Office of Traffic Operations Research (TOR)

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Email Greg Larson
(916) 651-5720

Our team focuses on performing research and managing research projects that benefit the Divisions of Traffic Operations, Rail and Mass Transportation, and Design. Our emphasis includes supporting Caltrans strategic goals by upholding mandates, performing innovative and cross-cutting research, and promoting and advancing transportation system management. We oversee a variety of projects for customers and stakeholders from public transportation and modal research and intelligent transportation systems to emergency/incident response research and connected vehicle research.

What We Do

  • Intelligent Transportation Systems Development
  • Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) Research
  • Cooperative Intersection Collision Avoidance Systems (CICAS)
  • Research involving Advanced Transportation Management Systems(ATMS)
  • Web Appication and Page Development
  • Traffic Engineering Research and Rural Transportaion Research
  • Field Element Research Development

TOR Branches


Balwinder Tarlok, Chief
Email: balwinder.tarlok@dot.ca.gov

Our branch's responsibilities includes managing public transportation and modal research related to solving passenger transportation problems that affect the safety, accessibility, convenience, connectivity, user friendliness and affordability of the State's public transportation systems.

Bus Transit Research Program
Assist in the evaluation, development, demonstration, and deployment of new technologies and products for Bus Transit Research. Working closely with our partners, we facilitate the sharing of knowledge and innovation in effort to increase the speed, efficiency, and reliability of high-capacity bus service throughout California.

Rail Research Program
Assist and evaluate research and other technical activities in a variety of rail subject areas, including: design, construction, maintenance, operations, safety, security, policy, planning, human resources, and administration.

Aviation Research Program
Assist and evaluate research projects related to the development of a safe, efficient, dependable, and environmentally compatible air transportation system.

Travel Behavior/Real Time Traveler Information
Improve delivery of real-time traveler information to the public via web and mobile phone for better planning and operation of the State’s transportation network.

Intermodal Connectivity
Assist in the evaluation, development, demonstration, and deployment of new technologies and products for Intermodal Connectivity Research.

Design Research Program
Assist and evaluate research and other technical activities in a variety of design subject areas.


Joel Retanan, Chief
Email: joel.retanan@dot.ca.gov

Our team manages safety-related research projects, which include bicycle-, pedestrian-, and truck-related projects; provides technical outreach and technical support to our customers and partners, including validation of vehicle detection systems; develops, administers, and manages DRISI websites; and administers and manages databases, such as the Research Program Management Database (RPMD) and National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Database.

Strategies for Improving Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
Identify the potential for reducing pedestrian and bicyclist injury and generally increasing pedestrian and bicyclist mobility at the corridor level and roundabout locations.

Truck Platooning Partial Automation and Smart Parking
Examine the potential to improve freight operations and parking, which have major impacts on safety, mobility, facilities preservation, and the environment.

Vehicle Detection Systems Validation and Diagnosis
Validate and diagnose various existing and newly installed vehicle detection systems, which are often used for transportation management and traffic control.

Research Program Management Database (RPMD) Administration, Maintenance, and Enhancements
Provide administration, maintenance, and enhancements to the database that is used by DRISI in managing its research projects.


Pete Hansra, Chief
Email: pete.hansra@dot.ca.gov

Our primary responsibilities include facilitating research contracts in the corridor management, connected vehicle, freeway operations, and traffic incident management areas. Some of the secondary duties performed under this branch are: implementing innovative solutions to transportation challenges, evaluating new technologies, participating in various technology forums, and performing technical analysis of various legislative bills.

Corridor Management Research Program
Assist in the evaluation, development, demonstration, and deployment of new technologies and products in Transportation research. Through the Corridor Management Research Program, we solve traffic safety and mobility problems through development and deployment of aggressive and proactive integration and management of major transportation corridors.

Connected Vehicle Research Program
Evaluate, develop, deploy, and demonstrate test-beds and applications for connected vehicle technology. The connected vehicle program is focused on solving traffic safety and mobility problems through developing connected vehicle applications for infrastructure, vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Freeway Operations Research
Assist in the evaluation, development, demonstration, and deployment of new Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technologies and products for freeway operations research. The Freeway Operations Research program is focused on safely and efficiently solving freeway traffic mobility problems through the development and deployment of innovative and proactive management tools that can be used on daily freeway operations..


  • ITS Special Projects Branch

    Sean Campbell, Senior Transportation Engineer, Electrical (Specialist)
    Email: sean.campbell@dot.ca.gov

    Responsibilities include managing in-house and external rural research projects, as well as providing technical support to Caltrans rural districts.

    Rural Program Steering Committee
    Provides technical leadership by structuring a research agenda and selecting research projects within the rural program area that most effectively supports Caltrans’ mission, vision and goals.

    Western States Rural Transportation Consortium Coordination
    Facilitates and enhances safe, seamless travel throughout the western United States by promoting innovative partnerships, technologies and educational activities. Provides a collaborative mechanism to leverage research activities in a coordinated manner to respond to rural transportation issues among western states related to technology, operations and safety. http://westernstates.org/

    Western States Rural Transportation Technology Implementers Forum Coordination
    Sharing technical information on best practices and field deployment experience using Intelligent Transportation Systems in rural environments. http://www.westernstatesforum.com//

    Department Traveler Information Data Deployment
    Coordinates and maintains traveler information data website for Caltrans known as the Commercial Wholesale Website Portal Version 2. Current, real time data sets include CCTV images, Changeable Message Signs message data, Lane Closure System data, Roadside Weather Information Systems data and Chain Control data. http://www.dot.ca.gov/cwwp2/

  • ITS Standards Branch

    Gloria Gwynne, Senior Transportation Engineer, Electrical (Specialist)
    Email: gloria.gwynn@dot.ca.gov

    Our responsibilities include providing public sector traffic engineering expertice, technical ITS and general traffic engineering expertise, and contract management services and guidance and for landscape and erosion control.

    DSRC
    Provide public sector traffic engineering expertise to standards development organizations that produce connected vehicle/dedicated short range communication (DSRC) standards.

    Traffic Engineering Research
    Provide technical expertise on ITS and general traffic engineering to the Department and partners. Perform research on traffic engineering topics with an eye to developing standards that can be reused.

    Landscape and Erosion Control
    Provide guidance and contract management services to the Landscape and Erosion Control TAP for development and carrying out research program.

  • Traffic Detection and Signal Operations Branch

    John Slonaker, Senior Transporation Engineer, Electrical (Specialist)
    Email: john.slonaker@dot.ca.gov

    Responsibilities include managing research projects, both in house and in partnership with academia, related to traffic detection technology evaluation and development, innovations in traffic signal operations strategies, and machine vision based traffic incidents detection.

    Traffic Detection Technology
    Evaluate commercial and experimental traffic detection devices to compare accuracy, range and resolution; and to determine appropriateness of various technologies for different detection scenarios.

    Traffic Signal Operation
    Compare the efficiency of signalized arterial coordination schemes in terms of platoon throughput, delay time and number of stops; and develop algorithms to maximize efficiency using standard detection configurations.

    Video Incident Detection
    Develop machine vision systems that automatically recognize certain types of incidents and other traffic behavior in order to alert Traffic Management Center operators for incident management and to collect information for safety and incident mitigation planning.

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