Terminal Access Application Procedures - Background

For procedures, see: Terminal Access Application Procedures.


Reasonable Access: Code of Federal Regulations, Title 23, § 658.19 states, "Reasonable access. (a) No State may enact or enforce any law denying reasonable access to vehicles with dimensions authorized by the STAA between the NN and terminals and facilities for food, fuel, repairs, and rest. ... (h) States shall ensure compliance with the requirements of this section for roads under the jurisdiction of local units of government."

Process: Section 35401.5(d) of the California Vehicle Code (CVC) states, "The Department of Transportation or local authorities may establish a process whereby access to terminals or services may be applied for upon a route not previously established as an access route." The terminal is considered any place of business, provided that it is a legal operation."

Geometric Criteria: CA Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CA MUTCD), Section 2I.03 states: "2. On Local Routes: • Signing of egress from a State Terminal Access route to a local Terminal Access route shall be done by Caltrans, only if: a) The local agency has requested that Caltrans place the sign and, b) the local agency has informed Caltrans in writing that the local roads and intersections on the proposed local Terminal Access route meet all geometric criteria for STAA trucks and, c) where the proposed Terminal Access route passes through more than one local jurisdiction, each affected agency has informed Caltrans in writing that the local roads and intersections on the proposed local Terminal Access route meet all geometric criteria for STAA trucks and, d) Caltrans has verified that the State highway ramps or intersections meet all geometric criteria for STAA trucks."

Sign Installation: The sign installation is required by law. The CA MUTCD, Section 2I under "2. On Local Routes" states:

  • ... the local agency or agencies shall place G66-56(CA) signs at every critical decision point on the Terminal Access route in their respective jurisdictions, including a G66-56(CA) sign with END Auxiliary (M4-6) sign at the 24-hour turn-around location where the Terminal Access route ends if it does not connect to another STAA route.
  • ... Caltrans shall place a G66-56(CA) sign on the State route in advance of the ramp or intersection to the local Terminal Access route.

Basis for Denial: A request for a terminal route can be denied; however, the CVC Section 35401.5(d) states, "The denial of a request for access to terminals and services shall be only on the basis of safety and an engineering analysis of the proposed access route."

Time Limit: The CVC Section 35401.5(d) states, "If a written request for access has been properly submitted and has not been acted upon within 90 days of receipt by the Department or the appropriate local agency, the access shall be deemed automatically approved." However, the meaning of the term "act" may be open to interpretation; it may not necessarily mean that the final decision must be made during that time frame.

Access for All: When an application is successful, the road is opened to all trucks of the same type as the applicant. CVC Section 35401.5(d) states, "...the route shall be deemed open for access by all other vehicles of the same type regardless of ownership."


Off-Tracking: Caltrans performs engineering analyses that focus on a vehicle characteristic called "off-tracking." Off-tracking is the tendency for rear tires to follow a shorter path than the front tires when turning. Off-tracking is the primary concern with longer vehicles because rear tires may clip street signs, drive onto unpaved shoulders, walkways, or bike lanes, or cross the centerline on a curve, creating a safety hazard for adjacent and oncoming traffic.

Design Criteria: The STAA design vehicle and guidance for its use are included in the Caltrans Highway Design Manual, Topic 404. The STAA design vehicle has a 48-foot semitrailer. (Trucks with 53-foot semitrailers are also considered STAA trucks; however, trucks with the 53-foot semis are not used as a design vehicle as they are not the worst case for off-tracking due to their shorter wheelbase.)

Templates: The Highway Design Manual has templates for design vehicles, including STAA vehicles. Designers can print the templates and scale them as needed.

Software: Caltrans uses "AutoTurn" software which simulates the turning movements of slow-moving vehicles. AutoTurn is compatible with MicroStation and AutoCADD. AutoTurn is available from Transoft Solutions. Other truck-turning software programs include "AutoTrack" at Savoy Computing Services Ltd, and "PathPlanner" at Simtra Aero Tech.

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