[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 32 (Tuesday, February 18, 2014)]
[Pages 9206-9209]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-03191]



[Notice-OGP-2014-01; Docket 2014-0002; Sequence 6]

GSA's Travel Data Challenge Competition

AGENCY: Office of Government-wide Policy, General Services 

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The purpose of this notice is to announce a challenge 
competition hosted by GSA's Office of Government-wide Policy that will 
begin on February 14th, 2014. The competition will be open until April 
11, 2014. The competition details can be viewed at 
www.challengepost.com on or after February 14th. The goal of this 
challenge is to ask the public to develop a smart technology solution 
that has the capability to provide agencies with key insights and 
recommendations for cost savings behaviors related to travel. GSA will 
challenge solvers to create a tool using sample GSA travel data that 
can then be replicated across Government to aid agencies in making 
smarter travel decisions. Furthermore, GSA will ask members of the 
public to provide recommendations for improvement in data collection.

DATES: February 18, 2014.

[email protected] or 202-738-2591.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The U.S. General Services Administration 
(GSA) manages a broad portfolio of key, government-wide operations and 
policies. In managing this portfolio, GSA has access to extensive 
government operations data--data which may hold potential solutions to 
some federal agencies' most pressing problems. GSA's Office of 
Government-wide Policy, sponsor of the Travel Data Challenge, is 
looking to bring a quantitative approach to the data the federal 
government collects in order to help agencies make smarter business 
decisions, and to allow them to drive greater saving and efficiencies. 
Pursuing this goal supports several of GSA's highest priorities in 
serving our partners, including delivering better value and savings, 
and leading with innovation.
    In this GSA Travel Data Challenge, the public is asked to develop a 
technology-driven solution using GSA travel data that allows an agency 
to identify opportunities to reduce costs. As such, GSA challenges the 
public to create a tool using GSA travel data that could be replicated 
across government to every agency, using their own travel data. Sample 
data sets with GSA travel data will be provided. However, in order to 
solve the key purpose of this competition, challenge solvers should 
address how the tool can be replicated using travel data from other 
agencies. This tool is intended to show agencies where and how they can 
save money on federal travel. The tool is not intended to publicly 
display any agency's travel data and users will need to log in via a 
certified username and password to interact with the tool. One of the 
key purposes of the tool will be to provide agencies with visibility 
into their travel spending and recommendations for cost-savings 
behaviors. In addition, the tool will enhance internal transparency and 
hold agencies accountable for their spending--steps which help to save 
money for American taxpayers.
    A second part of the GSA Travel Data Challenge asks the public to 
identify specific gaps in the travel data collected by the government, 
and to provide recommendations for how the government can improve 
insights into federal travel spending through additional data 
collection. The purpose for this information is to gain an 
understanding of what the government could do with additional data 
elements, if those data elements were to be collected by agencies. This 
will help increase awareness of needed improvements in data collection, 
and further the goal of leading greater transparency into government 

Details of Challenge

    Design and create a digital interactive tool that utilizes federal 
travel data collected by GSA, in coordination with any other publicly 
available data sets. The technology tool should be innovative! GSA does 
not want an analysis tool that tells what is already known. This should 
be a forward-thinking tool that enhances transparency and helps to hold 
agencies accountable for what they are spending on travel, while also 
providing agencies with recommendations for how to reduce costs.
    The tool should visually display data to provide meaningful 
insights that can help drive smarter travel decisions by federal 
employees. The ultimate goal is to help federal agencies drive cost 
saving behaviors in travel through easy to understand information. The 
tool should accomplish two tasks:
    (1) Visually display data in a way that will show agencies how and 
where they are spending money on travel, and
    (2) Through analysis of the data, show primary categories or cost 
drivers that can enable federal agencies to reduce and/or contain 
official travel costs compared to appropriate benchmarks (as determined 
through research as well as the sample data provided). Focus on 
attributes that consistently result in the travelers acquiring the 
lowest cost of a trip. Use this information to benchmark historical 
data against real time planning and provide action items to help travel 
managers monitor and improve traveler behaviors, resulting in greater 
travel savings through transparency. Finally, identify valuable 
insights that could be gained through improved data collection efforts.

