Active Transportation

Complete streets, transit, bikeway, and pedestrian planning, design, and performance measurement

Transportation Planning Fundamentals for California Streets

In today's environment, local streets and roads need to be planned, designed, built or retrofitted, operated, and maintained to provide safe, comfortable, and environmentally sustainable travel for all users of all ages and differing levels of mobility. Ideally these local streets and roads should provide for all modes, including walking, bicycling, taking transit, and driving. Local streets and roads must be operationally functional to allow for emergency response, road maintenance, and overall truck movement of goods.

This course covers the planning and conceptual design of sustainable, multimodal, local streets and roads; the history of multimodal surface transportation planning in the US; the policy environment for sustainable, multimodal transportation; how to integrate multimodal transportation into the local urban planning process; and how to design local streets, intersections, crossings, and interchanges consistent with the sustainable, multimodal approach. The course's discussion of the legislative environment is focused on California.

The course spans the full range of key areas from characteristics of the local roadway system, analysis of flow and capacity, traffic/transportation operations, traffic control devices, pedestrian/bicycle facilities, and surface transit operations to traffic safety and advanced analytical methods.

The course is taught by a team of professional engineers and planners who practice in the private and public sectors with a collective experience exceeding 100 years.

Key learning concepts to be highlighted throughout the three days of intensive training include: managing conflict between/among surface modes, striving for a balanced approach to promoting multiple modes along the same right-of-way (ROW) or crossing each other, promoting safety between modes and for each mode on local streets and roads, options for separating or prioritizing modes in layered networks, planning for multimodal travel at the local level wherever possible, managing multimodal transportation operations efficiently, promoting economic development and livability (in addition to access and mobility), and the best practices in multimodal surface transportation infrastructure planning and sustainable land development for livability.

Additional course detail is provided in the sections below.

  • Course Topics
    • The Multimodal Transportation Planning Process & Legal Framework
    • Data Collection, Quantitative Analysis & Travel Forecasts
    • Environmental Analysis & CEQA New Trends (SB 743)
    • Evaluation & Prioritization of Multimodal Transportation Projects
    • Public Participation & Involvement, Dealing with Controversy
    • Freeway Multimodal Considerations
    • The New Transit/Multimodal Role for Arterials & Collectors
    • Multimodal Traffic Signals
    • Pedestrians & ADA Accommodations: It's the Law
    • Pedestrian Safety & Economic Development
    • Residential Streets: Livability & Quality of Life
    • Multimodal Auditing Techniques & Walking Tour
    • On-Street Bicycling & Ensuring Bicycle Safety
    • Bicycle Paths: Putting it All Together
    • Surface Mass Transit Planning Concepts
    • Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) & Light Rail Transit (LRT) Design Elements & Issues
  • Course Outline

    Module 1: The Multimodal Transportation Planning Process & Legal Framework

    • What is comprehensive multimodal transportation planning? Goals, objectives, policies, actions
    • Reasons for travel desires
    • Intergovernmental relations, legal and institutional framework for multimodal transportation planning in California
    • “Complete Streets” concept & requirements; street classification systems
    • Land use / transportation relationships
    • Demographics / transportation relationships
    • Role of freight in urban transportation
    • Transit-first / priority policies

    Module 2: Data Collection, Quantitative Analysis, & Travel Forecasts

    • Primary data sources: counts, surveys, and inventories
    • Secondary data sources (US Census, BTS, etc.)
    • Biggest mistakes and pitfalls in data collection
    • Types of data measurement: data interpretation and reading charts and tables
    • Statistical concepts and definitions
    • Visual display of data
    • Practical techniques for counting pedestrians and bicyclists
    • Travel forecasts: their use, misuse, abuse
    • Ethical use of data

    Module 3: Environmental Analysis & CEQA New Trends (SB 743)

    • Introduction to CEQA: What it is, what it applies to. Why do we have it?
    • CEQA vs. NEPA
    • Vehicle tailpipe emissions
    • Greenhouse gases and the Climate Action Plan (CAP)
    • New trends, SB 743 & OPR requirements, and infill development near transit
    • Noise impacts of traffic
    • Energy consumption of transportation modes
    • SB 375: “Sustainable Transportation” and Regional Transportation Planning
    • Mitigations: Transportation Systems management(TSM) and Travel Demand Management (TDM)

    Module 4: Public Participation & Involvement, Dealing with Controversy

    • Why do conflicts over projects occur?
    • Communication techniques, including using social media
    • What kinds of projects generate the most controversy?
    • Practical public participation: Identifying Stakeholders and reaching them using today’s social media
    • Dealing with NIMBYs: negotiation, mediation, and the role of the transportation professional
    • Six things you should never do when dealing with the public 

