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Canceled: CalSTA Tribal Consultation Meeting

October 24, 2014

CalSTA Consultation Meeting on October 29, 2014

Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Annual California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) Consultation Meeting, scheduled to take place on October 29, 2014, in Sacramento, California, has been canceled.

A new invitation will be issued when a date and time are selected to reschedule the meeting.

We sincerely apologize for the short notice and remain committed to finding another opportunity to meet with tribal representatives.

Thank you for your understanding.

October 29, 2014
2:00 – 4:00 pm

Holiday Inn at 300 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Carol Farris
CalSTA Tribal Liaison
carol.farris [at] calsta [dot] ca [dot] gov

Caltrans Director Dougherty Honored by NACTO for Leadership

October 23, 2014

Director Malcolm Dougherty Receives Excellence in Leadership Award (Credit: Tilly Chang)

Last night, The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) hosted their opening reception for their designing cities conference in San Francisco. The reception honored Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty with NACTO’s 2014 Excellence in Leadership Award for his vision for and support of innovative and flexible urban street design.

Earlier this year, Caltrans Director Dougherty announced the department's endorsement of the NACTO urban street and bikeway design guidelines.

NACTO’s press release follows in full. You can learn more about NACTO at their website:

# # #

Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty Honored with 2014 NACTO Excellence in Leadership Award
Posted on October 22, 2014
By Corinne Kisner
Press contact: Corinne Kisner, 646-629-4165

SAN FRANCISCO (October 22, 2014) – The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) celebrated the vision and accomplishments of Malcolm Dougherty, Director of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), awarding him the 2014 Excellence in Leadership Award for his support of a flexible approach to urban street design in the nation’s most populous state. NACTO President and SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin presented Dougherty with the award at the opening reception of the NACTO Designing Cities Conference.

Dougherty has positioned Caltrans as a national leader on street design, updating its Highway Design Manual in 2012 to facilitate the design of complete streets and, in April 2014, endorsing the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide and Urban Bikeway Design Guide. Caltrans’ endorsement allows cities and towns in California to use the Guides both for designing local streets and in planning city streets that coincide with the state highway system.

“NACTO is proud to honor Malcolm Dougherty for his inclusive, city-friendly approach to streets,” said Director Reiskin. “Under his direction, Caltrans is swiftly becoming a model of how states can help make city streets into great places.”

“Malcolm Dougherty has moved California to the forefront of the nation, paving the way for both Caltrans and the nearly 500 cities in California to design streets that serve everyone. We’re seeing more and more cities and states following his lead.” said Janette Sadik-Khan, NACTO Chair.

“I very much appreciate the recognition from NACTO acknowledging Caltrans’ efforts this past year to give appropriate consideration to all modes of travel when we implement transportation solutions,” Dougherty said. “Caltrans’ endorsement of these innovative street design options is an important part of modernizing our approach to improving transportation for all Californians.”

# # #

About the National Association of City Transportation Officials
NACTO is an association of 38 cities formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. Members include Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, DC. Affiliate members of NACTO include Arlington (VA), Austin, Boulder, Burlington (VT), Cambridge, El Paso, Fort Lauderdale, Hoboken, Indianapolis, Louisville, Madison, Memphis, Oakland, Salt Lake City, Somerville (MA), and Ventura (CA). International members include Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

High-Speed Rail Authority Honors Assembly Transportation Chair

October 14, 2014

SACRAMENTO--The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) Board of Directors today honored Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) with a commendation at their monthly meeting. The Board adopted a resolution recognizing Assemblywoman Lowenthal for her leadership and unmatched vision in proactively addressing California’s long-term environmental, economic and mobility needs, including California’s high-speed rail program. 

“Since her election to office in 2008, Assemblywoman Lowenthal has shown her commitment to pushing California’s transportation system past the status quo,” said Authority Board Chair Dan Richard. “Ms. Lowenthal has been a constant champion for improving California’s passenger rail system. Our progress in bringing the nation’s first high-speed rail system to California is directly tied to her efforts while in office.”

