California Department of Transportation
Coronado Bridge Carquinez Bridge San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge Richmond San Rafael Bridge

Materials Engineering and Testing Services

Office of Roadway Materials Testing
Electrical Testing Branch

Transportation Electrical Quality Assurance Testing Team Charter

Mission Statement:

To provide Quality Assurance (QA) testing of State furnished and Contractor furnished traffic signal control and traffic management system electrical devices used throughout the State of California by both Caltrans and by local agencies. This QA process is intended to monitor the Quality Control (QC) efforts of manufacturers of these devices in order to ensure that they meet the highest standards of quality.

These devices include:

Model 2070E / 170E Controller Units
Traffic Signal and Intelligent Transportation System Cabinets
Service Pedestals
Detection devices
Closed Circuit TV
LED Signal Heads – used in statewide retrofit of existing incandescent heads.
Sign and Highway Lighting

Management Sponsor:

Joe Peterson, Chief, Office of Roadway Materials Testing

Team Leader:

Christopher Tan, Chief, Electrical Testing Branch

Team Members:

Jeff Forester, P.E., Transportation Engineer, Electrical
Jim Rhodes, Transportation Engineer, Electrical
Ken Groza, Transportation Engineer, Electrical
Craig Fearn, P.E., Transportation Engineer, Electrical
Nasir Choudry, Transportation Engineer, Electrical
Phil Fong,  Transportation Engineer, Electrical
Jonathan Kersey, Transportation Engineer, Electrical
Alan Nishijima, Transportation Engineer, Electrical
Minh Tran, P.E., Transportation Engineer, Electrical
Thomas Gallego, Electrical Engineering Tech
Linda Hill, Electrical Engineering Tech
Tom Pierce, Electrical Engineering Tech
Mike Fuentes, Electrical Engineering Tech
Dan Driver, Electrical Engineering Tech

Background:

Caltrans, and also local agencies, such as cities and counties, use hundreds of types of electrical devices necessary to operate signalized intersections, Traffic Management Centers (TMC’s), traffic surveillance systems, etc. These entities, in particular Caltrans, have developed specifications that govern the functional characteristics, safety features and level of quality of these devices. Currently, these specifications are the Transportation Electrical Equipment Specifications, dated March 2009 and Standard Specifications and Standard Plans, both dated 2010. One of the specification requirements is that the manufacturers must have an active QC program to ensure that their products meet these specifications. Historically, despite the best of intentions, manufacturers will produce products that fall short of our requirements. In order to police the QC efforts of these manufacturers, Caltrans must have an active QA program. This QA program is necessary to ensure that all materials incorporated into Caltrans projects operate correctly and safely with a minimum of startup defects. Another important reason to have a Caltrans operated QA program is the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Federal-Aid Policy Guide, Title 23 – The Code of Federal Regulations. This code requires that each State Highway Agency develop a quality assurance program which will assure that materials and workmanship incorporated into each Federal-aid highway construction project are in conformity with the requirements of the approved plans and specifications. In addition, Assembly Bill, AB 2275, passed May 31, 2000, mandates that unless a contract provides that a contractor or service provider will perform QC under the contract, Caltrans may assign qualified state employees to perform all inspection and testing of materials, and devices, including both commercial and fabricated material. This will ultimately ensure timely completion of projects and savings in cost.

Goals:

Full implementation of ANSI Z1.4-2008 Inspection by Attributes (Sample Testing). This is necessary because of the high volume of devices that the State warehouses for use on state contracts (state furnished).

Full implementation of Electrical QA Testing Program into northern and central districts by end of FY00/01 and statewide by end of FY02/03. This will provide for testing of contractor furnished materials versus accepting these materials on certificates of compliance.

Develop standardized inspection methods by end of FY02/03. These methods include, but are not limited to, the procedures used to test materials and the criteria used in determining what constitutes failed and accepted materials.

Develop in-house technical expertise in order to assist the districts and headquarters personnel and to provide a centralized focal point regarding issues pertaining to specification compliance. This will be an ongoing effort.

Develop and publish new and updated California Test Methods and a QA Program Test Procedure Manual for internal and external use.

Develop process for testing new and current transportation electrical devices and determining its applicability to the Caltrans mission.

Authority:

The Electrical QA Testing Team tests all transportation electrical devices for compliance to a particular set of specifications. The team’s services are limited to determining what devices meet and what devices fail to meet those criteria, and then recommending either accepting or rejecting those devices use. The team’s findings are then reported to its customers. These customers are Traffic Operations, both at headquarters and at the various districts, and Resident Engineers at construction projects. Our customers have the prerogative of abiding by our finding or not.

The Electrical QA Testing Team will develop the California Test Methods and Test Procedures used to determine specification compliance. The team may solicit input from the various manufacturers, but it is up to the team to develop independent testing procedures. The team will also be in a role of recommending changes, additions and deletions from the various specifications to which we test.

Resources:

The Electrical QA Testing Team currently has twelve (12) Engineering PY’s, five (5) Technician PY’s and three (3) Temporary Help PY’s, in order to carry out its tasks. In order to fully meets its goals, additional PY’s will be required.

A full test lab will be required also. This will include such things as temperature/humidity environment chambers, various pieces of general-purpose electronic test equipment, light tunnels, shake tables, and photometric testing capabilities. Resource support in this area has been adequate to date.

The training requirements necessary will mostly rely upon on-the-job training. In addition, Caltrans sponsored training programs, such as the 2070/170 Academies will also be sought. Outside, vendor provided training will also be looked into, in order to ensure that personnel have the best tools at their disposal.

Sponsor Commitment:

The team keeps its sponsors fully informed on the progress of the program by submission of monthly and quarterly report that indicate by percentage, the failure rates and acceptance rates. These numbers are then used to determine necessary changes required, either to our processes, or to our funding levels. By using the feedback that the team provides, the sponsors generally have a good idea if more PY’s are needed or if more equipment is needed.