California Department of Transportation

Community Planning

Downtown Eureka

In August of 2000, the Office of Community Planning (OCP) was established to meet new planning initiatives of the State of California. Community Planners often act as Caltrans' point of contact between local government agencies, tribes, and community-based organizations. The resulting mission statement for the Office of Community Planning is as follows:

"To promote and participate in community based planning that integrates land use, transportation and community values"

Some of the broader goals of OCP include:

  • Affect and change existing Caltrans processes and functions to reflect relevant community values.
  • Develop partnerships to enhance community-based transportation planning approaches at local, regional and state levels.
  • Develop technical and program expertise in community based transportation planning and public participation techniques.
  • Enhance Caltrans leadership role in planning by integrating community-based transportation planning approaches in the department's planning processes.
  • Provide incentives that further support community-based transportation planning at all levels.
  • Allow the development of transportation projects that enjoy public support and are easier to develop and deliver because of consistency with community values.

OCP is organized into three primary branch units sharing a common theme of linking land-use decision-making with transportation planning: Community Based Transportation Planning, Public Participation, and Intergovernmental Review (IGR)/California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Community Based Transportation Planning Grant - These grants help communities to shape development by coordinating transportation infrastructure with land-use plans. Three million dollars are given out each year to communities throughout the State for community-based transportation planning efforts.

Public Participation - This program will assist in the compliance with the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century (TEA-21) by developing a protocol for the various outreach functions of the Department.

Intergovernmental Review (IGR) - District 1 planners review local, state, and federal programs, plans, and projects that have the potential to impact existing or proposed state transportation facilities. By coordinating with the lead agencies and developers, IGR reviewers establish the type and level of mitigation needed to offset project impacts. District reviewers ensure that conditions of project approval proposed by the Department and/ or adopted by the lead agency are forwarded to the District Permit Engineer.

The District works with local agencies and organizations to satisfy statewide goals or policies developed by program directors at our headquarters office in Sacramento. Occasionally, specific conditions arise that require an interpretation of these broadly stated goals or policies by program directors. For program information related to Community Planning, please visit the (Headquarters) Office of Community Planning

Guide for the Preparation of Traffic Impact Studies (PDF 197K)