“I’m grateful for the hard work of the Authority and its staff in moving this project from vision to reality,” said Lowenthal(D-Long Beach), Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee. “I firmly believe that high-speed rail is the key to building a brighter future for all Californians and our best hope for bountiful jobs, transformed communities and fast, efficient, clean transportation to meet the demands of our growing population.”

Assemblywoman Lowenthal was elected to represent Assembly District 54 (subsequently Assembly District 70) in 2008 after serving two terms on the Long Beach City Council, two terms on the Long Beach Unified School District, and on the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Ms. Lowenthal was appointed chair of the Assembly Committee on Transportation in 2010 by then-Speaker John A. Perez, becoming ex-officio member of the California Transportation Commission, where she oversees public investment in highway, passenger rail and transportation projects.

Transportation Agency Releases CHP Bay Bridge Management Investigation

October 3, 2014

SACRAMENTO—The California State Transportation Agency today announced the conclusion of a California Highway Patrol (CHP) probe into Caltrans management activities during fabrication of Bay Bridge components in China, an investigation that found no violation of law.

“The California Highway Patrol investigators found no retaliation or retribution against employees or contractors or any other violation of law,” said Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly, who launched the investigation after hearing allegations of retaliation lodged against Caltrans during a Senate hearing in January. “While the California Highway Patrol found no violation of law, it identified past management shortfalls that must be addressed. I’ve asked Director Dougherty to review the document and its recommendations and make necessary changes to the management structure of the bridge to improve project oversight. I’ve asked for the new management structure to be in place by December 1, 2014.”

The reorganization will focus on the recommendations made in the CHP report including improving communication, documentation, transparency and consistent adherence to policies. Mindful of budget pressures, the reorganization will also include right-sizing the operation to better comport with the remaining work on the project.

The CHP’s investigation, titled “Inquiry Into Personnel Practices Associated with the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Project,” probes management of Bay Bridge construction and component fabrication that occurred more than five years ago, primarily overseas in China. The report does not address the safety of the bay bridge, an issue which was not in question. Witnesses during Senate hearings expressed consensus regarding bridge safety, even those who questioned management practices.  

Earlier this year, the State Senate Transportation Committee alleged that employees suffered retaliation from management after voicing concerns about quality control. The CHP found no retaliation: “The totality of the evidence does not support the elements of a violation of the Whistleblower Protection Act,” investigators wrote.

CHP also found nothing unlawful in Caltrans’ decision six years ago to allow new companies to bid for a quality assurance contract. “The investigation revealed there was insufficient evidence to support a claim of collusion, or an effort to select other than the most qualified firm,” investigators concluded.

Although CHP did not find retaliation or other violations of law, the report describes how poor internal communication and management practices created distrust and confusion, leading to speculation of improper activity by some employees. “While management personnel indicated that those concerns brought forward were considered, and a course of action selected, they failed to communicate this information to subordinate employees, resulting in a perception that management intended to suppress or ignore concerns,” investigators found.

Since January, Caltrans has been engaged in a department reform effort to improve performance, accountability, management and communication. The department’s new vision includes being a “performance-driven, transparent and accountable organization,” and many of the past management issues identified in the investigation were inconsistent with that new vision.  

“I’m working closely with Director Dougherty to improve Caltrans’ operations, with greater emphasis on transparency and accountability,” said Secretary Kelly. “The CHP report reflects the fact that we have more improvements to make—and we will.”

The CHP’s investigative report can be found here. The CHP does not list names in public reports of official investigations. To assist readers of the report, a list of the names and titles of witnesses who testified before the Senate can be found here.

notice of public webcast: cap and trade - rail and transit programs

Friday, October 10, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The Administration is seeking public input on the investment of cap-and-trade auction proceeds to support the State’s effort to reduce greenhouse gases through two new transit and rail programs established in Senate Bill 862 (Chapter 361, Statutes of 2014):

The Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program
The Low-Carbon Transit Operations Program

At this webcast, the Administration will present background on the requirements of state law, and ask the public to provide feedback that will inform the Administration’s crafting of draft program guidelines.  After the draft guidelines are developed, additional public meetings will be scheduled to receive comments prior to adoption of final guidelines. The materials presented on the webcast will be the same materials used during the in-person public workshops in San Jose, Los Angeles and Sacramento during August 2014.


