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Innovation Proposals

Do you have an idea that could help us innovate at the T? 

Whether it would reduce costs, offer a new service, or help us deliver a better experience to our customers, we’re always looking for insights and opportunities from outside our organization.

If this sounds like you, we encourage you to submit an Innovation Proposal. An Innovation Proposal is a written offer suggesting a project, service, or working relationship with the MBTA that isn’t in response to a bid we currently have open. 

Innovation Proposals can be submitted by private sector companies (including start-ups and small businesses), nonprofits, academic institutions, labor unions, municipalities, and philanthropic foundations. 

Qualities of Innovation Proposals

Innovation proposals...

  • Are practical
  • Are developed and prepared without MBTA supervision or involvement
  • Have the potential to reduce the MBTA’s capital or operating expenses
  • Have the potential to improve the rider experience

Innovation proposals are NOT...

  • Offers or alternatives to bids that the MBTA currently has open*, including Requests for Proposals (RFPs) or Invitations for Bid (IFBs)
  • Policy or operating procedure recommendations

*Innovation Proposals related to open bids or projects should only be submitted if they use an innovative method to bring added value, customer benefits, or lower costs. Some examples include:

  • Enhanced financing options 
  • Improved customer service outcomes 
  • Reduced operating costs 
  • Technical assistance 
  • Creative ideas to save resources or improve customers’ experiences

How It Works

There are 2 phases to submitting Innovation Proposals: Conceptual Proposals and Detailed Proposals

We’ve provided a summary of the process, but for more information and full requirements, please read the Innovation Proposals Policy.

  1. If you would like to submit an idea, fill out the Conceptual Proposal - Form A. The MBTA will confirm receipt of your submission within 3 business days.
  2. The MBTA will determine if your proposal meets the minimum requirements for evaluation. If it does, we’ll review your submission within 60 days of receipt.
  3. The MBTA will notify you of our decision. If we’re interested, we’ll ask for a Detailed Proposal (Phase 2) that has more information about your proposed scope of work, terms and conditions, budget, schedule and milestones, etc.
  4. Once you’ve submitted a Detailed Proposal, the MBTA will convene another team to evaluate it. This timeline is determined on a case-by-case basis.
  5. After final review, the MBTA will opt to either forego the proposal, proceed to a sole source agreement, test a pilot program, or open a competitive procurement based on it.

The Procurement Process

The MBTA is committed to an open, fair procurement process that ensures the most value for taxpayers’ dollars. If we decide to open a competitive procurement, the MBTA will:

  • Publicize its receipt of your proposal
  • State its interest in acquiring the product or service
  • Publicize its intent to award a contract based on your proposal or a competitive bid
  • Provide an adequate description of the proposal, without disclosing proprietary information or its originality/innovativeness*, such that other organizations would be able to submit a bid
  • Provide adequate time for other organizations to comment or submit competing bids (at minimum 14 days)

*If it is impossible to describe the proposal without disclosing proprietary information or its originality/innovativeness, the MBTA may award a Sole Source contract. 

Things to Know

All Innovation Proposals are subject to public disclosure.

Submitting an Innovation Proposal does not guarantee a working relationship with the MBTA.

The MBTA may return or reject a proposal at any point in the evaluation process.

If you have additional questions, read our Innovation Proposals FAQ or contact our Customer Support team.

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