Tribal Transportation Safety Assessments

For California Native American Communities

Based on the successful, award-winning, ongoing services funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for Safety Assessments for California Communities, this Caltrans-funded program works similarly to help California Native American communities identify and implement transportation safety solutions that will lead to improved safety for all – motorists, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. 

We provide California Native American communities with highly focused, in-depth, expert safety reviews of problem areas and specific recommendations for safety improvements within their jurisdictions, as well as on the roadways accessing their land.

The technical assistance services offered by Tech Transfer and funded by Caltrans are intended to provide California Tribal governments with a reliable, respected, independent, and credible source of information that fosters collaboration between the Tribes and local engineering, public works, planning or community development, and police/sheriff departments of neighboring agencies.  They also help Tribal governments identify potential sources of funding to make the improvements, and establish the justification to use in future grant applications. 


About the assessments

The T2SA free technical assistance is designed for Tribal Councils or their designees, who have responsibility for the implementation of the potential recommendations for safety improvement.  We need the express interest and commitment of the Tribal Council or their designees in order for us to select a Tribe as one of the sites to be visited and assessed.  Full participation in this online survey for the intake form/benchmarking analysis is a requirement for assistance. Selected sites will be evaluated by professional transportation safety experts based upon this survey response and other data available. We plan to use your feedback to focus our efforts on Tribal areas with the greatest safety need. In addition, we will use it to identify the need for  future funding of further evaluations in Tribal areas that cannot be served by the current project.

UC Berkeley will conduct a total of fifteen (15) transportation safety assessments for California Native American communities.

Each assessment will include either a team of two (2) safety experts or one (1) safety expert from Tech Transfer who will conduct the assessment, based on the size and complexity of the assessment area. The expert(s) will visit the Native American community site (e.g., reservation or rancheria area) for one (1) day, including meeting with the Tribal representatives and local and State representatives for the area, and any other stakeholder, as may be appropriate or feasible.  After the site visit, the expert team from Tech Transfer will produce a technical report highlighting the results of the site visit, the analysis completed for the site, and a list of potential recommendations for safety improvements, including potential funding sources of proposed improvements.


Survey and application for an assessment

We have now filled every available slot for this technical-assistance program under the current grant for Caltrans.  If you are interested in a future safety assessment, we encourage you to contact us for guidance at

To help us better understand tribal transportation safety issues and needs, and to serve as an initial application for a future safety assessment, we are asking all interested tribes in California to complete a survey as soon as possible:

  • To start the online survey and application, click here.
  • To download and print the survey and application, click here.
Our team of safety specialists

Thomas J. Clausen, PE Mr. Clausen is a registered civil engineer and traffic engineer in California. He has over 35 years of experience. Mr. Clausen has worked at the senior level in several Bay Area cities, Caltrans, and two consulting firms (Fehr & Peers and TJKM). His areas of expertise include traffic safety, traffic operations, signing and striping, traffic impact studies, and congestion management. Mr. Clausen holds a Master of Engineering Science from UC Berkeley and a Master of Public Administration from Cal State East Bay. He has been an UC Extension instructor for over 10 years and has completed traffic safety assessments since 2012.

Crystal Killian, PE Ms. Killian has more than 25 years with the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation.  She has directed transportation studies  involving parking, special events, emergency management, risk management, traffic calming, traffic operations, school safety, and pedestrian safety. She has also many years of project development, grant preparation and management.   She has many years of working with diverse community groups to address their safety concerns.  She graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration.  She is a Professional Civil Engineer and Traffic Engineer.

Joseph Kott, PhD, AICP, PTP Dr. Kott is a principal at Transportation Choices for Sustainable Communities.  He has over thirty years of experience in transportation planning, including as Chief Transportation Official for the City of Palo Alto. He has a B.A. from Wayne State University, master’s degrees in urban and regional planning from the University of North Carolina, and in transport planning and traffic engineering from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and a PhD in urban and regional transport planning from Curtin University in Perth, Australia.  As Chief Transportation Official for the City of Palo Alto for seven years, Dr. Kott was responsible for programs in traffic safety and traffic operations, including pedestrian and bicycle safety efforts.

