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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Utility for Risk-Based Screening and Assessment (URSA)


To develop a risk-based algorithm for screening all applications for a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number. The Utility for Risk-based Screening and Assessment (URSA) will provide a risk-based assessment to the Unified Registration System (URS-1) application process.


In a study of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrations (FMCSA’s) Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) Program, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO-14-114) recommended that FMCSA implement a risk-based screening of all applicants for operating authority. The GAO set the goal for FMCSA to put in place a program that will screen all applicants in order to detect high-risk applicants that should be vetted to ensure they are qualified. FMCSA’s Vetting Program, managed and staffed by the Office of Registration and Safety Information, supports the GAO recommendation to assure that any new passenger carrier or household goods (HHG) applicant attempting to become a reincarnated version of a previous or existing high-risk operator is clearly identified and does not obtain operating authority. Through a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I project that concluded in August 2014, FMCSA studied various methodologies for identifying likely high-risk carriers, tools to assist FMCSA’s Vetting Team in examining the identified high-risk carriers, and subsequently identifying reincarnated carriers. This study included defining an automated prototype tool to support data analysis for identification. Additionally, the study investigated various approaches for creating such a proprietary risk-based screening processes based on available data from its safety management data sources.


In support of FMCSA’s URS-1 development, this award to the SBIR Phase I vendor included production of the URSA tool. The tool included an algorithm and corresponding software for an automatic risk-based assessment that calculated a risk potential based on the likelihood that an applicant for operating authority was a chameleon carrier, was attempting to reincarnate, or was attempting otherwise to receive authority illicitly. This project included the development, testing, and validation of the algorithm and software that was supplying FMCSA’s URS-1 with an assessment of risk potential.


Implementation of the URSA tool in the URS-1 process.


January 2015: Contract awarded
September 2015: Implementation of the URSA prototype
March 2016: URSA Integration into URS-1.


FY 2015: $487,045
FY 2016: $492,814

Current Status:


Project Manager:

For more information, contact Jon Mueller of the Technology Division at (202) 366-9409 or


Integrated Technology Solutions, Inc.