Publication Detail

Multimodal Dreamin': California Transportation Planning, 1967-77


Journal Article

Suggested Citation:
Karner, Alex (2013) Multimodal Dreamin': California Transportation Planning, 1967-77. The Journal of Transport History 34 (1), 39 - 57

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) replaced the state's Division of Highways on 1 July 1973. Consistent with the creation of other state departments of transportation throughout the U.S.A. at the time, the enabling legislation envisioned a multimodal agency that would shift transportation policy and planning away from its highway emphasis. Competing conceptions of multimodalism and regional transportation governance advanced by key actors heavily influenced the policies and plans they proposed. Eventually, public and local government opposition to the implementation of multimodal transportation policies diminished the state's role while elevating the responsibilities of voluntary regional planning agencies. California's contemporary transportation policy goals remain similar to those that prevailed when Caltrans was created - reducing automobile dependency and promoting compact urban forms - but its transportation institutions were designed precisely to oppose their achievement. Supportive public coalitions now offer the best hope for realizing the state's multimodal dreams.