    Module 5: Evaluation & Prioritization of Multimodal Transportation Projects

    • Developing multimodal vision statements, evaluation criteria & measures
    • What techniques can I use?
    • Comparative economic costs & benefits
    • Estimating costs/ cost indexes
    • Prioritization techniques

    Module 6: Freeway Multimodal Considerations

    • Optimizing HOT/HOV System for BRT and express bus service
    • Real-time traffic management systems
    • Integrated corridor management
    • Ramp metering and HOV access lanes
    • Highway advisory systems

    Module 7: The New Transit/Multimodal Role for Arterials & Collectors

    • Accommodating buses in existing arterials and collectors
    • Transit role in communities
    • Transit corridors
    • Great transit facilities including branding of transit routes
    • Transit level of service - HCM 6th Edition
    • Discovering transit demand
    • Safe Route to Transit for pedestrians and bicyclists

    Module 8: Multimodal Traffic Signals

    • Traffic signal basics
    • Planning - design - operations
    • Timing philosophies, norm setting
    • Latest in traffic signal technology

    Module 9: Safe & Accessible Pedestrian Design

    • ADA overview - It is the law
    • Pedestrian master planning
    • Pedestrian demand projection tools
    • Pedestrian connectivity analysis
    • Designing for pedestrians
    • Pedestrian treatments evolution
    • Uncontrolled intersections and crosswalks
    • Latest design treatments
    • OTS safety technical assistance from Tech Transfer

    Module 10: Parking Considerations for Healthy Economic Development

    • Off-street parking policy
    • Parking design and parking standards
    • Parking cost influence on mode choice
    • Parking reform practice - shared parking
    • Loading/unloading zones
    • TDM to offset parking supply and demand

    Module 11: Residential Streets: Livability & Quality of Life

    • Street layouts, cross-sections
    • Differences between urban, suburban and “rural feel” contexts 
    • Importance of connectivity and livability
    • Speed limits, speeding, and traffic calming
    • Safe Routes to School
    • Promoting bicycling and walking on residential streets

    Module 12: On-Street Bicycling & Bicycle Safety

    •  Common auto-bike safety issues, and how to use crash data to select best design
    • How to accommodate both bikes and surface transit
    • Cycle tracks and buffered bike lanes
    • Bikes in rural and mountainous areas
    • Intersections, roundabouts and bike signal heads
    • Bike parking policies and development requirements

    Module 13: Bicycle Paths

    • Differences between shared use paths, lanes, side paths, and cycle tracks
    • Key considerations for bike paths to be used as transportation
    • Why and how to separate bicyclists and pedestrians on bike paths
    • Bike path opportunities and other community objectives, e.g. protection
    • Key intersection design elements for a trail crossing a roadway
    • How across-barrier connections complete the network

    Module 14: Mass Transit Planning Concepts

    • Why cities need public transit
    • Ways to classify different forms of transit
    • Transit, land use context and city size/density
    • Transit-specific policies - city and regional level planning and regulation
    • Transit fare and payment options
    • Best practices - rider information, service options and integration with other modes

    Module 15: Transit Design & Operational Issues

    • Key issues affecting transit travel speeds and delay
    • Light rail and streetcar design elements
    • BRT essential elements, operations, and design issues
    • Subway, commuter rail, and regional rail
    • LRT/Rail pedestrian safety
    • Course evaluation for the day
  • What you will learn

    Attendees will gain an understanding and appreciation of the necessary balance of all surface modes in building, operating and maintaining a functional and multi-modal infrastructure, and multi-modal streets that make effective and efficient use of rights-of-way represent an essential framework for developing and maintaining vital urban and suburban centers and neighborhoods.

    Attendees will learn the planning role of multimodal surface transportation in the U.S. today and the processes used to achieve planning objectives, including how data is collected and used in multimodal transportation analyses, while gaining an understanding of how regional plans and forecasts affect local land use and transportation plans.

    They will also learn how environmental analyses and public participation fit within the multimodal transportation planning process, including key impacts on existing networks, legal requirements, and how to resolve conflicts of multimodal transportation projects.

    In addition, attendees will:

    • Learn the basic principles for highway operations in California, the latest innovations of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in freeway multimodal functions, and how to relate regional travel pricing policies to successful multimodal operations (e.g., Bay Area)

    • Learn about parallel relationships of multimodal measures on arterial and collector streets for proper freeway operation and multimodal interactions, as they meet over critical junctions such as signalized intersections

    • Learn a full range of treatments for pedestrian and bicycle movement in urban and suburban communities alongside a successful movement of vehicles, including bus priority considerations and success stories throughout the state and nation, with a focus on available tools and design techniques in harmony with the complete streets concepts

    • Learn about the effects of parking considerations as well as innovative pricing programs (e.g., SF Park) and how they influence modal choice and healthy economic development

    • Learn the key design and operational strategies to improve the safety and mobility of bicyclists in a multimodal environment and gain an understanding of which bikeway design options are appropriate for land use contexts in the state

    • Learn how the various transit modes are essential components of well-planned communities from big cities, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, to suburban municipalities to small towns

    • Learn key planning, design, and operational elements pertaining to LRT and BRT in a multimodal operational environment (e.g., Gold Line LRT, Van Ness BRT)

    • Learn how to better integrate public transit modes with each other, with other modes of surface transportation, and with land use; and the role of the state's metropolitan regions and local governments in this integration
  • Who should attend

    This course is intended for local urban planners, transportation planners, and planning technicians, as well as transportation and land use consultants. Both new and experienced planners will benefit from this course.

    This course is primarily appropriate for urban and suburban perspectives, but may be relevant to rural areas that are subject to urban growth challenges.

  • Course Prerequisites
  • Course Instructors

      Rafat Raie, PE, Deputy Director of Public Works, City Traffic Engineer, City of San Rafael

      Mr. Raie has nearly 30 years of Traffic Engineering experience including design, operation, planning, and maintenance. As an instructor with ITS Tech Transfer for the past nine years, he has shared his professional experience in pedestrian facility design and operations in communities throughout California. He has a well-rounded experience in traffic signal systems, parking systems, innovative pedestrian facilities, and ADA standards.

      Richard Lee, PhD, AICP, Director of Innovation and Sustainability, VRPA Technologies, Inc

      Dr. Lee has over 30 years of experience as a transportation consultant and academic, mainly in California. He has taught transportation planning and led research projects at UC-Berkeley (2007-2009), Cal Poly SLO, UC-Davis, Massey University (New Zealand) and San José State University. As a consultant he has led Regional Transportation Plan and General Plan studies, transit projects, and project level EIRs. This broad experience has given him first-hand experience with all aspects of transportation planning, from policy development to implementation. Richard enjoys working with local, regional and state agencies and the private sector to develop feasible circulation solutions tailored to specific community needs.

      Charles Rivasplata, PhD, Senior Transportation Planner, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency SFMTA

      Dr. Rivasplata has more than 25 years of experience in transportation planning and policy. In addition to the SFMTA, he is a lecturer at San Jose State University (SJSU), and has lectured at the University of California (UC), Stanford University, and Sonoma State University (SSU). His professional portfolio has featured work on transportation demand management (TDM) strategies, as well as the Transportation Element of the San Francisco General Plan, bike-transit catchment studies, a residential carsharing study, and policies promoting transit integration in the Bay Area and beyond.

  • Registration Information

      Registration for this course occurs at the TechTransfer training host site. Use the button to the right to directly access the course page and registration portal. You will be asked to create a user account as part of the registration process.

      A confirmation email will be sent to you within two business days of TechTransfer receiving your paid registration.

      If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the TechTransfer Registrar at (510) 643-4393 or

  • For more information

      To learn more about TechTransfer courses and credits, see their FAQ (

      To learn more about TechTransfer's cancellation, refund, and substitution policies, see How to Enroll (

      Cancellation Policy:

      The cancellation fee for this course is $75. At TechTransfer, there are no refunds for classes with registration fees of $75 or less. For all other classes, you may cancel your enrollment and receive a refund of your registration fee less $75, provided they receive your written request to cancel at least 5 full working days before the class is scheduled to begin. In lieu of canceling your registration, you may (1) transfer your registration to another TechTransfer class, (2) receive a tuition credit for the full amount, useable toward a future class, or (3) send a substitute in your place.

      Note: TechTransfer recommends you discuss any possible problems or online security issues with your IT person before you register for any online classes. If you are worried about connectivity issues, please contact the online training coordinator the week before the class to schedule a time to test your system. If you do not test your system and you have technical issues during a live online class, we will not provide a refund.

LTAP Subsidized

This class is offered at a reduced fee to employees of California's city, county, regional, and tribal public agencies

Course Fee

Standard Rate:

Public Agency Rate:



Course Credit

This course grants:

2.40 CEUs

Upcoming Sessions (0)

[not currently scheduled]


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