California Department of Transportation

Geotechnical / Structures

Mission Statement

Structures research results in a safer, more economical transportation system that stresses earthquake resistance and vehicle occupant protection. Research accomplishes these objectives through two major areas of study:

  1. Research on structural systems and members studies focus on improved maintenance and the evaluation of bridge integrity. Caltrans maintains approximately 12,000 bridges and monitors them for safety and traffic capacity. Continually improving the means for rapidly inspecting and maintaining bridges after earthquakes will keep the transportation system safe and operational.
  2. Geotechnical foundations research studies focus on cost-effective foundation designs of structures. In active earthquake areas, these studies provide safer designs through better understanding of ground motion variability due to earthquake fault type, distance from the fault, and behavior of soils. More cost-effective designs are accomplished through understanding soil-pile interaction and improving pile designs.


  1. Geotechnology
  2. Seismology
  3. Structural Connections
  4. Materials
  5. Composites
  6. Traffic Network Simulation

Current Research Projects

  1. PEER-Lifelines Program
  2. Quick Change Sign Post
  3. Materials Analysis Research
  4. University Programs in Transportation Research
  5. Geo-Structures Program