Nazir Lalani, PE Mr. Lalani currently provides consulting traffic engineering services to local agencies. In June 2009, after completing 35 years’ service working for various public agencies. Nazir obtained B.S.  from Exeter University in Devon, England and M.S. from ASU in Tempe, Arizona. He is licensed in Colorado, California and Washington.  Nazir has been a course instructor and safety evaluator for UC Berkeley for the past 20 years and has competed over 50 Traffic, Rural, Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Assessments (TSA, RSA, BSA and PSA). He recently completed a TSA for the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians near Indio, CA and has worked with several counties and cities adjacent to address access and safety issues for Native American tribal areas.

Rock Miller, PE, PTOE Mr. Miller is a Senior Principal for Transportation Planning & Traffic Engineering at Stantec.  He is a registered engineer in California and is recognized as a leader in planning and design for complete streets and active transportation, with nearly 40 years in the transportation profession.  Rock is expert in working through issues posed by working with legacy design guidelines while providing for innovative transportation improvements.  He has served as the International President of the Institute of transportation Engineers (ITE) and has served on Caltrans and National Traffic Control Device committees.  Rock is also an expert on engineering liability defense and has assisted Caltrans in litigation of design conditions on State Highways.  Rock is also an excellent instructor and has delivered popular classes for Tech Transfer for many years.

Rafat S. Raie, PE With 29 years of Transportation Engineering and Planning experience in both the private and public sectors, Mr. Raie brings practical skills and proven techniques to address traffic safety issues. As the City Traffic Engineer for the City of Walnut Creek, he instituted analytical procedures to identify crash patterns and made numerous recommendations for solutions through design, operations, planning, and maintenance. He was recently awarded the Institute of Transportation Engineers Professional of the Year award for sharing his knowledge and mentoring young professionals in intelligent traffic signal systems, parking systems, innovative pedestrian facilities, and design for the disabled throughout California.

Eduardo C. Serafin, PE, AICP Eduardo serves as the Technical Program Manager at the Technology Transfer Program (Tech Transfer) of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.  At Tech Transfer, Eduardo manages training and professional development programs to address the dynamic training needs of the California transportation professional community.  Eduardo was also an adjunct lecturer at the San Jose State University’s Master of Urban Planning program. He has almost 30 years of professional traffic / transportation experience covering planning, policy, environmental impact analysis, preliminary design, engineering operations, complete streets, multi-modal transportation, and safety for various modes.  Eduardo was a nationally certified planner and a professional traffic engineer in California for many years.

John Turner, John retired from the Ventura Police Department as a Sergeant with 30 years of service. He supervised motor officers and the collision investigation units for 22 years. He was the designated expert for the city attorney on collision related claims and he served on the city's Traffic Safety Board and Collision Review Committee. He has extensive experience in traffic enforcement, collision investigation, and innovative traffic safety programs. He has worked as a police officer in Santa Barbara, as a collision reconstructionist, and had testified as an expert in Vehicle Code application in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas, including in front of Senate Committees. He has won numerous awards for police work since 1984. He was the Principal at his own company, Turner Accident Reconstruction, and currently is a National Account Director for Redflex Traffic Systems Inc.  He has published and owns several intellectual patents.

Afsaneh Yavari, Ms. Yavari serves as Technical Program Engineer at Technology Transfer Program (Tech Transfer) of Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS), at UC-Berkeley.  Ms. Yavari has more than 20 years of professional experience in traffic engineering and transportation planning with both public and private sectors, in states of Wisconsin, New Mexico, and California.  At Tech Transfer, she manages the Complete Streets Safety Assessment Program.  She utilizes her engineering expertise in updating the contents of current courses and reviewing development of new courses offered by Tech Transfer.  Ms. Yavari worked with SafeTREC of ITS on various research projects for Caltrans.  Ms. Yavari is a registered Professional Engineer in Wisconsin, and a registered Traffic Engineer in California.