Note: The link will only work a few minutes before the webcast is scheduled to begin, if trying to connect earlier than scheduled time, a “not available” message may appear. If this occurs, please try again.

Additionally, you can join the meeting via conference call:
Call-in number: 1(877) 396-1924
Participant Code: 510174

For questions on the webcast, call Bruce Roberts, Caltrans Division of Rail and Mass Transportation, at (916) 653-3060. Comments on the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) and the Low-Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) may be directed to and, respectively, or to the following postal mail address, attention TIRCP Comments or LCTOP Comments:

Caltrans Division of Rail and Mass Transportation
P.O. Box 942873
Sacramento, CA 94273-0001

Secretary Kelly Issues Statement on Caltrans “Intelligent Transportation Society of America” Awards

September 10, 2014

SACRAMENTO—California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly issued the following statement after the Intelligent Transportation Society of America awarded the California Department of Transportation with its top honor in the categories of New Innovative Product or Service and Best New Innovative Practice.

“The California Department of Transportation has implemented multiple reforms to improve its operation and more effectively deliver a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system for all Californians,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly. “This award honors the California Department of Transportation for taking an innovative approach to strengthening California’s existing transportation system and improving trade and goods movement along key freight corridors.”

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) awarded the Cordelia Truck Scales Modernization Project with one of its 2014 Best of ITS Awards in the category of best new innovative product, service or application. The project involved the modernization of the busiest commercial vehicle inspection station in the United States. In 2012, more than 2.4 million trucks traveled through the old facility and more than 40,000 inspections were performed by the California Highway Patrol.

The new facility’s inspection bays help California Highway Patrol inspectors examine commercial trucks and identify high-risk vehicles without reducing the free-flow of traffic on Interstate 80. With nearly 10,000 trucks traveling from the Port of Oakland along I-80 to Northern California and beyond, in addition to truck traffic from other points in the Bay Area, California needed a new station that could handle the growing demand along this key trade corridor.

The Cordelia Truck Scale is one of the busiest commercial vehicle inspection stations in the United States. The old eastbound Cordelia Truck Scales, built in 1958, contributed significantly to the congestion on I-80 due to the lack of automation tools. The modernization of the Cordelia truck scales benefits all travelers on I-80 by reducing congestion and improving safety, and enabling the California Highway Patrol to conduct safety inspections in a more efficient manner.

The $97 million project was completed with support from the California Highway Patrol, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Solano Transportation Authority, and California Transportation Commission. Funding sources included the Proposition 1B Trade Corridor Improvement Fund Program and Bay Area Toll Authority bridge tolls.

Caltrans also received an award for its “One-Stop-Shop” web application that improves traveler safety by offering real-time travel data for planning trips in California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada. The application provides current weather and traffic information along with traffic cameras, road information, rest stops and points of interest. To access OSS please visit:

The awards were announced this week during the ITS America awards ceremony at the 21st World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems in Detroit. The highly competitive Best of ITS Awards recognize projects that demonstrate specific and measurable outcomes and exemplified innovation.

For more information about the project, visit the Caltrans website

Regulatory and Public Meeting Notice

 We are seeking public input on how to invest cap-and-trade proceeds for two new transit and rail programs that will support California’s landmark efforts to fight climate change by curbing greenhouse gases.

These two programs are called the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) and the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP).

Here are the presentations and fact sheets for both of these programs:
Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program Presentation (pdf)
TIRCP Fact Sheet (pdf)
Low Carbon Transit Operations Program Presentation (pdf)
LCTOP Fact Sheet (pdf)

Here is the official Notice of Public Workshops. There are three upcoming public workshops this month that will provide opportunities to learn more about the programs and make public comments:

Thursday, August 21, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
San Jose City Hall
City Manager’s Conference Room, 17th Floor
200 E Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Friday, August 22, 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm
California Environmental Protection Agency
Byron Sher Auditorium, 2nd Floor
1001 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95812

Wednesday, August 27, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Board Room
One Gateway Plaza, 3rd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90021

Written comments can also be submitted by email to  and  or by regular mail to:

Caltrans Division of Rail and Mass Transportation
P.O. Box 942873
Sacramento, CA 94273-0001

If you have further questions about this notice, please contact Bruce Roberts, Caltrans Division of Rail and Mass Transit, at (916) 653-3060.

