DOT contract opens door to cool tech
- By John Monroe
- May 28, 2001
The Transportation Department last week launched a seven-year, $980 million
program to which federal, state and local agencies can turn for help when
developing projects involving state-of-the-art technology.
The Specialized Technical and Technology User Services (STATUS) program
includes more than 100 contractors available to provide services in four
technical areas: geographic information systems, artificial intelligence,
wireless technology, and e-learning and learning management systems.
The technologies "have come into government circles in a big way only
in the last few years," said Steve Sill, STATUS program manager in the department's
Transportation Administrative Service Center (TASC). Unlike more established
fields, government agencies "may not know what kind of marketplace there
is" for such services, he said.
Agencies can ask companies to compete for task orders to work on specific
projects or for general consulting before a project begins. The program
also includes operational maintenance support contractors to provide services
on existing systems.
STATUS is a follow-up of sorts to a DOT program known as Value Added
Niche Information Technology Services, which involves more than 200 contractors
in 11 "niches" such as e-commerce, messaging, systems migration and assistive
VANITS, a seven-year program launched in August 2000, still has a long
way to go. But customers have been asking for services in these areas, which
involve a fair number of companies. Rather than stretch VANITS, TASC officials
decided to launch a new vehicle, Sill said.
Both programs include a mix of large services companies, such as Booz-Allen
& Hamilton Inc. and TRW Inc., and smaller, more specialized firms, such
as Traffic.com Inc. for wireless highway technology and GP e-Learning Technologies
Cylab Inc., a Falls Church, Va.-based 8(a) firm with 25 employees,
was awarded contracts for geographic information systems and artificial
intelligence, as well as operational maintenance.
There is significant demand for the technologies in the government market,
and this program provides a quick way for agencies to get projects under
way, said Jim Kingsbury, STATUS program manager for Cylab. "The government
doesn't want to employ an [artificial intelligence] expert on a full-time
basis. The thing is to hire a contractor," he said.