California Department of Transportation

Collaborative Planning Branch

Collaborative planning is multi-agency, inter-jurisdictional planning that integrates land use and infrastructure planning to meet the community's needs while addressing economic development, environmental protection and equity. Collaborative planning includes community involvement to ensure that development meets the vision and needs of the residents of the region. It involves early involvement of stakeholders and sharing of data. New graphic techniques for displaying the results of land use decisions enhance community involvement and integrated planning.

Full consideration of environmental preservation is needed earlier in the planning process to preserve habitat while developing infrastructure and reconciling competing land uses. In both urban and rural California, the need for economic development, affordable housing, equitable distribution of jobs and housing and other infrastructure is great. Development pressure on communities, the green infrastructure and the existing transportation system is unrelenting. Decisions on land use and infrastructure investment are made by a myriad of agencies at the federal, state and local levels. Planning cycles differ making it difficult to coordinate plans and share planning data. It is critical to address the needs in a balanced and integrated way and to establish a framework that will institutionalize an integrated and collaborative planning process.

For Caltrans, the immediate goal of collaborative planning is to expedite transportation project delivery by streamlining the environmental review and permitting process. This requires new methods and processes that will bring the resources agencies into the transportation planning process much earlier than the NEPA process does in the current project delivery process. This involves developing new partnerships and ways of doing business. Corridor-level environmental studies, combining transportation planning with habitat and conservation planning, corridor-wide programmatic mitigation agreements and improved environmental consideration in the long-range regional transportation plans may all be parts of the solutions. Influencing local land use planning and regional jobs/housing balance is also within the scope of the collaborative planning effort.

APA Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division Newsletter on California's Regional Blueprint Program

California Regional Blueprint Planning Program

California Regional Progress Report

Related Events:

The New Collaborative Region: Suburbs and Cities Working on the Future" Conference

On January 27, 2006, the UC Riverside Center for Sustainable Suburban Development , the Inland Empire District Council of the Urban Land Institute, and Caltrans hosted a one-day conference focusing on collaborative approaches on regional and suburban issues. Panel presentations highlighted transportation, land use and regional collaborations at the national, California, and Southern California levels. All documents of panel presentations and full texts are available at

Staff Contacts:

Garth Hopkins, Chief, Office of Regional and Interagency Planning (916) 654-8175
Marilee Mortenson, Senior Environmental Planner, (916) 653-3758
Alana Hitchcock, Associate Transportation Planner, Southern California Regions (916) 653-4665
Martha Martinez, Transportation Planner, Northern California Regions (916) 651-6010
Bob Cervantes, Associate Transportation Planner, Energy Policy and Land Use, (916) 653-3635