Secretary Kelly Signs port of entry mou with mexico transportation ministry

July 30, 2014

SACRAMENTO—Highlighting the importance of goods movement and international trade, California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian P. Kelly today signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Communications and Transportation of the United Mexican States that establishes an oversight committee to monitor construction of a new port of entry at Otay Mesa.

“The fact that Mexico is entering into an agreement with California to improve our shared port of entry reflects the important role of international trade and commerce between California and Mexico,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian P. Kelly. “This partnership between Mexico and California will help strengthen our land connection and the tens of billions of dollars in commerce that flows through our mutual border.”

Under today’s agreement, a bi-national, multiagency oversight committee will be formed to facilitate policy issues and review major milestones during ongoing project development of the new Otay Mesa East Port of Entry. The committee will focus on financing and revenue sharing, reducing air pollution and congestion, project management coordination and ensuring appropriate staffing for safety, security and efficiency of the ports of entry.

The State Route 11 / Otay Mesa East Port of Entry project, which is estimated to cost around $750 million, is being built in four segments and the first segment began construction in December 2013. Meanwhile, the Mexican Communications and Transportation Ministry is preparing to construct two direct access roadways and the new Otay II Port of Entry in the city of Tijuana, Baja California.

Otay Mesa East-Otay II is a flagship border infrastructure project with the objective of fostering bilateral trade in the Baja California-California region by reducing waiting times through a single and efficient binational operation and the extended and innovative use of technology. Since the beginning of the project, the State of California, the Communications and Transportation Ministry and the San Diego Association of Governments have developed collaborative efforts on a variety of tasks such as binational infrastructure planning and coordination, intelligent transportation systems and environmental protection. This MOU strengthens cooperation and supports the effective delivery of this new port of entry.

Here is a map of the ongoing and planned construction activities to improve and build a new port of entry:



In 2013, approximately $50 billion worth of goods moved across California-México land ports of entry, of which more than $35 billion flowed through the San Diego-Tijuana region ports of entry. Unfortunately, bottlenecks at the existing Otay Mesa Port of Entry, the San Diego-Tijuana region’s only commercial border crossing, and the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the busiest land border crossing in the world, regularly create wait times exceeding two hours per vehicle.

The Memorandum of Understanding is here.

Transportation Leaders Applaud Historic Investment in Public Transportation and Connecting California

June 20, 2014

SACRAMENTO—Following Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.’s signing of the 2014-2015 Budget Act, California Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly joined with transportation leaders around the state to praise the largest ongoing transportation investment in decades.

“This year’s budget marks the first time in decades that California has made a long-term commitment to improving transportation and connecting California’s transportation systems in a meaningful way,” California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly said. “The Governor’s budget includes significant, ongoing investments in public transportation and multimodal transportation that will help connect California and improve quality of life for years to come.”

The 2014-15 budget includes a $1.7 billion transportation funding package including:

  • $300 million in ongoing funding for new and existing public transportation,
  • $130 million for public transit and building sustainable communities through affordable housing and active transportation projects,
  • $351 million in general fund loan repayments to help preserve and maintain California roads,
  • $160 million in bond funding for intercity rail, and
  • $793 million in bond funding for transit capital investment.

“As owners and operators of the local component of California’s transportation system, California counties greatly appreciate the investment in local streets and roads, regional transportation plans and transit—all critical to achieve a multi-modal, seamless transportation system,” said Matt Cate, Executive Director, California State Association of Counties. “The Governor remains committed to investing in our transportation system with a clear focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. California counties fully support the regional transportation plans that are expected to ultimately achieve that goal.”

