Resource Conservation


The Resource Conservation Program supports the Department's Stewardship Goal to preserve and enhance California's resources and assets by:

  • Providing support to the districts through partnerships with the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).
  • Monitoring and supporting conservation efforts through information-sharing on the use of recovered materials and the incorporation of recycled content products into the Department's transportation projects.

The Department has established that there are many applications where re-purposed materials provide added benefit to the Department's projects.

Resource Conservation Programs

Sustainable Highways - INVEST

Caltrans is committed to preserve and enhance California's resources and assets by minimizing the environmental impacts of our highway construction and maintenance projects. Caltrans can achieve this goal by building and maintaining a sustainable highway system.

The goal of sustainability can be described with the triple bottom line, which includes giving consideration to three primary principles:

  • Social
  • Environmental
  • Economic

A sustainable highway should satisfy the lifecycle functional requirements of society development and economic growth while striving to enhance the natural environment and reduce consumption of natural resources. The sustainability characteristics of a highway or roadway project should be assessed and considered from implementation throughout its lifecycle, from conception through construction, operations and maintenance.

A sustainable highway initiative has been established to assist State and local agencies to document and improve the sustainability of our roadways. The sustainable highways initiative supports the various activities needed to facilitate balanced decision-making among environmental, economic and social values (which serve as the triple bottom line of sustainability).

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has developed a tool that identifies characteristics of sustainable highways and provides information and techniques to help agencies and organizations integrate sustainability best practices into highways and other roadway projects. This practical web-bsed collection of best practices is called the "Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (INVEST). To learn more or to use the INVEST application on your project, please visit the FHWA Sustainable Highway INVEST Webinar with FHWA/Oct 2013 INVEST/Self Assessment Tool for Transportation Sustainability.

Fleet Greening

The Caltrans Fleet Greening Program began in August 2000 as a way to reduce emissions from the Caltrans fleet of vehicles and set an example for the use of emerging clean air technologies. Today the Director's policy continues to promote an efficient fleet mix and use of efficient, low emission vehicles to lower Caltrans' use of petroleum as well as reduce emissions of criteria air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

Through a combination of regulation compliance, state purchasing policies, and innovative deliverables, Caltrans has implemented use of the following types of vehicles:

  • Hybrid Passenger Vehicles
  • Solar-Powered Equipment
  • Propane-Fueled Vehicles
  • Low Dust Street Sweepers
  • Diesel Particulate Filters on Heavy-Duty Diesel-Powered Vehicles
  • Hydrogen Vehicles
  • E-85 Fuel Ethanol Demonstration Project

Climate Change

The Caltrans Climate Change initiative manages and coordinates the Department's efforts in response to Assembly Bill (AB) 32: Global Warming Solution Act of 2006, Climate Action Team, Governor's Executive Orders, Administrative policies and related legislative rulings. It provides guidance and consultative services to internal programs and external agencies and maintains an education program on climate change and related energy, environmental, financial and economic issues.



Updated: September 30, 2016