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Unsolicited Proposal Frequently Asked Questions

Why is DART establishing a process for Unsolicited Proposals?

Unsolicited Proposals can be a valuable means for Dallas Area Rapid Transit ("DART") to obtain innovative or unique supplies, methods, or approaches from outside sources to accomplish DART's mission. As a public entity, DART has an obligation to act as a good steward of public funds. Laws and regulations require DART to seek full and open competition for most procurement and contracting opportunities. This process is intended to facilitate, not impede, the proper receipt and evaluation of Unsolicited Proposals while preserving the integrity of the procurement process and conforming to applicable laws.

What is an Unsolicited Proposal?

An Unsolicited Proposal is a proposal initiated by the proposer for the purpose of obtaining a contract that is not submitted in response to a current, recent or anticipated request for bids or proposals. An unsolicited proposal:

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

What information is required in an Unsolicited Proposal?

To be considered for evaluation, an 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 and abstract of the proposed effort and date of submission;
  • Proposer's name, address, and business description;
  • Name, phone number, e-mail address for technical or business personnel to be contacted for further information;
  • Identification of any proprietary data contained in the Unsolicited Proposal;
  • 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 and extent of effort to be employed, the nature and extent of the anticipated results, and the manner in which the work will support accomplishment of 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 of time 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.

How do we submit an Unsolicited Proposal?

Prior to submitting an Unsolicited Proposal, the Proposer is to visit the Unsolicited Proposal information found at and:
  1. Review and Accept the Terms of Use (the legal notice shown the first time you visit
  2. Review the Frequently Asked Questions
  3. Download and complete the Unsolicited Proposal template (Word document) and email the completed template and any relevant attachments to [email protected].

Will the Unsolicited Proposal be kept confidential from public disclosure?

Any submission to DART, including an 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.

How are Unsolicited Proposals Evaluated?

Step 1 Initial Review

The Procurement Department is the initial contact point responsible for coordinating the evaluation of an 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 Unsolicited 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, a second level DART review will be conducted. 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 Unsolicited Proposal through a defined internal process involving multiple departments to insure a balanced assessment. The evaluators shall consider the following factors, in addition to any others appropriate for the particular 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 negotiation 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.

How does DART award a contract based on an Unsolicited Proposal?

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. Unsolicited Proposal has received a favorable comprehensive evaluation;
  2. Primary DART department that the proposed contract would serve or 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.

If DART accepts the Unsolicited Proposal, will I be awarded a contract?

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 DMWBE 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.

Why submit an Unsolicited Proposal if it might be subject to full and open competition?

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.

If the Proposal involves no cost to DART, is it still subject to full and open competition?

Even if the Unsolicited Proposal may require no financial payment from DART, or may even produce revenue for DART, it may be subject to full and open competition. Any and all potential costs to DART include time, resources, surplus materials, rights or other tangible or intangible consideration 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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