California Department of Transportation

Right of Way Engineering &
Locally Funded Projects Guidelines

State of California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency Department of Transportation
District 4 - Division of Right of Way - Office of Right of Way Engineering, Surveys and Mapping Services

Rev - August 15, 2012

Mission Statement

Local Public Agency Coordination Branch

The Local Public Agency Coordination (LPAC) Branch is within the California Department of Transportation, District 4, Division of Right of Way, Office of Right of Way Engineering, Surveys and Mapping Services. LPAC is tasked primarily with oversight of the work performed by Transit Authorities, Local Agencies, and their surveying/mapping consultants (collectively referred to as "TAs") in the preparation and delivery of Right of Way Engineering documents.

Within the framework of oversight, the LPAC Branch has three specific functions:
  1. To provide Quality Assurance by monitoring and reviewing the work of the TAs for conformity to Caltrans procedures and standards, and for compliance with the TA's Quality Assurance/Quality Control program;
  2. To assist TAs in the appropriate delivery of various right of way mapping products and real property transfer instruments in a form acceptable to the State;
  3. To review the various right of way engineering documents prepared by the TA and/or its consultant for adequacy in transferring and documenting transfers of real property rights to and from the State.

These three functions include, but are not limited to, the following concepts.

Quality Assurance

  1. Each consultant is expected to have a written, functioning Quality Assurance / Quality Control (QA/QC) program specific to the development of Right of Way Engineering documents. At the beginning of each project, consultants will be asked to provide a copy of their QA/QC program. If a QA/QC program does not exist, or if the QA/QC program is not acceptable, the consultant will use the one developed by LPAC.
  2. The Consultant PLS/RCE in charge is the final authority, and has the responsibility, as to the professional content of the right of way documents. However, LPAC is the final authority as to the acceptability of the right of way documents for inclusion in State files. This slightly modified quotation, taken from "Caltrans District 12 R/W EngineeringRequirements for the Preparation of Documents and Maps" dated January, 2007, illustrates the expected relationship between the consultant and LPAC. The consultant is expected to provide documents that have been thoroughly checked and are free of significant technical errors. LPAC staff should not be considered "map checkers". LPAC staff will not function as "map checkers".
  3. Certain steps are necessary for the proper preparation of Right of Way Engineering documents. LPAC verifies that the work is being performed in a logical and organized manner by requiring that most submittals include supplementary material. LPAC may or may not review the supplemental material in detail. The fact that the information has been assembled and organized in a logical manner is generally a sufficient indication that the work is being performed in accordance with State standards.

TA Assistance

  1. LPAC encourages an atmosphere of teamwork and cooperation by maintaining a professional and courteous demeanor; by promptly responding to telephone and e-mail messages; by setting, communicating, and honoring deadlines; by following through on commitments; and by using a positive, problem-solving approach.
  2. LPAC staff is generally available to assist the TAs by answering questions; by providing examples, templates, and forms; by facilitating communication (primarily with other Caltrans branches); and by keeping accurate and complete records of conversations, submittals, transmittals, and meetings.
  3. LPAC staff is also available to teach, mentor, and interpret the various methods, standards, and requirements for the production of Right of Way Engineering documents.
  4. LPAC's participation in Project Development Team (PDT) meetings serves five purposes: Functionally, the Project Control Report is reviewed by the District 4 Office of Field Surveys and New Technologies (Surveys) and the ABC submittal is reviewed by the Headquarters Office of Photogrammetry (OoP). LPAC is available to help determine the appropriate contact in each of these groups. However, the consultant is responsible for obtaining the necessary approvals. LPAC will begin review of the Base Map after the approved prerequisites are received.
  5. LPAC's participation in Project Development Team (PDT) meetings serves five purposes:
    1. to report on the status of various submittals and reviews;
    2. to provide reminders to the rest of the team of up-coming essential requirements;
    3. to answer questions regarding requirements and processes,
    4. to keep abreast of design changes that might affect Right of Way Engineering documents; and
    5. to stay informed of schedule revisions.
  6. The Transit Authority and/or Local Agency is sent a copy of the results of all reviews.


  1. The main goal is the delivery of clear title to all additions to the State right of way, a comprehensive Right of Way Record Map as an index of project property transfers, and a Record of Survey representing the location of the new right of way. This paraphrase, taken from Tim Cronin's "Right of Way Engineering & Locally Funded Projects", defines the essential core purpose of Right of Way Engineering. Obviously, other processes and documents are needed, including prerequisites such as the Appraisal Map and associated documents such as CCUAs, JUAs, and relinquishments. LPAC has the responsibility to verify the adequacy of documents used to transfer and document title.
  2. A certain amount of detailed checking is required in order to verify the adequacy of the title documents discussed in the previous paragraph. The results of the detailed checking are for internal LPAC use only.