Tribal Transportation Safety Resources

The references listed below have been compiled by the T2SA Program Partners as common references to support transportation engineers, planners, analysts, managers, and policy-makers who are tasked with addressing traffic, pedestrian, and bicycle safety in California Native American communities. Our goal is to organize available online resources and references into functional categories that will help Native American communities and Tribal Council representatives access relevant information quickly and according to topics reflecting their transportation safety needs, in addition to the sponsor agency or funding institution.  The order of listing is consistent with a typical flow of project delivery starting with the policy considerations, planning and public outreach, identification of issues, defining the scope of design and identifying funding sources.  If you have additional resources and references to suggest for this compilation, please send your suggestion to

State Planning Law on Local and Tribal Intergovernmental Consultation

State planning law requires cities and counties to consult with California Native American tribes during the local planning process for the purpose of protecting Traditional Tribal Cultural Places. The California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) consultation guidelines, background information, and training session information are all available online.

For purposes of consultation with tribes, as required by Government Code Sections 65352.3 and 65562.5, the Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC) maintains a list of California Native American Tribes with whom local governments must consult. The NAHC's "California Tribal Consultation List" provides the name, address, and contact name for of each of these tribes; and telephone, fax and email information if available. The tribal contact list is developed and maintained by the NAHC, under authority granted in Government Code Sections 65092, 65352 and 65352.3. Prior to initiating consultation with a Tribe, the city/county must contact the NAHC for a list of Tribes to consult with. For questions about the list, please contact the NAHC at

Relevant Policies on Tribal Transportation Issues

Tribal Roadways, Transportation Planning, & Traffic Safety Programs

For non-Tribal specific common traffic safety resources, please also see the resources on this page.

Recent Tribal Traffic Safety Research in California 

Tribal Safety Data Collection Project or Tribal Traffic and Pedestrian Safety 

Funded by the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), this project is a collaboration with UC Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC) and with California tribes. The project has two components:
  • Develop and pilot a survey of California tribes regarding current traffic safety data, develop recommendations for standardized reporting policies and procedures, and develop a prototype traffic collision database for the 109 federally recognized tribes in California
  • Conduct Community Pedestrian Safety Trainings in/around tribal lands

Deadly Roads: An Analysis of Traffic Safety in or Near Indian Country in Humboldt County (August 2012)

This project examined fatality and injury rates involving pedestrians and motorists on main thoroughfares in or near Indian country in California.  Every year thousands of motorists die and millions more are injured on the nation’s roadways.  But while the number of fatal crashes nationally has declined by 2% over the past 25 years, the number of vehicle-related fatalities in or near Indian country has increased over 50%.  In order to understand the reasons for this increase and to begin developing safety countermeasures, we need better data documenting the problem.  This study combined analysis of CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) database and other sources of crash data with GIS mapping to document the areas in or near Indian country with the highest rates of vehicle related injuries and fatalities over the past five years.  The results of this analysis will be used to help Native (American) nations document the dangers associated with roadways that, while they run through Indian country, are the responsibility of the state to ensure safe passage.

Safe Journeys: A Report on Roadway Safety in California Indian Country (undated)

This report is an analysis of information compiled by the National Indian Justice Center (NIJC) from various tribal transportation meetings and safety planning workshops with California Indian tribes and other sources. The transportation needs assessments that were to be included for analysis in this report are yet to be completed significantly enough to be used here. Instead of those assessments, we are using other sources, such as in-depth interviews with officials of the Humboldt County Tribal Transportation Commission and the Reservation Transportation Authority Program of Southern California. Both organizations represent inter-tribal groups, providing a detailed profile of safety issues throughout the Indian country of California. Additionally, information collected from a Caltrans inventory survey of Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) for 70 California tribes was examined for this report. 

Tribal Transportation Funding

Tribal Transportation Public Outreach & Communications

Tribal Health, Education, and Community Development

Tribal Land Environmental Protection