“We are pleased to see significant infrastructure investments included in the final budget, including for transportation. Cities are ready to put the transportation funds to work quickly,” said Chris McKenzie, Executive Director, League of California Cities. “In addition, the continuous appropriation of Cap and Trade Auction Revenues for transit, affordable housing and sustainable communities will fund critical projects in communities across the state. We appreciate the Governor’s recognition of the great need for these important infrastructure investments.”

The budget act appropriates 40 percent of future cap and trade auction proceeds to transit and rail investment. This includes 25 percent of proceeds for the high-speed rail project and 15 percent for bus and rail operators across California. Among many projects expected to benefit the state’s rail investment is the extension of tracks at Los Angeles Union Station, in part with $175 million in Prop 1A high-speed rail funding, to increase rail capacity up to 50 percent. State funding also provided $115 million in connectivity funds to help build a light rail connection for a one-seat ride throughout Los Angeles County and over $600 million for the Caltrain electrification project.

“We applaud the Legislature and the Governor for approving a committed, ongoing funding source for the implementation of SB 375 through the Sustainable Communities program. California’s regions, who are responsible for developing innovative strategies to lower greenhouse gas emissions and meet the requirements of SB 375, look forward to working with the Administration to establish guidelines and a regionally balanced distribution method for the funds,” said Bill Higgins, Executive Director, California Association of Councils of Governments, which represents California’s Councils of Governments, including the state’s regional and metropolitan planning organizations.

“Today Governor Brown signed into law a state budget and a landmark expenditure plan for state Cap and Trade revenues, including significant new resources to enhance public transportation services for all Californians and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector,” said California Transit Association executive director Joshua W. Shaw. “The plan provides formula funding for transit operations and capital programs, ensuring predictability to transit agencies statewide; makes transit funding available for a statewide competitive program to be managed by the state’s transportation agencies, thus ensuring the most innovative projects rise to the top; funds the implementation of regional sustainable communities strategies that will make local transit services more effective and efficient; and, incentivizes the commercialization of low-carbon transit vehicle technologies.”

“This package,” continued Shaw, “including progress towards integrating local and regional rail services into the state’s high-speed rail transit system, offers an historic investment opportunity for public transportation and our communities depending on enhanced and cleaner mobility options. Expanding and improving transit service will provide significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions everywhere in California, especially in disadvantaged communities throughout the state, helping achieve the goals of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. The Governor also called for, and signed into law today as part of the budget, an appropriation of the remaining transit funds from Proposition 1B; our transit systems will immediately put those dollars to work, purchasing newer, cleaner buses and expanding rail transit systems all over the state.”

“Thanks to Governor Brown, State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and other key legislative leaders, California now has a long-term plan for Cap and Trade expenditures that addresses the funding needs of critical state, regional and local public transit services so that we can improve the transit network and get more people out of their cars,” said Michael J. Scanlon General Manager/CEO, San Mateo County Transit District. “The resources allocated to the Peninsula will be used for our most pressing and immediate needs: modernizing Caltrain service and continuing to improve SamTrans bus service. Through these efforts we will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take vehicles off already congested roads.”

“All Californians need to thank Governor Brown and legislative leadership for crafting this multi-faceted funding program designed to target clean air resources and transit investments where they’re needed most,” said Donna DeMartino, general manager/CEO of the San Joaquin Regional Transit District, and chair of the California Transit Association. “Our Association’s leadership, its member public transit systems and its private sector industry suppliers look forward to working with Governor Brown’s Administration and the Legislature to move this important program forward and ensure effective transit projects and services are delivered to the millions of Californians who need and rely on public transit.”

This budget also directly supports the recommendations of the Transportation Agency in the California Transportation Infrastructure Priorities initial report issued by the agency earlier this year, including calls for dedicated, pay-as-you-go funding sources for transportation.

Dedicated funding sources allow construction projects to leverage a funding commitment to obtain more project support. Last week, high-speed rail pointed to letters from potential private sector investors who express interest subject in the project if there were a dedicated, long-term funding source. The continuing commitments for high speed rail and transit in this year’s budget will help secure a multimodal transportation system to help connect Californians for decades.

