California Department of Transportation

Project Development Workflow Tasks (PDWT)

Part 3 - Identify Project Need and Project Initiation Document

II. Project Initiation Document

A. Define Transportation Need and Assess Site (150.05) - Obtain and Review Existing Reports, Studies and Mapping (150.05.05)

P09. Request Appropriate Planning Documents

The Division of Transportation Planning articulates a long-term vision while supporting transportation service, project selection, project delivery, and system operations. The Division of Transportation Planning is comprised of a number of offices that are responsible for the many facets of transportation planning. District Planning Offices produce a variety of planning documents that contain important information for the project engineer, which may include:

  • Transportation System Development Program
  • Transportation Concept Reports
  • Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan
  • District System Management Plan
  • California Transportation Plan
  • Traffic Congestion Relief Plan
  • Corridor studies
  • HOV Plan
  • Park and Ride Plan
  • Ramp Metering Plan
  • And other reports

Planning also works jointly with locals and regional agencies to produce other documents that affect project decisions, which may include:

  • Major Investment Studies
  • County General Plan Documents
  • Regional Transportation Plans
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Use Plans
  • Transit Plans
  • State Implementation Plans for Air Quality Conformity
  • Community Planning documents including Community Vision Documents.
  • Intelligent Transportation System Plans
  • Nation Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

These documents are typically available through the District Regional Planning branch for review. Due to local differences, the District Planning Offices will vary in their organization structure, planning functions, and planning document products they produce. The project engineer will need the assistance from various units within the District Planning Office including Systems Planning, IGR/CEQA, Transit, Community, Travel Modeling and Forecasting, and Regional Planning branches to obtain all relevant planning documents and input during the PID phase.

Transportation System Development Program (TSDP)

The purpose of the TSDP is to identify, by district, reasonable and effective lists of multi-modal transportation improvements (infrastructure/capital outlay), strategies, and demand and system management options to improve statewide, interregional and regional mobility and inter-modal transfer of people and goods.

Transportation Concept Reports (TCR)

This document, formerly called Route Concept Reports (RCR), is prepared and updated in the district by the Systems Planning branch. TCRs are route specific documents that typically contain information on current and future AADTs, and Levels of Service, as well as current route type/classification and the ultimate route development objective. TCRs also address travel demand and system management options such as transit and Intelligent Transportation Systems for achieving the ultimate route concept. TCRs compile planning information from multiple sources; identify corridor deficiencies, and summarize the transportation goals for the route.

The District System Management Plan (DSMP)

The DSPM is a long range strategy and policy planning document that presents the Department and District vision of planning, maintaining, managing and developing the State transportation system.

The Regional Transportation Plan (RTP)

The RTP is a state mandated document prepared by all regional transportation planning agencies (RTPAs). MPOs (for urbanized areas) are on a three year cycle, and RTPAs (for rural areas) are on a four year cycle. The Plan describes existing and projected transportation needs, conditions, and financing affecting all modes within a 20-year horizon.

Besides the RTP there are several other local/regional planning documents that may have an effect on the Project Initiation Document. The Regional Planner in the district is usually the best source of local/regional documents for a particular project location. Related documents may include:

  • Corridor Studies and Corridor Concept Plans
  • Major Investment Studies
  • Congestion Management Programs
  • Tribal Government Traffic Circulation Reports (Native American tribes)
  • City/County Circulation Elements of the General Plan
  • City/County capital improvement programs
  • City/County intergovernmental review (IGR/CEQA) requests to the Department
  • RTP working papers
  • State Implementation Plan for Air Quality conformity, including Transportation Control Measures
  • Transit Studies and Master plans including Short Range Transit Plans (SRTPs) included in the RTP.
  • CEQA/NEPA documents

The Ten Year SHOPP Plan

Although the Ten-Year SHOPP Plan is not a document developed by the District Planning Offices, it serves similar functions for SHOPP projects, as do the planning documents for STIP projects. It describes how the project improvements correspond to the overall plans and improvements necessary to maintain and preserve the existing highway system. Either the District Program Branch or Maintenance should be able to provide this information.


PDPM, (Chapter 1, Section 4 – “Transportation Planning Leads to Project Development”)

PDPM, (Chapter 9 – “Project Initiation Document Links System Planning to Programming”)

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This page last updated July 20, 2010