March 31, 2015

In the last three years, Caltrans has taken monumental steps to develop the innovative Connected Corridors (CC) Program. With the long-term goal of implementing the program on multiple corridors across the state, Caltrans’ commitment to Connected Corridors goes all the way to the top. Malcolm Dougherty, Caltrans Director, has publicly promoted CC, the agency released a new mission and vision that emphasizes partnerships, system performance and sustainability, and most notably, Caltrans has embarked upon a reorganization of District 7’s Division of Traffic Operations to better support corridor management.

The new organizational structure currently being implemented moves the Division from functional to geographically-based units (see new org. chart below). The primary goal is to create an organization that focuses on corridor and system management and addresses the following priorities: establish accountability for corridor performance, improve collaborative, multi-agency planning for operations, expand real-time active traffic management, provide cross-functional working and training opportunities for staff, and ensure responsiveness to internal and external partners.

The plan establishes “Corridor Managers” to serve as experts for individual corridors and assigns specialty functional staff to work under each one. Additionally, the plan calls for the creation of a dedicated “System Monitoring & Evaluation” office to continuously assess the entire system’s performance and analyze potential actions to be taken to address identified deficiencies. A System Management Principal position has also been created to assist the Deputy District Director with effectively managing the new organization and these new functions.

The first Corridor Manager will be assigned to the I-210 corridor and will be responsible for overseeing operations for the entire corridor (beyond the I-210 Pilot boundaries), including coordinating with partner agencies to map the corridor’s long-term operational vision. Recognizing that the Connected Corridors I-210 Pilot will be a key transportation system management and operations (TSM&O) tool available to the I-210 Corridor Manager, it is envisioned that this Corridor Manager will work with the Connected Corridors Project Manager to support the long-term operations of Connected Corridors once implemented, along with other corridor strategies that are already in place or deployed in the future. 

This reorganizational effort is the first of its kind in the nation, and is breaking new ground in terms of the institutional, organizational and budgetary arrangements necessary to successfully implement integrated corridor management initiatives like the Connected Corridors program. “The reorganization and related process and program enhancements will bring about the necessary cultural change to embrace the new role Caltrans will need to play in partnership with other regional transportation leaders,” said Ali Zaghari, Deputy District Director for Traffic Operations. This new organizational structure is being implemented as a pilot in District 7, but discussions have already begun with other urban districts across the state about possible implementation in their respective areas. 

The reorganization is a shining example of Caltrans’ dedication to its new vision of creating “a performance-driven, transparent and accountable organization that values its people, resources, and partners; and meets new challenges through leadership, innovation, and teamwork.” The Connected Corridors I-210 Pilot and the larger CC Program should prove to be even more successful as a direct result of this reorganization and the many staff working hard at Caltrans to transform the way the agency manages transportation. We look forward to future updates of how these innovative institutional and organizational changes are positively impacting the I-210 corridor and our CC stakeholders.

For questions regarding the Connected Corridors I-210 Pilot, please contact Project Manager Sam Esquenazi at sam.esquenazi@dot.ca.gov. For questions regarding the Division of Traffic Operations reorganizational effort, please contact System Management Principal Sheik Moinuddin at shiek.moinuddin@dot.ca.gov or Deputy District Director Ali Zaghari at ali.zaghari@dot.ca.gov.