Examples of Questions That Submissions to the GSA Travel Data Challenge 
Should Answer Include

    Are travelers booking airline reservations far in advance to secure 
low cost airfare? How many days in advance are travelers booking their 
trips, taking into consideration industry standards and benchmarks? For 
example, is there a correlation between booking time and cost?
    Are travelers utilizing travel services, such as 
    Are travelers booking online?
    With regard to data visibility issues, is key data being missed? 
Highlight where data is missing, e.g., where a traveler

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may have not used our existing systems, therefore, data is lacking.
    What data elements are missing that could be valuable to an agency 
travel manager or chief financial officer?
    How much could an agency save if they adjusted one or a set of 
cost-driving behaviors such as, time of year of travel, booking online, 
travel to certain cities during certain times, booking in advance?


    Challenge solvers will be provided with sample data sets to use in 
designing the tool. The tool should have the capability to be updated 
with data from additional agencies, making the tool scalable, dynamic, 
and configurable. Challenge solvers should not be limited to only the 
data provided. Be creative and use other public data sets that can give 
users a better understanding of their travel options. Document all data 
sources and explain why they are useful. Examples of additional 
resources include data.gov, City Pairs, per diem rates, and Fedrooms 
property lists. You are encouraged to conduct research in order to find 
other data sources that are publicly available.

Eligibility for Challenge

    Eligibility to participate in the GSA Travel Data Challenge and win 
a prize is limited to entities/individuals that:
    (1) Have agreed to the rules of the competition as explained in 
this posting. (2) Are either a private entity or individual, provided 
further that in the case of a private entity, it is incorporated in and 
maintains a primary place of business in the United States, and in the 
case of an individual, whether participating singly or in a group, is a 
citizen or permanent resident of the United States; and that the 
participant is not a federal entity or federal employee acting within 
the scope of employment. An individual or entity shall not be deemed 
ineligible because the individual or entity used federal facilities or 
consulted with federal employees during a competition if the facilities 
and employees are made available to all individuals and entities 
participating in the competition on an equitable basis.
    Participants agree to assume any and all risks and waive claims 
against the Federal Government and its related entities, except in the 
case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of 
property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or 
consequential, arising from participation in this competition, whether 
the injury, death, damage, or loss arose through negligence or 
otherwise. Participants also agree to obtain liability insurance or 
demonstrate financial responsibility, in an amount to cover a third 
party for death, bodily injury, property damage, or loss resulting from 
an activity carried out in connection with participation in this 
competition. Entrants are hereby advised that diligent care must be 
taken to avoid the appearance of Government endorsement of Entrant's 
competition participation and submission. Moreover, as is customary 
when doing business with the Federal Government, Entrant may not refer 
to GSA's use of your submission (be it product or service) in any 
commercial advertising or similar promotions in a manner that states or 
implies that the product or service being used is endorsed or preferred 
by GSA or any other element of the Federal Government, or that the 
Federal Government considers it to be superior to other products or 
services. The intent of this policy is to prevent the appearance of 
Federal Government bias toward any one product or service.
    Entrant agrees that GSA's trademarks, logos, service marks, trade 
names, or the fact that GSA awarded a prize to Entrant, shall not be 
used by Entrant to imply direct GSA endorsement of Entrant or Entrant's 
submission. Both Entrant and GSA may list the other party's name in a 
publicly available customer or other list so long as the name is not 
displayed in a more prominent fashion than any other third party name.


