Wireless Licensing Program

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), in an effort to meet the communications needs of the traveling public and to generate revenue for improvement of the transportation system issues licenses to telecommunications providers. The Telecommunications (Wireless) Licensing Program, administered by the Division of Right of Way, processes requests to place wireless facilities (cell towers and antenna) within freeway right of way. Other suitable locations covered under this program include Roadside Rest Areas, Park and Ride Lots, Maintenance Stations, Storage Areas and Caltrans buildings.

Consideration for preserving the operational safety as well as the functional and aesthetic qualities of the freeway system are of paramount importance. If these issues can be addressed to the satisfaction of Caltrans' District Airspace Review Committee (DARC) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), wireless carriers, with restrictions, are allowed to place their facilities within freeway right of way. Compensation to the State is determined by a pricing matrix found in the Telecommunications (Wireless) Licensing Program's Licensing Process and Siting Guidelines. The pricing matrix takes into account location, number of antenna, size of the equipment and shelter area in arriving at compensation to the State.

The Wireless Licensing Program is currently limited to telecommunications facilities placed within freeway and access controlled highway right of way. Wireless facilities placed within conventional highway right of way are not subject to this program and are processed directly through the Encroachment Permit process at minimal cost to the applicant. All wireless facilities, whether located in freeway or conventional highway right of way, are issued an Encroachment Permit upon approval.

The program, recently renewed July 1, 2002, facilitates the placement of the wireless communications facilities of companies licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate in all or some counties in the State of California as Cellular and/or Personal Communication Service (PCS) providers.

Should you have any questions, please contact a District Wireless Coordinator (Right of Way Agent). If you need assistance contacting your local Wireless Coordinator, please contact Right of Way (Coordinators) for current liaison assignments.  For information regarding the Wireless Licensing Program Guidebook, please contact Right of Way (Guidebook)