Transportation Art Frequently Asked Questions

What is Transportation Art?

Answer: Transportation Art may be graphic or sculptural artwork, either freestanding or placed upon a required engineered transportation feature such as a noise barrier, retaining wall, bridge, bridge abutment, bridge rail, or slop paving, that expresses unique attributes of a community's history, resources, or character. Text is not allowed to be part of the artwork.

Who do I contact about installing art in the State right-of-way?

Answer: If you represent a city, county, tribal government or non-federally recognized tribe, or other public governmental agency, call the Caltrans District Transportation Art Coordinator for your area. Caltrans can only contract with other public agencies to install Transportation Art in the State right-of-way. Find out which city, county, tribal government or non-federally recognized tribe has jurisdiction over the area that you would like the art installed and reach out to them to see if they will sponsor your project. If you are unsure about who to contact call the Caltrans District Transportation Art Coordinator for assistance. A list of Coordinators can be found above.

How much does a Transportation Art Encroachment Permit cost?

Answer: The Encroachment Permit for Transportation Art is exempt from fees.

Where do I find the forms needed to complete an application?

Answer: Applications can be found in the link above. The Caltrans District Transportation Art Coordinator for your project area can guide you through the process.

How long does the process take?

Answer: The time it takes for review and approval of a Transportation Art Project depends on the complexity of the project and the extent of involvement required to ensure the project has been adequately reviewed by all concerned stakeholders. Caltrans will work with the applicant to expedite the process whenever possible. If you have a specific timeline be sure to let your Caltrans District Transportation Art Coordinator know. Once an application package is deemed complete, an Encroachment Permit can be issued within about 30 days.

Does the Local Agency need its own separate contract with the artist(s)?

Answer: Yes, Caltrans cannot enter into third party agreements. A contract between the local agency and the artist, called a Local Agency Agreement, is needed to allow the artist to act on behalf of the local agency to install the art and to indemnify the State and the local agency from liability. A signed Local Agency Agreement must be submitted prior to issuance of the Encroachment Permit. Please contact your District Transportation Art Coordinator for guidance on the contract language requirements prior to signing the Local Agency Agreement.

Does the artist(s) need to sign a copyright waiver?

Answer: Yes, each artist must sign a "Caltrans Assignment and Transfer of Copyright and Waiver of Moral Rights in Artwork" which allows Caltrans to be fully indemnified in the repair, relocation, or removal of the art while still ensuring that the artist has rights to profit from their artwork. A signed copyright agreement(s) must be submitted prior to issuance of the Encroachment Permit.

Does the local agency need to sign a Maintenance Agreement?

Answer: Yes, a Project Specific Maintenance Agreement between the local agency and Caltrans is needed to ensure that maintenance, restoration and removal responsibilities are clearly understood between all parties. A signed Maintenance Agreement must be submitted prior to issuance of the Encroachment Permit.

What happens if the local agency is no longer able to maintain the artwork?

>Answer: If Caltrans deems it necessary to remove the artwork for any reason, the local agency must remove the artwork at its own cost. If Caltrans must remove the artwork, the local agency will be billed for the cost. The artwork may be salvaged at the discretion of Caltrans. It is the local agency's responsibility to inform the artist(s).

I want to place art on a bridge or other structure that is proposed or being built. Can the artwork be reviewed as part of the normal project review process without this application?

Answer: Transportation Art must be reviewed independently of other projects. Artwork is provided, installed, maintained, and restored or removed by the public agency representing the area in which the art will be installed. The cost of Transportation Art is paid for by the sponsoring agency. Design modifications on new bridges and structures to accommodate future artwork planned by a local agency is considered on a project by project basis. Contact your Caltrans District Transportation Art Coordinator for guidance.

Why do I have to sign the Caltrans "Assignment and Transfer of Copyright and Waiver of Moral Rights in Artwork" Agreement?

Answer: The agreement allows Caltrans to repair, relocate, or remove the artwork if it becomes necessary, and it allows Caltrans to register the artwork with the U.S. Copyright Office so that no one other than the artist can profit from the artist's creation. It also allows Caltrans to feature the artwork on its website and in promotional materials. Although the agreement gives Caltrans full copyright and moral rights to the physical piece of artwork, the agreement also gives back to the artist full permission to make replicas of, sell images and replicas, and profit from the artwork without prior consent from Caltrans. What this means is - the artist retains all rights they normally would have if had they not signed the contract. The public agency sponsoring the project may require their own copyright waiver separate from the Caltrans agreement.

When is an Encroachment Permit required?

>An encroachment permit must be obtained for all proposed activities related to the placement of encroachments within, under, or over the State highway rights of way. Some examples of work requiring an encroachment permit are: utilities, excavations, encroachment renewals, advertisements (when allowed by statute), vegetation planting or trimming, surveys, mail boxes, driveways, installation or removal of tire chains for compensation, special events, and commercial filming activities.