    GSA may award up to three prizes but is not required to award all 
three prizes if the judges determine that only one or two entries meet 
the scope and requirements laid out for this challenge, or if the 
Agency plans to only use code from one or two entries. Funding for this 
GSA Travel Data Challenge award will come from the Office of 
Government-wide Policy's FY2014 Budget and will be made to winner(s) of 
the competition via electronic funds transfer, within 30 days of 
announcement of the winner(s).
    The prizes may include three awards:
    Grand Prize: $35,000.
    Runner up: $30,000.
    Honorable mention: $25,000.


    The final product should be a tool that is housed online and can be 
updated to include data sets from other agencies. Capabilities should 
also include updating data in the most efficient time cycle, such as 
monthly, quarterly, annually or as new information becomes available.
    The final tool should be in Open Source Code. Open source refers to 
a program in which the source code is available to the general public 
for use and/or modification from its original design free of charge. In 
order to be Open Source Initiative Certified, the tool must meet 
following six criteria:
    1. The author or holder of the license of the source code cannot 
collect royalties on the distribution of the program;
    2. The distributed program must make the source code accessible to 
the user;
    3. The author must allow modifications and derivations of the work 
under the program's original name;
    4. No person, group, or field of endeavor can be denied access to 
the program;
    5. The rights attached to the program must not depend on the 
program being part of a particular software distribution; and
    6. The licensed software cannot place restrictions on other 
software that is distributed with it.
    The winner(s) of the competition will, in consideration of the 
prize to be awarded, grant to GSA a perpetual, non-exclusive, royalty-
free license to use any and all intellectual property to the winning 
entry for any governmental purpose, including the right to permit such 
use by any other agency or agencies of the Federal Government. All 
other rights of the winning entrant will be retained by the winner of 
the competition.


    Any federal travel data and information that is publicly available 
is included in the scope of this challenge. Summary-level sample data 
will be provided.

[[Page 9208]]

                      Project Goals and Objectives
             Goals                             Objectives
Design a tool to aggregate,     --Utilize visual aids such as charts and
 synthesize, and display GSA's   graphs to display data.
 travel data in a way that is   --Include capabilities for geospatial
 easy to understand and will     data visualization of data.
 help drive cost-saving
                                --Create benchmarks and identify
                                 behaviors that can help to lower costs.
Allow for easy updates to the   --As new data is collected later on by
 data.                           the Government, backend users must be
                                 easily able to update the dashboards to
                                 reflect these changes.
Allow for users to compare      --Design an interactive dashboard with
 data to appropriate             which users can filter to view data in
 benchmarks, across agencies     the following ways:
 and within one agency.         1. All travel data for one agency across
                                 topic areas--cities traveled to, dates
                                 traveled, extent of stay, cost of trip,
                                 annual travel costs, monthly travel
                                 costs, etc.
                                2. All data for one topic area across
                                3. Agency data for one topic area as
                                 compared to other specific, mission-
                                 similar or size-similar agencies.
                                4. Agency data for one topic area as
                                 compared to Governmentwide trends.

                     Project Milestones/Deliverables
                   Date                             description
April 11, 2014...........................  Solver design due to GSA OGP.
May 9, 2014..............................  Winner(s) announced.
June 6, 2014.............................  Prize(s) Awarded.

Judging Criteria


    The solution must be an online, interactive tool that meets the 
goals and objectives provided in this document.
    The solution must be in open source code.
    The solution must include documentation of all data sources used.
    The solution must include a description of how the tool can be 
updated with additional data from other agencies
    The solver must provide recommendations to enhance Government 
insights through improvements in data collection.