“The commitment by the Governor and the Legislature to provide ongoing cap and trade funding to high-speed rail means we can accelerate our program to connect California and transform passenger rail in the state,” said Jeff Morales, CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. “This budget enables us to continue work on the high-speed rail backbone in the Central Valley and advance the program on multiple segments, while stepping up projects with local and regional partners, leveraging new funding sources and attracting private investment.”

Additional details on the 2014-15 state budget are available here:

Transportation Agency Announces “Bike Month” Mileage Competition Results

June 10, 2014

SACRAMENTO--The California State Transportation Agency today announced that state agencies and departments across California have reported more than 550,000 miles of biking during the “May Is Bike Month” statewide employer challenges.

“This Administration is committed to improving transportation—and public health—by supporting healthy and sustainable transportation options,'” said Secretary Brian Kelly. “We led by example in May, collectively biking more than half-a-million miles to celebrate Bike Month.”

“May Is Bike Month” is an annual event that promotes bicycling in California by allowing employers and individuals to log commute, errand and recreation bike miles during the month of May. This year, all state departments and agencies logged 557,517 miles of biking as part of the small, medium and larger employer challenges. All participants biked a total of approximately 1.9 million miles, a twelve percent increase over last year’s mileage.

Californians are increasingly embracing the environmental and public health benefits of active transportation including cycling and walking. A recently released Caltrans California Household Travel Survey revealed that, statewide, 23 percent of household trips are made via non-car transportation, more than double the participation 10 years ago.

In response to this increased demand, and as part of its effort to modernize its operations, Caltrans recently endorsed National Association of City Transportation Officials’ guidelines that include innovations such as buffered bike lanes and improved pedestrian walkways. California is the third state in the nation to endorse these new design guidelines. Increasing opportunities for walking and bicycling in California helps improve public health and curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Last year, Governor Brown signed legislation (Senate Bill 99, Chapter 359 and Assembly Bill 101, Chapter 354) creating the new Active Transportation Program, which distributes funding for human-powered transportation projects and programs. The new $360 million program replaced a patchwork of small grant programs with a comprehensive program that is more efficient. Caltrans began accepting applications from cities and counties in April 2014.

For more information on “May Is Bike Month,” including the latest mileage data, visit:


April 11, 2014

SACRAMENTO--In an effort to support the construction of more multimodal local streets and roads, Caltrans today endorsed National Association of City Transportation Officials’ (NACTO) guidelines that include innovations such as buffered bike lanes and improved pedestrian walkways.

“California’s transportation system must be multimodal and support bicycles and pedestrians as well as automobiles,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “Caltrans’ endorsement of these innovative street design options is an important part of modernizing our approach to improving transportation for all Californians.”

Today’s announcement makes California the third state in the nation to endorse these new design guidelines. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) also supports this flexible approach to bike and pedestrian transportation design.

State Smart Transportation Initiative, which recently published an independent assessment of Caltrans, recommended endorsing these guidelines as part of an effort to modernize the department and increase the sustainability of California’s transportation system.

All streets within cities and towns may use the new guidelines. In addition to endorsing the new guidelines for local streets and roads, these guidelines can be referenced for city streets that are part of the state highway system. Caltrans is also evaluating the guidelines for future updates to the Highway Design Manual, the standard for building on the state’s highway system.

“My Great Streets Initiative is reimagining our streets to make our communities more livable, sustainable, and safe,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “I look forward to working with Caltrans and Los Angeles city staff to immediately begin using the NACTO design guidelines as we pursue a multimodal vision for L.A.'s transportation system.”

“We will strengthen the dynamic, effective partnership with Caltrans to build safer, stronger transportation infrastructure,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “By working together we can help establish the State as a leader for designing safe and people-oriented streets.”

The guidelines are based on successful innovations including separated bikeways and pedestrian refuge islands. Some of the new design features that cities could implement under these new guidelines include: 

Buffered or separated bike lanes, to separate cyclists from traffic.

