Development projects such as housing subdivision, commercial parks, and others can result in significant impact on portions of the State’s transportation system. In order to foresee and mitigate these impacts, Caltrans provides review of development proposals from local agencies (such as city and county governments) through a division of its Office of Planning called Local Development-Intergovernmental Review (LD-IGR). In most scenarios, reviews of development proposals initiate a collaborative process by which development projects are modified in order to mitigate potential impacts to the state highway system.
In the past, development projects under review have been tracked independently at each of the twelve Caltrans districts using a variety of means – from Excel spreadsheets to a SQL Server database. This variety of approaches to LD-IGR data management sometimes caused inefficiencies in the review process and could lead inconsistencies in how similar projects were handled.
The Office of Planning worked with Farallon Geographics to develop a customized, geo-based project review system that can work on a statewide basis. Farallon worked closely with Caltrans staff to define and document functional requirements and define a technical development approach.
Farallon used Arches as the engine of the system. Arches is a modern, user-friendly, open source asset management and information inventory system developed by Farallon. Farallon customized the software code using Open Source components and provided technology transfer to Caltrans staff. Components of the technical solution include Postgres/PostGIS, GeoDjango, ElasticSearch, JQuery, Bootstrap, and OpenLayers. The system uses modern, standards-compliant technology which minimizes long-term licensing costs and restrictions and allows in-house Caltrans staff to extend the software as business needs evolve.
The system allows authorized staff at the Caltrans districts to use a map-based interface to enter project proposal information, track the process of reviewing proposals, and provide a complete and informed response outlining suggested mitigations for development projects. Caltrans now has a single, efficient computerized system that enforces standardization in how local development projects are reviewed and handled across the state.