                            Submissions Will Be Judged Based on the Following Metric
                                                   Use of data to                           Valuable information
       Criteria          Technical competence    provide  effective        Creativity/          and  insights
                           and capabilities           outcomes             innovation          regarding data
Description...........  The tool addresses     The tool aggregates,   The tool exceeds any  The solver provides
                         the primary goal of    synthesizes and        internal capability   recommendations for
                         the challenge. It is   displays travel data   that GSA has for      additional data
                         a finished product     in a way that is       analysis of travel    elements to be
                         that can provide       easy to understand,    data through its      collected by the
                         insightful analysis    visually appealing,    incorporation of      Government. The
                         and show agencies      and will help drive    creative design       solver identifies
                         how and where they     understanding of       elements and          gaps in the data
                         are spending money     current trends as      innovative            and utilizes
                         on travel. The tool    well as                capabilities..        external data
                         can provide            recommendations for                          sources and
                         recommendations for    future savings.                              research to aid the
                         cost-savings                                                        government in
                         behaviors. The tool                                                 setting future data
                         can be easily                                                       collection policies
                         updated with new
                         data by the back-end
Weight................  50%..................  20%..................  10%.................  20%.
Level 1...............  Does not meet the      Data is not used, or   Lacks creativity and  Information is not
                         goals and              outcomes are off       innovation.           provided.
                         requirements of the    base. Unsuitable for
                         challenge.             use by the
Level 2...............  Meets few elements of  Meets few elements of  Shows little signs    Information is
                         the requirements of    the requirements of    of creativity and     lacking real
                         the challenge and      the challenge and      innovation.           recommendations or
                         goes a short way       goes a short way                             insights.
                         towards meeting the    towards meeting the
                         goal of the            goal of the
                         challenge.             challenge.
Level 3...............  Meets most of the      Uses some of the data  Is innovative or      Information is
                         requirements           provided by OGP, and/  creative in at        useful and
                         outlined in the        or other sources,      least one             insightful in at
                         challenge and          but the outcomes       meaningful way.       least one
                         contributes to the     presented through                            meaningful way.
                         overall goal of the    the data are not of
                         challenge.             a high quality.
Level 4...............  Meets all              Uses the data          Is extremely          Information is
                         requirements           provided by OGP, as    innovative and        useful and provides
                         outlined in the        well as other          creative.             the government with
                         challenge, and         sources of data to                           some suggestions
                         provides substantial   produce effective                            for future
                         contribution to the    outcomes.                                    improvement in data
                         goal of the                                                         collection.

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Level 5...............  Solver product meets   Uses the data          Is extremely          Information provided
                         all requirements       provided by OGP as     innovative and        is extensive, well
                         outlined in the        well as additional,    creative, leading     thought-out,
                         challenge and          publicly-available     to new insights and   valuable, and
                         provides additional,   data from a variety    desirable outcomes.   insightful.
                         unique, useful         of sources to
                         capabilities that      produce outstanding
                         meet the overall       outcomes.
                         goal of the


    There will be six judges, each a senior career official of GSA with 
expertise in government-wide policy, travel, information technology, 
and/or acquisition. Each judge will award a score to each submission 
and the winner(s) of the competition will be decided based on the 
highest average overall score. GSA will also have a technical advisor 
from Sabre, Inc who will assist the judges in evaluating the 
submissions as needed. However, the technical advisor will not vote in 
determining the prizes. Judges will only participate in judging 
submissions for which they do not have any conflicts of interest.
    Judges are: Anne Rung, GSA Associate Administrator for Government-
wide Policy--Craig Flynn, Director--Travel Policy Division, Office of 
Government-wide Policy--Kris Rowley, GSA Office of the Chief 
Information Officer--Tim Burke, GSA Federal Acquisition Service--Jon 
Bearscove, GSA FAS Region 10--Sonny Hashmi--Acting Chief Information 
Officer--GSA Technical Advisor: Sam Gilliland, Sabre Technologies.
    Registration: Anyone intending to participate in the Travel Data 
Challenge can register by contacting Katherine Pearlman via 
[email protected]. Upon registration, you will be sent the 
sample data sets to use in solving the challenge.

Submission of Entries

    Entries must be submitted online via ChallengePost by 11:59 p.m. 
EST on April 11th, 2014.

    Dated: February 10, 2014.
Anne Rung,
Associate Administrator, Office of Government-wide Policy, General 
Services Administration.
[FR Doc. 2014-03191 Filed 2-14-14; 8:45 am]