American with Disabilities Act Settlement
A $1.1 billion settlement between disability rights groups and Caltrans was one of the largest class actions ever in California. The department agreed to a financial commitment of $1.1 billion over the next 30 years with annual allocations coming from federal and state transportation funding. The settlement includes a plan to improve access to 2,500 miles of sidewalks and park & ride facilities.
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Surplus Property Disposal
Beginning in July 2006, Caltrans evaluated its entire real property portfolio, determining which properties were no longer required for transportation purposes, and embarked on a multiyear effort to dispose of those surplus properties. Since July 2006, Caltrans has been able to dispose of 1,680 surplus properties generating revenue of almost $147 million.
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Small Business Outreach
In July 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill X4 21. This bill requires state departments to award state-funded contracts with a Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise (DVBE) goal to the lowest responsible bidder meeting the DVBE contract goal. Caltrans is committed to aiding small and disadvantaged business to be successful in obtaining state contracts. To that end, several programs have been developed to provide assistance:
- Bonding Program. Caltrans and the U.S. Small Business Administration entered into a memorandum of understanding to work cooperatively to provide a Surety Bond Assistance Program to promote increased small business participation in Caltrans state highway and transit projects. The Surety Bond Assistance Program helps eligible small businesses obtain (or increase current capacity) of bid, performance and payment bonds by providing technical assistance in the application process.
- Mentor/Protégé and CalMentor Programs. Caltrans, in partnership with the Association of General Contractors of California and the American Council of Engineering Companies, has established a Mentor/Protégé Program. The goal of the program is to increase the number of companies that are able to successfully bid and compete for Caltrans transportation improvement and public works projects by matching a large construction company (mentor) with a smaller construction company (protégé). The Mentor/Protégé Program applies to the construction industry, and the CalMentor Program, which includes mentoring opportunities for architectural and engineering firms, is active in all Caltrans districts.
The program’s primary focus is to assist Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) to overcome barriers that typically inhibit or restrict the successes of minority- and women-owned businesses. The program is designed to produce a broad base of high-quality, competitive and profitable companies.
- Business Exchange. Caltrans continues to host business exchanges (formerly known as procurement fairs) statewide. In keeping with our commitment to small business, DBE and DVBE communities, the Business Exchange provides a forum in which vendors have the opportunity to meet state CalCard buyers and make purchases across the table. Networking with Caltrans staff and contract officials is an essential component of the Business Exchange that helps build relationships.
- DBE/Supportive Services. Through a contract between Caltrans and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, DBE supportive services are provided through 10 Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) statewide. The services consist of no-cost, individual one-on-one counseling and technical assistance training designed to improve technical knowledge, business acumen and construction proposal-related skills, and business outreach and communication to firms interested in working on Caltrans highway construction projects.
Caltrans met and exceeded the small business 25 percent goal and the DVBE 3 percent goal, for state fiscal years 2008-09 and 2009-10. More than $800 million was awarded to small businesses and DVBEs in two years, thus stimulating the economy. For the second time in a row, Caltrans received the “Diversity Employer of Year” from the Diverse Engineering Company Magazine and Conference of Minority Transportation Officials in Washington, D.C.
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Building the Future of Transportation Technology Today
Over the last fiscal year, Caltrans has developed a number of innovative solutions and technologies designed to improve transportation in the Golden State. Working with our partners, the department searches for new and better ways to deliver projects, quickly respond to emergencies, and develop new materials and construction techniques that lead to more effective management of public services, resources, and infrastructure. Some of our most interesting and promising advances include:
- ShakeCast. This Web-based system is used by Caltrans to rapidly respond after an earthquake when the department needs to quickly assess the condition of its bridges and highways. ShakeCast is critical to ensuring public safety, guiding emergency vehicles, and reestablishing critical lifelines on quake-damaged structures and roadways. This application automatically retrieves and analyzes data on earthquake shaking in relation to individual bridge performance information. Caltrans uses this data to prioritize bridge inspections and assist emergency responders. Deployed in June 2008, ShakeCast operates around the clock, seven days-a-week.
The Responder System. This communication tool is used by emergency personnel who must quickly and accurately describe an incident on the state highway system and request help and equipment needed to clear the roadway. The system allows responders, such as Caltrans maintenance staff, to collect, track and share incident information quickly and easily with a transportation management center (TMC) and other responders. Using GPS readings, the system automatically downloads local weather data, retrieves maps and aerial photos, and pinpoints a responder's location on the maps. It also automatically composes and sends messages to TMC operators. This system is especially valuable during major incidents, such as landslides, floods, and earthquakes in remote areas where voice communication is often limited and coverage is sparse, and when working with inexperienced responders. More information is available at: http://www.westerntransportationinstitute.org/research/systems/
- Mobile Terrestrial Laser Scanning/Lean Project Delivery. This program reduces costs and improves the quality of project delivery. The Mobile Terrestrial Laser Scanning (MTLS) device collects highway data while traveling at highway speeds, which is safer for staff and allows for more efficient emergency responses. Caltrans is also developing Lean Project Delivery, a new way to plan, design and build transportation facilities more efficiently. Combined with mobile scanning, Lean Project Delivery promises to reduce the length and cost of construction.
Rapid Rehab. Caltrans uses this scheduling and traffic analysis software tool to help planners and designers select effective and economical pavement rehabilitation strategies. For example, it can estimate how long highway construction will take, and consider alternate strategies for pavement design, lane-closures, and contractor's logistics. The bottom line: Rapid Rehab has been used on Caltrans projects since 2000, and has saved more than $20 million in construction costs.
The iCone. The iCone is a moveable field device, which resembles a typical traffic cone, that allows Caltrans traffic managers and maintenance supervisors to receive real-time traffic information. For example, iCones at construction, maintenance, or incident sites can provide real-time traffic information. The information is transmitted wirelessly and displayed on a map using a Web-based browser. The iCone was successfully field-tested on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the Interstate 680/Highway 24 Interchange and Highway 1 projects.
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