Transportation Art Frequently Asked Questions

What is Transportation Art?

Answer: Transportation Art is a program started by Caltrans in 1977 to assist local communities and public government agencies in placing art and other aesthetic treatment on state-owned facilities and within state-owned right of way. The proposed art includes 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 slope 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, incorporated town, tribal government, or non-federally recognized tribe, contact 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.

If you are an artist, 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.

How much does a Transportation Art Encroachment Permit cost?

Answer: The Encroachment Permit for Transportation Art for a local government agency is exempt from fees. However, the artist or any subcontractor must pay a minor fee for a 'double permit' to enter State right of way to perform work on the proposed art project. Contact the District Encroachment Permits Office for $ amount.

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

Answer: Applications for transportation art and community identification can be found in the link for Transportation Art Request and Transportation Art Proposal. The Caltrans District Transportation Art Coordinator for your project area can guide you through the process.

How long does the review and approval process take?

Answer: The time it takes for review and approval of a Transportation Art Project depends on the complexity of the proposed 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 has been deemed complete and approved, 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 need to sign a copyright contract?

Answer: Yes, each artist must sign a Caltrans Copyright License and Waiver of Moral Rights in Artwork (CLAW) agreement 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 CLAW must be submitted prior to issuance of the Encroachment Permit.

Does the local agency need to sign a Maintenance Agreement?

Answer: Yes, a Transportation Art Maintenance Agreement (TAMA) between the local agency and Caltrans is needed to ensure that maintenance, restoration, and removal responsibilities are clearly understood between all parties. A signed TAMA 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) of any modification or removal of the artwork.

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.

When is an Encroachment Permit required?

Answer: An encroachment permit must be obtained for all proposed activities related to the placement of any encroachments within, under, or over the State highway rights of way by any non-Departmental personnel. This includes transportation art, community identification and gateway monuments.