Caltrans System Planning Library

The System Planning Process

System Planning is Caltrans long-range (20-25 years) transportation planning process to evaluate current & future operating conditions & deficiencies on the State Highway System (CA Gov. Code 65086). The system planning process is made up of four documents, the District System Management Plan (DSMP), the Transportation Concept Report (TCR), the Corridor System Management Plan (CSMP), and the DSMP Project List. See our System Planning Flowchart (PDF).

System Planning FAQs

System Planning facilitates the efficient, economical, and intermodal movement of people, goods, and information. System planning fulfills Caltrans’ statutory responsibility as owner/operator of the state highway system by: 1. serving as Caltrans’ principal mechanism for long range transportation planning in both rural and urbanized areas, and 2. providing information for examining and analyzing the larger transportation system in the broader context of statewide mobility and intermodal connectivity.

System planning promotes the continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive statewide transportation planning process as outlined in 23 U.S.C. §135 and 23 CFR §450. System Planning also supports California Government Code §65086, which calls for “long-term state highway system planning to identify future highway improvements.” Documents created from the Office of System Planning include the CSMP, TCR, TSDP, DSMP, and ITSP, all of which work together to envision a long range plan for routes on the State Highway System.

Corridor System Management Plan

A Corridor System Management Plan (CSMP) is used to outline the multi-jurisdictional and multi-modal management of a corridor experiencing delay due to congestion. A CSMP results in a listing and phasing plan of recommended operational improvements, Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) strategies, and system expansion projects to preserve or improve performance measures within the corridor. CSMPs are required for all projects receiving Proposition 1B (2006) Corridor Mobility Improvement Account (CMIA) funding.

Transportation Concept Report

Each Caltrans district creates a Transportation Concept Report (TCR) for each State route within that district, which provides a long term (20 years or more) plan for that route. A TCR identifies current operating conditions, future deficiencies, a target level of service (LOS) for each segment in that route, and improvements needed to sustain or reach those targets.

Transportation System Development Program

A district Transportation System Development Program (TSDP) is a long range (20 year) list of planned and programmed transportation projects that could affect the performance of the State Highway System. The TDSP organizes projects into six distinct categories, and then prioritizes them from a Caltrans perspective for consideration in future programming cycles.

District System Management Plan

The District System Management Plan (DSMP) is a long range (20 year) strategic and policy planning document that presents the long range goals, policies and programs the district intends to follow in maintaining, managing, and developing the transportation system. It serves as a resource for informing federal, state, regional and local agencies, and the public and private sector of the plans the district intends to follow in its partnership role with local and regional agencies.

Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan

The Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan (ITSP) is used to lay out a recommended course of actions and priority funding considerations for non-urban interregional “Focus Routes” within California over a 20-year planning period to improve the interregional movement of people and goods. This plan was required by the California Transportation Commission (CTC) in 1998 to guide the investment priorities for the Interregional Transportation Improvement Program (ITIP) and is intended to be updated periodically.

What is a CSMP?

A CSMP (Corridor System Management Plan) is a comprehensive, integrated management plan for increasing transportation options, decreasing congestion, and improving travel times in a transportation corridor. A CSMP includes all travel modes in a defined corridor -- highways and freeways, parallel and connecting roadways, public transit (bus, bus rapid transit, light rail, intercity rail) and bikeways, along with intelligent transportation technologies (which include ramp metering, coordinated traffic signals, changeable message signs for traveler information, incident management, bus/carpool lanes and carpool/vanpool programs, and transit strategies). A CSMP incorporates both capital and operational improvements.

Although individual districts are ultimately responsible for completing each CSMP, these plans are developed and implemented in partnership with regional and local transportation agencies and other partners.

CSMPs are the wave of the future! Caltrans plans to develop CSMPs in all major urban corridors in the state, to improve mobility and optimize the use of taxpayer dollars.


Why is a CSMP important?

Californians recognized the critical need to reduce congestion on our vital travel corridors when they approved new transportation
funding through the Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality and Port Security Bond Act, known as Proposition 1B, in November 2006. Along with new funding came the responsibility to ensure that money is used efficiently and produces measurable results. CSMPs integrate capital improvements, traffic and transit management strategies and planning toward one common goal: keep people and goods moving safely and efficiently through a corridor. A corridor must have a CSMP to be eligible to receive funds from the Proposition 1B-funded Corridor Mobility Improvement Account and the Highway 99 Bond Programs.

How does a CSMP relate to other plans?

Caltrans is working together with cities, counties, regional transportation planning agencies, transit operators, bicycle groups, and
others to develop CSMPs and integrate the recommendations into all relevant transportation planning processes. A CSMP does not replace regional or local transportation plans but is intended to provide a strategy for integration and coordination, so that agencies can implement actions for more efficient corridor operations.

Who approves and implements a CSMP?

CSMPs are not officially approved by any agency, but are presented to the California Transportation Commission for information and provided to regional and local agencies for integration of the recommendations into their own plans and funding programs. It will be the responsibility of Caltrans, the regional agencies, and local cities and counties to implement the recommendations in each CSMP.

When will the CSMPs be completed?

The goal is to finish all the forty five first-generation CSMPs statewide by October 2010. The CSMPs will be continually updated thereafter. As of June 2009, about half of these CSMPs are complete and others are in progress. All the completed documents and the works in progress can be downloaded from this website.

How will a CSMP affect my commute?

Because the focus of a CSMP is to use proven methods to streamline the operations of a corridor and monitor the effectiveness of these methods, over time commuters should notice real improvements in travel times as well as an increase in travel mode choices (such as public transit, carpool/bus lanes, and bicycling).

The CSMP Development Process

CSMPs integrate and coordinate all travel modes in a corridor including highways, parallel and connecting roadways, public transit
and bikeways - with intelligent transportation systems and transit strategies.

CSMPs Identify Transportation Improvement Funding Needs

In major travel corridors, Caltrans and its partners will analyze the causes of and develop solutions for traffic congestion. Each Corridor
System Management Plan will entail six steps:

  1. Define the corridor limits and transportation network to be managed and identify and ensure the involvement of stakeholders in
    the project development team.
  2. Identify performance measures and summarize existing travel conditions along the corridor.
  3. Inventory existing system management practices along the corridor.
  4. Identify the key corridor mobility challenges.
  5. Prepare a corridor management strategy, including proposed detection and monitoring strategies, needed capital improvement
    projects, and the roles and responsibilities of each jurisdiction and agency in the daily and long-term corridor management process.
  6. Implement and update the CSMP.

Environmental Consideration in State and System Planning

Learn about how our planning process incorporates environmental considerations with our Environmental Considerations within State and System Planning Flowchart (PDF).