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Traffic Light Synchronization

Intent or Criteria :   Funds shall be available to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to develop a program to fund traffic light synchronization projects or other technology-based improvements to improve safety, operations and the effective capacity of local streets and roads.  Funds will be allocated by the California Transportation Commission (CTC), upon appropriation by the Legislature.

List of Approved Projects

Closeout Reports

Resolution : Approved Resolution adopted May 27, 2008. Click to view Resolution (pdf)

Guidelines : Guidelines adopted on February 14, 2008. Click to view Guidelines (pdf)

List of TLSP Applications received by Caltrans : Click to view List of Applications (pdf)

Click to view City of Los Angeles TLSP (pdf)

TLSP Evaluation Criteria : Click to view Criteria (pdf)

Administrative Agency :  California Transportation Commission.

Recipient Agency :  Local agencies

Accountability Plan :  The three-part accountability structure for this program, required by Executive Order S-02-07, will be identified in conjunction with program development activities.

Program Accountability

The local agencies are the owners of the local bond funded traffic light synchronization projects and are responsible for the scope of work, cost, and delivery schedule. Local agencies commit to scope, cost, and schedule milestones for each project in accordance with the baseline agreements. Milestones such as the begin/end dates of plans, specifications and estimates (PS&E), right-of-way, and construction will be monitored. All costs reported will include both support and capital costs. The Department will work with local agencies to ensure changes in project scope, cost, and schedule are documented and conform with program requirements.

1.    Front-End Accountability:

A.    Establishment of Guidelines

The Commission adopted the TLSP Guidelines on February 13, 2008. (Exhibit A.)

B.    Eligibility of Projects

Per Section 4 of the TLSP Guidelines, "Eligible projects are traffic light synchronization projects or other technology-based improvements to improve safety, operations and the effective capacity of local streets and roads." In addition, the TLSP Guidelines state "The Department and Commission expect that TLSP project funding will be limited to the costs of construction and acquisition and installation of equipment. Project development costs should be covered with other funding."

For the purpose of the TLSP we will apply the term "construction" as we would for similar traffic signal synchronization work done within the Department. This includes the acquisition and installation of all hardware, software, programming and modification of software the development and implementation of timing plans. Also included under the term "construction" is the acquisition and analysis of data needed for the implementation of the TLSP project.

C.    Project Selection

Program of projects based on applications. The Department developed its proposed TLSP program of projects and proposed a TLSP project priority listing from the applications received by the application due date. The priority listing may be by specific project, group, or category as the Department finds appropriate. The listing may take into account the amount of funds appropriated.

Project application scoring. The Department evaluated and scored project applications on a 100 point scale according to the following weighting:

A. 50 points - the effectiveness of the project in providing transportation benefits, including the improvement of safety, operations, energy conservation and effective capacity of local streets and roads in a corridor, and the commitment to sustain these benefits as document in a corridor system management plan or similar coordinated management strategy. The Department measured operational improvement and capacity benefits in terms of hours of delay saved per dollar expended. The Department measured safety benefits in terms of the estimated reduction in the number of deaths and injuries.

B. 20 points - the date that the project was ready for award of the construction contract, giving higher priority to projects that can be delivered earlier.

C. 10 points - the degree that the project contributes to corridor or air basin emissions reduction of particulates and other pollutants.

D. 20 points - the degree of financial contribution from non-state funds by the local agency in the capital costs of the TLSP project, giving higher priority to projects with a higher local contribution. State and Federal funds under the applicant's authority were considered as local contributions for purposes of this evaluation. For this purpose, funds allocated through the STIP, the SHOPP, the TCRP, or any Proposition 1B program were not regarded as local contributions, nor expenditures from any source for work performed prior to the adoption of the project into the program. Contributions from local funds, state gasoline tax subventions, RSTP, CMAQ, or other state or federal funds that are directly programmed by or apportioned to regional and local agencies were considered as local contributions.

Evaluation committee. The Department formed a committee to conduct a review and objective evaluation of project applications, with representatives of staff from the Federal Highway Administration, the Department, and the Commission.

Program adoption. The Commission adopted the TLSP project list at its May 2008 meeting. The Commission anticipated that authorized TLSP funding would be fully programmed with the initial adoption. If the authorized funding was not fully programmed, however, the Department may propose and the Commission may adopt amendments to add new projects to the program at a later time. The Department may, if it finds it necessary or appropriate, advise potential applicants to submit new or revised applications.

D.    Baseline Agreements

As required by the adopted TLSP Guidelines, the Department and the implementing agencies executed project baseline agreements, which set forth the project scope, expected benefits, delivery schedule, and the project budget and funding plan. The Department received baseline agreements from applicant agencies within 90 days of the Commission approval.

The funding plan identified the source of non-TLSP funding. The Commission deleted projects for which no project baseline agreements were executed, and the Commission did not consider approval of a project allocation prior to the execution of a project baseline agreement.

