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Technical Communications

Technical Communications Services

California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Sacramento, CA
GoCalifornia Industry Capacity Expansion (ICE) Action Plan

Acumen has performed several tasks under the Caltrans GoCalifornia ICE action plan. Acumen provided project management, scheduling using Primavera software Project Manager Version 5 (P3e) to control the progress and budget for the tasks, software development services, as well as technical writing, editing, and training for the task order below. The total contract value was $1,320,000.

Task Order Number 9: Specification Uniformity Plan Implementation
Acumen assisted Caltrans in rewriting its Standard Specifications, Standard Plans, Standard Special Provisions (SSPs), and Non-Standard Special Provisions (nSSPs) in “plain language” (PL) to comply with state and federal mandates, reduce bidder risk and hidden costs, and increase contractor participation. Acumen reviewed over 800 SSPs, 400 nSSPs, and various amendments and incorporated them into the PL version of the Standard Specifications. Acumen successfully performed the rewrite for portions of the major divisions, which included conducting and documenting industry and state research on best practices for PL conversions. Acumen also developed training for Caltrans staff on how to interpret and use the new specifications.

San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), Oakland, CA
Revenue Vehicle Engineering Services

Acumen provided document review, editing, and formatting for the proposed technical specification for BART’s new rail vehicle procurement. Responsibilities included reviewing the various specification sections for consistency, eliminating redundancies, and flagging data for verification by subject matter experts to ensure technical information stays accurate during the editorial process. Other responsibilities included document control, ensuring that subject matter experts reviewed the latest drafts, and integrating BART comments into the latest document versions. Acumen also formatted and compiled documents to produce the final specification.

BART, Oakland, CA
Seismic Retrofit Design of BART’s Offshore Transbay Tube,
Earthquake Safety Program

Acumen’s technical writing team was responsible for the development and refinement of technical specifications for BART’s Transbay Tube Seismic Retrofit Offshore Densification Project. The goal of this project was to implement a method for ground improvement of the San Francisco Bay floor around the Tube to withstand the effects of an earthquake. As part of the overall specifications, Acumen assisted in the development of procurement specifications to identify a contractor with the appropriate experience to participate in this project. The prequalification documentation Acumen’s team developed was based on the California Department of Industrial Relations’ prequalification guidelines and questionnaire, and incorporated additional technical requirements from project engineers. The team also led the development of Onshore Grouting Demonstration Contract Specifications.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), Boston, MA
Automated Fare Collection (AFC) System Precut Plastic Magnetic Stripe Ticket Stock Technical Specifications

This rush project for MBTA required Acumen to expand an initial draft of technical specifications to ensure it met current federal standards and regulations, as well as MBTA’s requirements for an upcoming ticket stock procurement. Acumen staff researched the subject matter, met with a variety of technical experts and vendors, compared current ticket manufacturer specifications with MBTA content, and further developed the technical specifications. The Acumen team communicated regularly with the prime contractor Giesecke & Devrient, developed a proofreading checklist and style sheet, and coordinated regularly with technical experts to ensure all technical content was accurate.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Francisco, CA
As Needed Specialized Engineering Services, Policies and Procedures Manual

Within this scope of technical writing services, Acumen revised the format of the existing manual to make the manual easier to read, decrease wasted space, and clearly designate subsections. Acumen updated SFMTA’s template in Microsoft Word to incorporate the existing header, and included style settings to ensure a consistent format on every page. As Acumen revised the documents, the team closely reviewed the procedures in the manual and make recommendations for reorganizing the procedures to make them more user-friendly. Acumen worked with SFMTA to ensure the technical content remained accurate, and the writers tracked changes to ensure SFMTA saw all suggested modifications.