The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is seeking proposals from qualified full-service, professional proposers with sufficient resources, experience, and ability to provide an array of communication services and educate the public-at-large, as well as specific audiences, regarding the $1.1 billion Clean California program. The program will reduce trash, expand efforts to remove trash from state thoroughfares, and enhance local streets and public spaces by working in collaboration with cities, counties, tribes, transit agencies, and private sector partners to fund local beautification and litter abatement projects.

The selected consultant will assist Caltrans in the development and execution of a three-year, multifaceted public outreach initiative to create a variety of well-coordinated and complementary statewide marketing campaigns, public relations activities, and media services designed to educate the public about Clean California and to change their behavior. By doing so, Caltrans and the selected consultant will create a deep, widespread, quantifiable, and sustainable cultural shift in public attitudes by engendering community pride and enthusiastic, effective civic action based on a shared understanding that will empower California to successfully address the interrelated economic, environmental, aesthetic, and public health problems caused by trash, littering, and illegal dumping. Education is a vital tool. It is necessary to create a cultural shift of shared responsibility for the cleanliness of our roadways through litter prevention education campaigns that focus on properly throwing away trash and the impact littering has on natural resources, waterways, public safety and health. Although it is a new program, the Clean California campaign will build upon previous anti-litter campaigns such as Protect Every Drop and Don’t Trash California.

The successful proposal will include a scope of work that lays out an approach to behavioral and market research, social marketing, advertising, public relations, public outreach, and gathers quantitative data to gauge effectiveness. The campaign shall be motivational and usable across California. Services to be provided include, but are not limited, to the following:

• Creating a Strategic Marketing and Communications Plan that ensures the priorities of diversity, equity, and inclusion are integral components of all Clean California activities and collateral. The Communication plan should provide an overall framework that meets the messaging needs of the state while providing flexibility to address regional issues, demographics and opportunities.

• Creating an Advertising Plan and products for traditional and non-traditional print, broadcast, digital, and social media.

• Promoting the different programs within the Clean California program.

• Coordinating statewide Media Relations.

• Conducting Public Outreach and Engagement.

• Recruiting young adults and businesses for Adopt-a-Highway participation.

• Creating an educational outreach strategy for school-age kids.

• Leveraging free partnerships with public figures (movie, sports, music, etc.) in the state of California that represent the diverse communities in the state.

• Leveraging relationships with non-profit organizations that are devoted to litter campaigns.


Trash has plagued California’s streets and highways for decades, undermining Caltrans’ vast public transportation system’s safety, efficiency, and aesthetics, as well as compromising the department’s commitment to addressing social equity and environmental impacts. Caltrans spends $60 million annually to remove litter from the highway, taxpayer dollars that could be invested elsewhere in maintaining the state’s highways. To address the many interconnected problems posed by trash, the $1.1 billion Clean California initiative will beautify communities through litter pick-up, community engagement, local projects and public education thereby transforming unsightly roadsides into shared public spaces of pride for all Californians.

Clean California will potentially fund projects in all of the state’s 58 counties, with a third of the funds going directly to cities, counties, tribes, and transit agencies to clean local streets and public spaces, creating career opportunities and jobs for veterans, students, artists, people experiencing homelessness, and those re-entering society from incarceration. Specifically, Clean California aims to invest: $418 million in litter abatement over three years; $287 million in state beautification projects over two years; $296 million in local beautification projects over two years; $62 million in project design, construction, local support and engagement; as well as $33 million for a three-year series of innovative and motivational public education campaigns. Showing progress will be crucial to help justify the need for additional funding.

Key Action Areas: 

• Engage & Invest in Communities: Create jobs while cleaning and beautifying local roads through community grants.

• Education: Drive a cultural shift of shared responsibility for the cleanliness of our roadways through litter prevention education campaigns that focus on properly throwing away trash and the impact littering has on natural resources, waterways, public safety and health. 

• Expand Litter Removal: Significantly reduce trash from state highways and local roads by strengthening trash collection by Caltrans, community service programs and Adopt-a-Highway volunteers. Increase access to waste facilities and provide free monthly disposal sites throughout the state.

• Enhance Infrastructure: Implement sustainable beautification projects.

Scope of Work

1. Contractor shall organize and coordinate a comprehensive statewide advertising campaign and marketing program and provide public relations and outreach activities to promote the Clean California programs and raise litter and pollution awareness in the state. 

2. Campaign elements shall include:

a. General Market Outreach (ages 18-49)

b. Targeted Hispanic outreach (non-English speakers)

c. Targeted non-English speaker outreach (excluding Spanish speakers)

d. Targeted young adult outreach (ages 20-35) for volunteering

e. