Understanding and Responding to Homelessness in State Transportation Settings

More than 150,000 Californians experience homelessness every night. The limited capacity of shelters and social service agencies to meet the needs of this rapidly growing population has forced many to look for shelter in state transportation settings, including freeway rights-of-way, underpasses, rest areas, parking lots, and state highways. With affordable housing scarce and the crisis often overwhelming existing safety nets, Caltrans faces these pressing issues and must implement policy measures from realms beyond transportation to address them. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these problems. This white paper will assess the state of homelessness in Caltrans environments, its mobility and equity implications, and best practices in responding to homelessness in transportation settings. The research team will synthesize existing analyses of homelessness in such environments and identify, describe, and compare relevant best practices. Following that, the research team will conduct interviews with staff at Caltrans and other departments of transportation, social service providers, law enforcement agencies, etc., focusing on what makes responses and partnerships most effective but also humane. This white paper will help policymakers balance potentially competing responsibilities, evaluate partnerships, and implement best practices in health, safety, operations, mobility, and other issues affecting the housed and unhoused public.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $25,000.00
    • Sponsor Organizations:

      California Department of Transportation

      1227 O Street
      Sacramento, CA  United States  95843
    • Managing Organizations:

      METRANS Transportation Center

      University of Southern California
      Los Angeles, CA  United States  90089-0626
    • Project Managers:

      Brinkerhoff, Cort

    • Performing Organizations:

      University of California, Los Angeles

      Los Angeles, California  United States  90095
    • Principal Investigators:

      Loukaitou-Sideris, Anastasia

    • Start Date: 20210901
    • Expected Completion Date: 20220831
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01775748
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: METRANS Transportation Center
    • Files: RIP
    • Created Date: Jun 30 2021 12:01PM