Worker Safety

Caltrans landscape design guidance

Worker Safety

Improved maintenance worker safety results from roadside design techniques that eliminate or locate frequently accessed maintenance facilities in areas away from traffic, or in areas protected by guardrails or barriers.


Effective management of the roadside improves worker safety and reduces ongoing maintenance efforts and cost.  Landscape architects plan placement of roadside features to eliminate or reduce the need for recurring maintenance activities such as vegetation control, herbicide application, pruning, mowing, and graffiti removal to reduce maintenance worker exposure to traffic.


On Route 105 in Inglewood, maintenance worker exposure to traffic is reduced by locating irrigation equipment near a gate, providing access from a local street rather than the highway.


Roadside Management

Caltrans Roadside Managment Toolbox provides guidance on selecting from a wide range of roadside managment tools, including:

  • Placing facilities that require recurring maintenance such as traffic control boxes, backflow preventers, or stormwater treatment devices at safe locations outside the clear recovery zone.
  • Providing safe maintenance worker access such as gates in the right of way fence, access roads, or maintenance vehicle pullouts for facilities that require recurring maintenance.
  • Placing vegetation control such as paving or fiber weed mats under guard rails.
  • Paving unpaved narrow strips that remain in front of concrete barriers or noise barriers to eliminate the need for weed abatement and facilitate automated litter removal.
  • Eliminating the need for pruning by placing plants where they will not encroach upon sight distances or shoulders.
  • Designing noise barriers with a textured aesthetic treatments or planting them with vines to discourage graffiti.
  • Placing contrasting surface treatment such as colored and textured concrete in the area beyond the gore instead of installing planting.



Roadside facilities are best placed where workers can 
access them without being exposed to traffic.


Roadside management considers the full life-cycle cost of transportation improvements, including the long-term cost of maintenance.  Design alternatives with the lowest initial construction cost may not be the best solution if those approaches require high recurring maintenance costs.

Additional Guidance and Tools

To learn more about Worker Safety and Roadside Management, see:

Updated: Dec 14, 2016