Share via:


Welcome to module-one of a three-module on-line presentation on how to conduct and document visual impact assessments for highway projects. This on-line presentation was derived from a three-day class developed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) with support from the University of California at Davis (UC Davis). This course was presented to Caltrans landscape architects and environmental generalists involved in assessing visual impacts that may result from the construction of transportation projects, particularly highway projects.

Those interested in reviewing material from the original class will find that this on-line presentation provides a comprehensive tutorial on how Caltrans assesses visual impacts that may be caused by transportation projects.

The narrative text provided below each image helps to:

  • Simulate the verbal presentation delivered by instructors in the original classroom setting;
  • Provide instructions on how to perform the exercises that are an integral part of the course; and
  • Highlight relevant points for consideration or discussions.




This three day course was developed under the guidance of sixteen Caltrans employees who formed a VIA Training Development Team. The team was composed of both landscape architects and environmental generalists— together the two groups produce, or oversee the development of, visual impact assessments and associated environmental documents for Caltrans and local agency projects. Many of the sixteen also participated in teaching the class.

The Caltrans employees listed on this slide are excellent resources for helping you understand the federal VIA process and this course. Please contact one of them if you have questions about the training or about the VIA process used by Caltrans. At a minimum, they will be able to direct you to someone who can help answer your question.

UC Davis staff helped develop the course and provided logistical support for the training sessions that were held in the department’s district offices in 2009 and 2010.

Avenue Design Partners was responsible for producing the training materials and conducting the training. Staff from HNTB provided graphic assistance to Avenue Design Partners in the development of this slide show.

Dennis Cadd, Senior Landscape Architect, with the Landscape Architecture Program in Sacramento, was the Project Manager. Bob Carr, a Landscape Architect in the San Luis Obispo Office of Caltrans, and Craig Churchward, Landscape Architect and Principal from Avenue Design Partners, were the classroom instructors. They were assisted in the classroom by the Project Manger, Dennis Cadd; the Environmental Coordinators: John Chisholm, Dale Jones, Gina Moran, and Bob Pavlik; and the Landscape Architecture Coordinators: Don Chin, Dawn Grinstain, Chris Rossmiller, and Dale Williams.




In addition to this presentation, worksheets and reference materials are also available. The worksheets are for in-class exercises that are used to enhance a student’s understanding of the concepts and techniques that are being taught as part of a particular lesson. The reference materials provide the on-line student with additional background information on state and federal policies and procedures also related to a particular lesson.

It is not necessary to download the set of supplemental materials at this time. Hypertext links to each subsequent module and specific supplemental material will be shown as Underlined Text and placed strategically throughout the presentation in each module. By clicking on the link, you will automatically open the appropriate file.



Module 1 - Policy and Process

Module 2 - Visual Character

Module 3 - Visual Quality and Visual Impacts

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

VIA Training


Module 1:
Policy and Process

Module 2:
Visual Character

Module 2A

Module 2B

Module 3:
Visual Quality and Visual Impacts

Module 3A

Mocule 3B

Module 3C


Caltrans Logo



Contact Information

Physical Address:

California Department of Transportation
Division of Design
1120 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Mailing Address:

California Department of Transportation
Division of Design
MS 28
P. O. Box 942874
Sacramento, CA 94271-0001

General Information:

Design Liaison Phone List

Division of Design Org Chart