Innovation Proposals

Innovation Proposal Policy

What is an Innovation Proposal (Unsolicited Proposal)?

An Innovation Proposal is a written offer that is submitted to the MBTA on the initiative of the submitter for the purpose of developing a relationship, contract or partnership which is not in response to a currently open solicitation issued by the MBTA.

An Innovation Proposal should:

  • Be innovative and practical
  • Have potential to significantly reduce MBTA operating and/or capital expenses for a service the MBTA currently provides, or for a new service, including services for our customers, which the MBTA could provide
  • Be independently originated and developed by the proposer
  • Be prepared without MBTA supervision, endorsement, direction, or direct involvement
  • Contain sufficient details regarding the benefits for the MBTA’s mission and responsibilities.

An Innovation Proposal is distinguishable from a project which is already part of the MBTA’s long-term budget planning process and plan if it uses innovative but efficient solutions to offer added value, customer benefit, lower operating expenses and/or avoided capital expenses. Such solutions may include: enhanced financing options, improved customer service outcomes, reduced operating costs, technical assistance, or creative ideas to save resources or improve the customer experience.

An Innovation Proposal is not an offer or alternative to a currently open RFP or IFB by the MBTA or proposal for property or services that the MBTA is currently procuring through competitive methods. An Innovation Proposal is not a policy or operating procedure recommendation.

To submit an inquiry, comment or concern to the MBTA, please use the Customer Comment Form or contact the appropriate support service.

Who Should Submit?

The MBTA welcomes proposals from any vendor with technical and financial resources to provide the services proposed or the ability to contract with the MBTA and/or serve as a partner in a contract resulting from the adoption of the proposal. The MBTA encourages and welcomes innovative submissions from private sector businesses (including startups and small businesses), labor unions, municipalities, academic institutions, philanthropic foundations and non-profit organizations.

Submitting an Innovation Proposal – Concept Submission 

The MBTA will receive and evaluate Innovation Proposals using a two-phased approach: Phase One is for conceptual proposals; Phase Two is for detailed proposals.

All Conceptual Proposals shall be submitted to the MBTA via this online form: Conceptual Proposal - Form A. The form will be automatically sent to the MBTA. Proposers will be sent an acknowledgement of their submission via e-mail within three business days. At that time, the proposal will logged and transferred to the evaluation team for assessment of technical and/or financial merit. A review process will be completed within 60 days of acknowledgement, whereupon the proposer will be notified of the MBTA's decision. The MBTA retains the sole discretion to at any time decide if and how to proceed with an Innovation Proposal which includes, but is not limited to, the determination of the appropriate procedure for review as well as determination regarding the applicability of additional laws and regulations that impact the ability of the MBTA to implement any proposal.

If the MBTA determines to proceed with a Request for Detailed Proposal, the Detailed Proposal will address specific items outlined in the Innovation Policy and is limited to 30 pages. After a full review, the MBTA will decide whether to forego the proposal, to proceed to a sole source agreement, to test a pilot program, or to pursue a competitive solicitation based upon the proposal. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Please review a list of FAQs prepared to help answer your questions about the Innovation Proposal Policy.


 Innovation Policy Framework

Conceptual Proposal - Form A

Innovation Proposal Policy FAQs