California Department of Transportation
 

Workgroup 4 – Innovation, Design Flexibility and Risk Management

  • Purpose and Goal
    • This workgroup will focus its efforts primarily on recommendation set #5 in the SSTI report: “Reform critical guidance documents and standard operating procedures.” However, more than simply focusing on which design manuals or guidance documents should be revised, the workgroup will focus more broadly on issues surrounding liability, risk, design flexibility, and challenges to increased local autonomy that to date have led many to see the department as “risk averse” and having a “culture of fear.”
      • The workgroup – designers, lawyers, engineers, planners, and others – will consider SSTI recommendations and other ideas to increase innovation, design flexibility and local or district autonomy for decision-making within the department.  The workgroup will recommend actions that help transform the department into a more nimble, adaptable, and responsive organization, creatively addressing new goals and policy demands, by revising its risk assessment and encouraging innovation.
  • Membership
    • Steering Committee
      • Kate White, CalSTA Deputy Secretary for Environmental Policy and Housing Coordination (Co-lead)
      • Karla Sutliff, Caltrans Deputy Director Project Delivery/Chief Engineer(Co-lead)
      • Jeanne Scherer, Caltrans Legal Chief Deputy
      • Bijan Sartipi, Caltrans District 4 Director
      • AJ Jimenez, CalSTA Deputy General Counsel
      • Marlin Feenstra, representative from the Self Help Counties Coalition
      • Jeff Holm, Federal Highway Administration
    • Team Leads
      • Tim Craggs, Caltrans Chief, Division of Design - State Highway System guidance and procedures.
      • Sean Nozzari, Caltrans Acting Chief, Division of Traffic Operations - Traffic control devices.
      • Rhui Zhang, Caltrans Division Chief, Local Assistance – Off-system guidance and procedures.
      • Coco Briseno, Caltrans Chief, Division of Research, Innovation, and System Information.
    • Resources:  Michelle Tucker, Caltrans Chief, Enterprise Risk Management
    • Advisors:  Eric Sunquist, SSTI, Luisa Paiewonski, USDOT, Gary Toth, New Jersey DOT
  • SSTI Recommendations to be Addressed
    • 5.1 Caltrans should update the design and traffic control device manuals (Highway Design Manual and CA MUTCD), and other guidance documents as necessary, to implement the new strategic plan and vision.
    • 5.2 Caltrans should relinquish oversight of bike facilities on locally owned streets.  [Note: while the Department fully supports this concept, this recommendation will require a change to State law such that Caltrans is not required to set standards for bicycle facilities on locally owned streets.]
    • 5.3 Caltrans should give designers the option of using NACTO urban design standards in metro areas.
    • 5.4 Caltrans should generally rethink its approach to facilities in metro areas and town centers.
    • 5.5 Caltrans should build more flexibility into its processes.
    • 5.7 Caltrans and CalSTA should revisit legal guidance on the risk of innovative design practices.
    • 9.8 Caltrans must provide room for innovative actions that further state and department goals.
    • 10.2 Caltrans should benchmark practice against best practices elsewhere.   [Note: Page 65 of the SSTI report, the best practices discussion focuses on the INVEST tool only.  This working group seeks all forms of best practices for department-wide application.]
    • 10.3 Caltrans should work to better integrate its research program with improved practice.  [Note:  This recommendation did not appear in the June13, 2014 “Caltrans Improvement Project” memo from Secretary Brian Kelly.  Workgroup 4 is including this recommendation as part of our workgroup.]
    • 10.4 Caltrans’ effort to develop an enterprise risk management system should continue and be viewed as a critically important resources for performance-based decision making.  [Note:  This recommendation as originally written in the SSTI report focuses on a global application of Enterprise Risk Management with an emphasis on Human Resources.  This workgroup is focusing more specifically on effective decision making, particularly in design innovations.]
  • Workgroup 1 – Performance Management and Human Resources
  • Workgroup 2 – Smart Investment and Resource Alignment
  • Workgroup 3 – Strategic Partnerships
  • Workgroup 4 – Innovation, Design Flexibility and Risk Management
  • Workgroup 5 - Communication