These agreements include the estimated cost and the start and completion dates for plans, specifications and estimates (PS&E), right-of-way, construction, and close-out phases of the project. Executed baseline agreements were delivered to the Department and Commission within three months of the adoption date of the TLSP approved project list. The baseline agreement was considered the front-end document that forms the foundation for in-progress and follow-up accountability.

2.     In-Progress Accountability:

Projects shall be executed in a timely fashion and within the scope and budget identified when the decision was made to fund the project. If it is anticipated that project costs will exceed the approved project budget, the implementing agency will provide a plan to the Commission for achieving the benefits of the project by either downscoping the project to remain within budget or by identifying an alternative funding source to meet the cost increase. The Commission may either approve the corrective plan or direct the implementing agency to modify its plan. Where a project allocation is not requested by an implementing agency in accordance with the schedule identified in the baseline agreement, the Commission may amend the program of projects to delete the project.

A.    Ongoing Program Monitoring and Review

Implementing agencies are responsible for managing the scope, cost and schedule of the project consistent with the adopted programs and executed baseline agreements. The Local Assistance Online Data Input System (LA-ODIS) is the web based reporting tool developed by the Department for use by implementing agencies to provide scope, cost and schedule updates for Proposition 1B funded projects. This information is then placed on the Governor's Bond Accountability Website. The Department also compiles and provides these reports to the Commission on a quarterly basis.

B.    Baseline Agreement Amendments

The Commission may approve an amendment of the TLSP in conjunction with its review of a project corrective plan. The Department may also recommend and the Commission may approve an amendment of the program at any time. Per the TLSP Guidelines an amendment need only appear on the agenda published 10 days in advance of the Commission meeting. It does not require the 30-day notice that applies to a STIP amendment.

C.    Allocation of Funds

The Commission will consider the allocation of funds from the TLSP for a project or project component when it receives an allocation request and recommendation from the Department, in the same manner as for the STIP. The recommendation will include a determination of the availability of appropriated TLSP funds. The Commission will approve the allocation if the funds are available, the allocation is necessary to implement the project as included in the adopted TLSP program, and the project has the required environmental clearance. Expenditures made prior to adoption and allocation by the CTC are not eligible for reimbursement.

D.    Timely Use of Funds

The CTC will allocate TLSP funds in the same manner as for the STIP program. Although the TLSP Guidelines do not explicitly describe timely use of funds, discussions with CTC staff confirmed that the STIP timely use of funds provisions apply uniformly to all Proposition 1B programs, including the TLSP

TLSP funds allocated for right-of-way costs must be expended by the end of the second fiscal year following the fiscal year in which the funds were allocated. The local agency must invoice the Department for these costs no later than 180 days after the fiscal year in which the final expenditure occurred.

TLSP funds allocated for construction must be encumbered by the award of a contract within six months of the date of the allocation of funds. After the award of the contract, the local agency has up to 36 months to complete (accept) the contract. At the time of allocation, the Department may extend the deadline for completion of work and the liquidation of funds if necessary to accommodate the proposed expenditure plan for the project. The local agency has 180 days after contract acceptance to make the final payment to the contractor, prepare the final Report of Expenditure and submit the final invoice to the Department for reimbursement.

3.     Follow-Up Accountability:

The project close-out phase is not complete until the final construction contract payment is made and contractor's claims are resolved, the project history file and as-built plans are completed, and final right-of-way activities and environmental mitigation are accomplished. Local agencies are required to submit a Project Close-out Report in accordance with the Local Assistance Procedures Manual.

Once the project is completed, the Department will conduct a final field review of the project to ensure the scope of the completed project is consistent with the approved project scope. The Department will approve the final project invoice after a field review of the project has been conducted.

A.    Final Delivery Report

Within six months of the project becoming operable, the implementing agency will provide a final delivery report to the Commission on the scope of the completed project, its final cost as compared to the approved project budget, its duration as compared to the project schedule in the project baseline agreement, and performance outcomes derived from the project as compared to those described in the project baseline agreement. The Commission shall forward this report to the Department of Finance as required by Government Code section 8879.50.

The implementing agency will also provide a supplement to the final delivery report at the completion of the project to reflect final project expenditures at the conclusion of all project activities. For the purposes of this section, a project becomes operable at the end of the construction phase when the construction contract is accepted. Project completion occurs at the conclusion of all remaining project activities after acceptance of the construction contract.

B.    Audits

The Department will ensure that project expenditures and scope are audited. For each TLSP project, the Commission expects the Department to provide a semi-final audit report within 6 months after the final delivery report, and a final audit report within 6 months after the final delivery report supplement. The Commission may also require interim audits at any time during the performance of the project.

Audits will be performed in accordance with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards promulgated by the United States Government Accountability Office. Audits will provide a finding on the following:

  • Whether project costs incurred and reimbursed are in compliance with the executed project baseline agreement or approved amendments thereof; state and federal laws.
  • Whether project deliverables (outputs) and outcomes are consistent with the project scope, schedule and benefits described in the executed project baseline agreement or approved amendments thereof.
  • Click for more information on the Traffic Light Syncronization Program.