Bike boxes, which allow cyclists to queue during congested traffic and improve left turns.

Flexibility in pedestrian access and sidewalk design, to enhance quality of life.

Caltrans’ endorsement of the NACTO guidelines is part of an ongoing effort to integrate a multimodal and flexible approach to transportation planning and design, to provide Californians with more transportation choices. In 2012, Caltrans updated its Highway Design Manual to facilitate the design of Complete Streets, which incorporates a multimodal approach to highway design. Caltrans also recently published Main Street, California – a Guide for Improving Community and Transportation Vitality.

A recently released Caltrans California Household Travel Survey revealed that, statewide, 23 percent of household trips are made via non-car transportation, more than double than 10 years ago. Caltrans and cities across the state are eager to support this trend.

“Business leaders prioritize active transportation as an important tactic for lowering our environmental impact and increasing people’s health, productivity and happiness,” said Carl Guardino, President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “Designing safer roads will further help attract creative entrepreneurs to our cities and towns.”

Visit the NACTO website for more information on the Urban Street Design Guide, including photos and videos of new sidewalk and pedestrian facilities. The NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide also includes photos and videos of protected bikeways and other innovative transportation design features.

“Caltrans is showing great leadership in working with cities and counties to embrace creative and more convenient transportation options for everyone,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly.


February 5, 2014

The California State Transportation Agency has released the California Transportation Infrastructure Priorities (CTIP) workgroup vision and interim recommendations document. Last year’s budget directed the new Transportation Agency to work with stakeholders to develop funding priorities and long-term funding options. The workgroup examined the current status of the state’s transportation system and discussed challenges that lie ahead. The interim recommendations offers both a vision for California’s transportation future and a set of immediate action items toward achieving that vision that are centered on the concepts of preservation, innovation, integration, reform and funding. A copy of the report is located here.


January 30, 2014

SACRAMENTO— The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) today released the external review of Caltrans it ordered last year—which has found that over the past decades the department has not kept pace with changes in transportation policy—and called for department reforms to modernize its mission, strengthen management and performance, and match investments and resources to the state’s policy goals.

 “We asked for an honest assessment because we are committed to modernizing Caltrans and improving transportation for all Californians,” said CalSTA Secretary Brian Kelly “This report describes significant challenges that built up for decades at Caltrans and we are committed to facing those challenges proactively and taking action to deliver a modern transportation system that Californians deserve.”

State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, which wrote the assessment, conducted more than 100 interviews with Caltrans staff, stakeholders, partners and agency representatives. In general, reviewers found a need for significant improvement in the areas of vision and mission, aligning resources and skills to realize that vision, implementing management systems to achieve success, and improving communication with stakeholders.

“Most of the recommendations are not simple check-the-box action items, but calls for hard work of collaborating, rethinking and establishing a new course,” said SSTI reviewers. “Fortunately other DOTs have worked through similar processes, and while their stories cannot simply be copied due to different policy surrounds and other issues, they can provide both information and inspiration as reform efforts proceed in California.”

The SSTI report explains how Caltrans led the nation during construction of the interstate system after World War II, but has not adapted to modern trends in transportation including local control, more efficient land use, and demands for more mobility choices.

“Climate change puts new demands on the state transportation system,” said Kelly. “More transportation choices, efficient land use, highway preservation, sustainable movement of people and freight—these now are the order of the day. Caltrans must modernize its mission and describe its vision to deliver on these demands.”

In response to this report, CalSTA will work with Caltrans, SSTI and stakeholders to draft a new strategic plan that is consistent with state law and policy and that delivers a transportation system capable of meeting safety, sustainability and mobility objectives.

