Assessment of Copper Theft in Caltrans District 7 Electrical Systems

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Assessment of Copper Theft in Caltrans District 7 Electrical Systems


This study delves into the pervasive issue of wire theft within transportation infrastructure and investigates its profound impact on the financial and operational facets of Department of Transportation agencies. Focused on evaluating wire theft in California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 7 (D7) electrical systems from 2020 to 2022, the research sheds light on the substantial burden posed by theft incidents. The analysis uncovers a remarkable surge in repair costs over two years, escalating by a staggering 143%, from $507K to $1,232K, with labor costs nearly doubling and equipment expenses tripling. Lighting systems are highlighted as the most affected, followed by ramp metering, sign lighting, traffic signals, and communication systems. Geospatial analysis precisely pinpoints specific areas, such as Downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood, as primary targets, with high poverty rates and scrapyard locations aligning with theft hotspots. Recommendations are provided to fortify preventive measures, standardize data collection processes, and document comprehensive project information to effectively address wire theft challenges. The study strongly advocates for proactive strategies to mitigate theft-related disruptions, bolster infrastructure security, and optimize maintenance practices for sustained long-term efficiency.



Mr. Yazdani is a Senior Transportation Electrical Engineer at the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), leading a dedicated team overseeing the construction of crucial electrical projects for roadways. He began his career in the private sector, focusing on electrical systems in places such as data centers and providing consultancy services for Southern California Edison. With a Professional Engineer license and a recent MS in Transportation Management from San José State University, complementing his BS in Electrical Engineering, Fred seamlessly blends his expertise in transportation and electrical engineering.

January 2024
Electric wire



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