Caltrans Reform Effort Continues

Published: Jan 30, 2015

SACRAMENTO – Caltrans today announced significant progress toward becoming a more modern, efficient, transparent and accountable organization one year after an external department review called for stronger management and performance and a better match between policy goals and transportation investments.

“It was our hope that the January report would not [sit] on the shelf, and we have been gratified to be part of the initial implementation effort,” wrote external department reviewers from State Smart Transportation Initiative in a recent progress report on the status of Caltrans reforms. “These actions all are positive, potentially very powerful initial steps,and both department and agency staff who worked on them deserve credit and thanks.”

The Caltrans Improvement Project is the result of honest assessments that described significant challenges and issued a call for change. Caltrans is committed to working closely with the California State Transportation Agency as it seeks to modernize the department and enhance transportation options in California. Some of the key achievements to date include the following:

Performance Management & Human ResourcesCaltrans has adopted a new mission, vision, and set of goals that encompasses a larger set of outcomes around economy, livability, and environment in addition to the traditional goals of improving mobility. Further reform efforts focus on accountability, including the release of new management and employee handbooks and the launch of an ethics hotline for employees.

Smart Investment & Resource AlignmentIn an effort to increase the construction of multimodal local streets and roads, Caltrans endorsed National Association of City Transportation Officials guidelines that include innovations such as buffered bike lanes and improved pedestrian walkways. Last year, California made the list of the Top 10 most bike friendly states in the nation. California also launched the $350 million Active Transportation Program. Meanwhile, Amtrak California is setting record ridership numbers, even as gas prices fall.

Strategic Partnerships & CommunicationTo improve communication and community outreach, Caltrans now publishes a periodic performance journal, The Mile Marker, which tracks how Caltrans is performing and where it needs to improve. Routine YouTube “News Flash” videos go behind the scenes to show how Caltrans is improving transportation in California. Caltrans is increasing partnerships intransportation by focusing on mutual goals and benefits. For example, Caltrans and the San Diego Association ofGovernments worked extensively with the Coastal Commission to receive one of the largest consolidated permits formultimodal improvements on Interstate 5. Caltrans is also supporting California’s highspeedrail project by integrating thesystem into state rail planning and working with the Air Resources Board on sustainable freight planning. Numerousoutreach efforts to communicate the culture change process underway at the department have also been made, includingat the 2014 National Association of City Transportation Officials conference.

Read Full News Release (pdf)