SSTI drew on the experience of multiple transportation industry experts, including the former Secretaries of Transportation from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and North Carolina. The SSTI report is available here: SSTI Caltrans Review

The California State Transportation Agency, which was launched July 1, 2013, is responsible for transportation-related departments within the state: Board of Pilot Commissioners, California Highway Patrol, California Transportation Commission, Department of Transportation, Department of Motor Vehicles, High-Speed Rail Authority, New Motor Vehicle Board and Office of Traffic Safety. The Agency was formed as part of Governor Brown’s Government Reorganization Plan, which became law in 2012. In June, the Agency announced $87 million in new federally-funded traffic safety grants administered by the Office of Traffic Safety. Last year, the Agency formed the California Freight Advisory Committee to help determine the state’s plans for freight-related transportation investments in California. The Agency also formed the California Transportation Infrastructure Priorities Workgroup, which will help set priorities for transportation spending and explore long-term funding options to deliver California’s infrastructure needs. For more information, visit

LA Times Op-ED: Taking California's Bullet Train to a Greener Future

January 29, 2014

Los Angeles Times Op-Ed: By Brian P. Kelly and Mary D. Nichols

California's high-speed rail is one of the largest public works projects anywhere in the world. Like the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Interstate 5 and the California Aqueduct before it, high-speed rail has engendered opposition, consternation and litigation. Every bold, transformative vision faces that litany.

This year's state budget includes high-speed rail as an important part of California's landmark effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. Although the Air Resources Board included high-speed rail in its 2008 greenhouse gas reduction plan, the project's economic benefits have been discussed in more detail than its environmental ones.

Today, California has 32 million registered vehicles, more cars and trucks that travel more miles — more than 330 billion — than any other state. Without high-speed rail, the existing transportation infrastructure cannot reasonably meet the demands of the projected 12 million new Californians coming to this state. The alternative to high-speed rail is an estimated investment of more than $150 billion to build 4,300 new lanes of highway, more freeways and hundreds of new airport gates and runways, covering large swaths of the state with concrete and asphalt. The effect on the environment — water and air quality, open space, food supply, noise and climate — would be substantial.

Although we should preserve our highway system to meet some of this demand, we also need opportunities for travelers to shift from petroleum-based fuels to biofuels, electric vehicles and public transit. This cannot happen unless we modernize and expand California's rail system — including high-speed rail and regional, urban and commuter rail.

Europe's experience with high-speed rail is illustrative. After high-speed rail launched in Europe, air trips were cut in half from Paris to London. In Spain, the impact was even more dramatic. For the 315-mile trip from Barcelona to Madrid, more than 60% of air travelers have switched to the 21/2-hour rail ride. Closer to home, Angelenos living near the Metro Expo Line tripled their public transit ridership and reduced daily driving 40% after light rail opened.

High-speed rail has the same potential to change the way people travel in California. By 2040, it could reduce car miles traveled in the state by 3.6 billion miles a year, the equivalent of taking 317,000 cars off the road daily. And by 2020, the project is estimated to eliminate between 278,000 and 674,000 net metric tons of greenhouse gases from voluntary emissions reductions, electrification of local rail and other efforts. High-speed rail will be constructed with net-zero emissions and operate 100% from renewable energy This statewide rail system would also give rise to transit and pedestrian-friendly development, which, in turn, preserves Central Valley farmland. The city of Fresno, for example, has approved a land-use plan that directs growth to infill and denser development in the city core, while barring expansion into prime farmland on the city's outskirts. A key element of this downtown development is the future high-speed rail station and its connection to transit.

California is on track to meet its 2020 emission reduction goals under AB 32, and we need investments in rail modernization to help achieve long-term reductions beyond that date. Reducing car travel, promoting infill and transit-oriented development, preserving farmland and open space, and avoiding massive highway and airport expansions are all part of the high-speed rail project and the vision for California transportation.

The project also serves as a catalyst for $50 million in the governor's current budget for improvements and upgrades to local rail transit systems in Los Angeles and San Francisco as part of the overall statewide system to improve mobility.

When it was finished in 1869, the transcontinental railroad cut the journey from the East Coast to California from months to days, uniting the West and creating a new spirit of optimism. Through our commitment to high-speed rail, we can repeat such a transformation and accomplish something that hasn't been done in more than 100 years of transit: Unite California with a sustainable, statewide transportation system.

Brian P. Kelly is California's secretary of transportation; Mary D. Nichols is chairman of the California Air Resources Board.

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