California Department of Transportation

Highway Design Manual

What's New!

The Highway Design Manual (HDM) has been revised with the 6th Edition HDM Change 12/16/16.  Changes include FHWA's revision from 13 to 10 controlling criteria for design as well as revised superelevation, comfort speed, and horizontal curvature guidance from the AASHTO publication, "A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets" (2011). Also included is revised guidance related to airway-highway clearances, bridge barriers and railings, roundabouts, ramp metering, and water and resource conservation. Clarifications were included related to curb ramps and necessary highway features within the clear recovery zone as well as errata that reflect current nomenclature.

Design Information Bulletins (DIB's) and Design Memos may supersede this Manual

Manual Change Transmittals and Erratas

Bikeway Research, Experimentation, Testing, Evaluation, or Verification Related to Design Criteria

Other Useful Links

How can I get a copy of the HDM?

The latest English Version of the Highway Design Manual (HDM) is available on-line below in two formats.

  1. The first format available is a PDF file of the complete manual which will allow you to perform word searches of the complete manual and/or allow you to download or print the complete HDM cover to cover all at one time.
  2. A second format available in Metric, PDF Metric complete manual also allows you to perform word searches of the complete manual in Metric units.

Please note, implementation of the current version of the 6th Edition HDM available below shall be applied to on-going projects in accordance with HDM Index 82.5, unless otherwise noted on the Manual Change Transmittal memo or by separate Design Memo.

No matter which of the formats is used to download and/or print, if the HDM Holder chooses to do so, the Holder is responsible for keeping their electronic and/or paper copy up to date and current. For this reason, HDM Holders are encouraged to use the on-line versions of the HDM for the most current design guidance.

The HDM is available for purchase through the Caltrans Publication Unit. If this option is chosen, the HDM Holder and not the Publications Unit is responsible for obtaining and inserting all of the change-sheets that are available on the Department Design website.

Would you like to be notified automatically of any changes or updates to the Highway Design Manual? If "YES" Click Here.

How can I propose changes to the manual?

Changes can be proposed by submitting a Proposed Revision to the Highway Design Manual form to the HDM editor:

Highway Design Manual
Table of Contents

English Version
  Chapter Name PDF version Last Updated
Foreword   fwd.pdf 07-01-15
Contents Expanded Table of Contents toc.pdf New! 12-16-16
Chapter 10 Division of Design chp0010.pdf 12-30-15
Chapter 20 Designation of Highway Routes chp0020.pdf 05-07-12
Chapter 40 Federal-Aid chp0040.pdf 12-30-15
Chapter 60 Nomenclature chp0060.pdf 12-30-15
Chapter 80 Application of Design Standards chp0080.pdf New! 12-16-16
Chapter 100 Basic Design Policies chp0100.pdf New! 12-16-16
Chapter 200 Geometric Design and Structure Standards chp0200.pdf New! 12-16-16
Chapter 300 Geometric Cross Section chp0300.pdf New! 12-16-16
Chapter 400 Intersections At Grade chp0400.pdf New! 12-16-16
Chapter 500 Traffic Interchanges chp0500.pdf New! 12-16-16
Chapter 600 Pavement Engineering chp0600.pdf 11-02-12
Chapter 610 Pavement Engineering Considerations chp0610.pdf 11-02-12
Chapter 620 Rigid Pavement chp0620.pdf 11-02-12
Chapter 630 Flexible Pavement chp0630.pdf 05-07-12
Chapter 640 Composite Pavements chp0640.pdf 12-30-15
Chapter 650 Pavement Drainage chp0650.pdf 12-30-15
Chapter 660 Base and Subbase chp0660.pdf 12-30-15
Chapter 670 Structure Approach Slabs chp0670.pdf 12-30-15
Chapter 700 Miscellaneous Standards chp0700.pdf 12-30-15
Chapter 800 General Aspects chp0800.pdf 12-30-15
Chapter 810 Hydrology chp0810.pdf 12-30-15
Chapter 820 Cross Drainage chp0820.pdf 07-01-15
Chapter 830 Transportation Facility Drainage chp0830.pdf 07-01-15
Chapter 840 Subsurface Drainage chp0840.pdf 10-04-10
Chapter 850 Physical Standards chp0850.pdf 12-30-15
Chapter 860 Open Channels chp0860.pdf 03-07-14
Chapter 870 Bank Protection - Erosion Control chp0870.pdf 07-15-16
Chapter 880 Shore Protection chp0880.pdf 07-15-16
Chapter 890 Storm Water Management chp0890.pdf 09-01-06
Chapter 900 Landscape Architecture chp0900.pdf New! 12-16-16
Chapter 1000 Bicycle Transportation Design chp1000.pdf New! 12-16-16
Chapter 1100 Highway Traffic Noise Abatement chp1100.pdf 12-30-15
Index   index.pdf 07-15-16

If you have any questions about the Highway Design Manual please e-mail:

This page last updated April 7, 2016