Caltrans' Commitment


Throughout most of its history, the California Department of Transportation, or Caltrans, has been a freeway-centric agency: Agency activities focused predominantly on building and managing freeways. In 2011, Caltrans leadership sought to change this situation and established a new focus, seeking collaboration and coordination with other agencies to maximize scarce resources and, ultimately, to improve system-wide performance.

To help achieve its new multi-modal, multi-agency collaborative vision, Caltrans developed the Connected Corridors program in early 2012. The purpose of this program is to look at all opportunities to move people and goods within transportation corridors in the most efficient and safest manner possible, to ensure the greatest potential gains in operational performance across all relevant transportation systems. This includes seeking ways to improve how freeways, arterials, transit, and parking systems work together. Travel demand management strategies and agency collaboration are also actively considered. The program is a collaborative effort to research, develop, test, and deploy a new framework for corridor management in California. It aims to change the way state and local transportation agencies, as well as any additional entity having a stake in the operation of transportation system elements, manage transportation challenges for years to come.

A pivotal reorganization

As the leader of the Connected Corridors program, Caltrans has demonstrated its commitment to ICM by adopting a reorganization plan to better support corridor management in the state. The plan establishes Corridor Managers to serve as experts for individual corridors, responsible for overseeing corridor operations, coordinating with partner agencies, and improving collaborative, multi-agency planning. This corridor-focused reorganization effort by a state Department of Transportation—the first of its kind in the nation—recognizes both the importance of a systems approach to transportation management and the foundational need for inter-agency collaboration to successfully carry out ICM initiatives like Connected Corridors.


Caltrans' reorganization takes place within the larger framework of Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSM&O), on which ICM is based. As defined in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), TSM&O means “integrated strategies to optimize the performance of existing infrastructure through the implementation of multimodal and intermodal, cross-jurisdictional systems, services, and projects designed to preserve capacity and improve security, safety, and reliability of the transportation system.” Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty describes the agency's TSM&O vision in Moving Toward TSM&O, and additional guidance on TSM&O can be found on the AASHTO website at


One of the tools supporting Caltrans' TSM&O philosophy is the Capability Maturity Model (CMM). Adapted for the transportation community by the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2), CMM identifies the key process and institutional capabilities required from a transportation agency (or group of agencies) to achieve effective TSM&O. It describes an arc of improvement that moves from separate, ad hoc processes toward mature, cross-functional, integrated operations.
The application of CMM to Integrated Corridor Management is described in Advances in Strategies for Implementing Integrated Corridor Management (ICM), a Scan Team Report supported by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). The following table from the report lays out the improvement path in five levels and captures the essence of the Capability Maturity Model as applied to ICM:
Click to enlarge