Caltrans Traffic Census Program Improvement Study

Traffic census data (traffic counts) are a federal requirement and are essential for roadway design, project prioritization, safety analysis, long-range planning and other key activities that enable Caltrans to manage the transportation system. Within Caltrans, at the District level, resources are transferred to District Traffic Operations units, who report their counts to Headquarters Traffic Operations.

The Traffic Census Program Improvement Study VMS conducted was part of a department-wide effort to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. A study team composed of Headquarters Traffic Operations, DRISI, and Divisions of Traffic Operations and Planning from six Districts convened for two workshops to analyze the Traffic Census program and identify recommendations for value improvements.


  • Develop recommendations that will ensure the Traffic Census Program: (1) delivers timely data that meets minimum standards consistently across the state, for a realistic cost, (2) is flexible enough to meet other data needs as they become known, with appropriate cost accounting, and (3) is accountable to management for meeting (or failing to meet) these goals.


  • Identified key issues related to Unclear Requirements, Governance & Accountability, Insufficient Resources, Program Status & Efficacy, and Data Quality
  • Developed 13 key recommendations for improvement
  • Developed a Caltrans Traffic Census Customer Matrix

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