilities, equipment, materials, or personnel resources;
  • Proposed price or total estimated cost for the effort in sufficient detail for meaningful evaluation;
  • Period for which the proposal is valid (a six-month minimum is suggested);
  • Proposed duration of the effort;
  • Brief description of the organization, previous experience in the field, and facilities to be used; and
  • Statement, if applicable, concerning potential or actual organizational conflicts of interest.


Prior to submitting an unsolicited proposal, the Proposer must visit DART Procurement's web site found at www.dart.org/procurement and:

  1. Review and Accept the Terms of Use (the legal notice shown the first time you visit www.dart.org/procurement).
  2. Review the information on this Innovation Portal.
  3. Download and complete the unsolicited proposal template (pdf document), and email the completed template with any relevant attachments to [email protected].


Any submission to DART, including an innovative, unsolicited proposal, is subject to the Texas Open Records Act. Proposers shall clearly mark each page of the unsolicited proposal that contains trade secrets or any confidential, commercial, financial, or other information which the Proposer believes should not be disclosed outside of DART.

Step 1 Initial Review


The Procurement Department is the initial contact point responsible for coordinating the evaluation of an innovative unsolicited proposal. Prior to initiating a comprehensive evaluation, the Procurement Department will conduct an initial evaluation to determine if the unsolicited proposal:

  • contains sufficient technical and cost information for evaluation;
  • is innovative and unique; and
  • Describes potential benefits to DART.
As part of the initial review, Procurement may confer with other DART departments to determine whether or not the proposal merits further consideration.

DART is not required to perform a comprehensive evaluation of an unsolicited proposal that is either unrelated to its mission or requirements, does not offer a measurable net benefit to DART, fails to provide sufficient information to support a comprehensive evaluation, or is otherwise not in the best interest of DART. If the initial review outcome is that an unsolicited proposal does not meet the criteria for a comprehensive evaluation, DART will conduct a second level review. If the second level review confirms the outcome of the initial review, the Proposer will be offered a debriefing regarding how DART interpreted the unsolicited proposal and why a comprehensive review is not being conducted.

Step 2 Comprehensive Evaluation


The Procurement Department will organize a comprehensive evaluation of the innovative proposal through a defined internal process involving multiple departments to ensure a balanced assessment. The evaluators shall consider the following factors, in addition to any other appropriate factors for the proposal:

  • Uniqueness or innovation of the methods, approaches, or concepts demonstrated by the Proposal;
  • Relevance to DART values and mission;
  • Overall scientific, technical, socioeconomic or other merits of the Unsolicited Proposal;
  • Potential contribution of the effort to DART's specific mission;
  • Proposer's capabilities, related experience, facilities, techniques, or unique combinations of these which are integral factors for achieving the unsolicited proposal's objectives;
  • Qualifications, capabilities, and experience of the proposed key personnel or team leader(s) who are critical in achieving the unsolicited proposal's objectives;
  • Responsibility of the Proposer;
  • Return on Investment and net cost or benefit to DART
Possible outcomes of the comprehensive evaluation include:
  1. Determination that the unsolicited proposal is of value to DART, and DART Procurement shall either:
    1. Attempt to negotiate a sole source contract; or
    2. Host full and open completion via an Invitation for Bid (IFB), Request for Proposal (RFP), or other sourcing method.
  2. Determination that the Unsolicited Proposal is not in the best interest of DART, and DART Procurement will provide a written response and/or a debriefing (upon the Proposer's request).
  3. Finding that additional information or clarification is required of the Proposer.


A DART Contracting Officer may commence negotiation to award a sole source contract or move forward with full and open competition through competitive bids or proposals for an unsolicited proposal only when the:

  1. Proposal has received a favorable comprehensive evaluation;
  2. Primary DART department that the proposed contract would support endorses the procurement;
  3. Respective administrative departments, including Finance, Risk Management, Economic Opportunity, and General Counsel endorse or approve the procurement; and
  4. Procurement Department issues a written determination that the procurement qualifies as a sole source or the Procurement Department determines that the procurement does not qualify as a sole source and is subject to full and open competition. This determination may not be appealed.
Any resulting contract requires approval of DART executive leadership and may require approval of the DART Board of Directors.


Submission of an unsolicited proposal does not guarantee award of a contract. There may be many process steps necessary once DART determines that an unsolicited proposal may be viable and of benefit to DART. For example:

  1. A funding source and budget may be required.
  2. Approval of various internal departments, external authorities (permitting agencies, funding sources, etc.), DART executive leadership and Board of Directors may be required.
  3. The requirement and any subsequent contract may be subject to D/M/WBE goals.
  4. DART may determine that the requirement is not a sole source and is subject to full and open competition.
Any contract is subject to negotiation and must conform to DART's business and legal requirements.


An unsolicited proposal can be a valuable means for communicating innovative ideas, concepts, and solutions to DART. For example, DART may not be aware of a new and innovative product or service that may help improve a process or service, produce revenue, or reduce costs. By submitting an unsolicited proposal, a person or business might perform a public service and create a business opportunity at the same time. Even if DART elects to seek full and open competition, the Proposer is in a favorable position to compete for an opportunity that might otherwise not exist.


Yes. Even if the Unsolicited Proposal required no financial payment from DART, or if it produces revenue for DART, it may be subject to full and open competition. All potential costs to DART include time, resources, surplus materials, rights, or other resources whether tangible or intangible, must be considered in determining if full and open competition is required.

If you have any questions or need help, please contact DART Procurement at (214)749-2701 (8:00am to 5:00pm CST, Monday-Friday) or send an email to [email protected].
 
DART Procurement Department, Procurement Support, 1401 Pacific Avenue, Dallas, TX 75266-7235 | Fax 214-749-3666


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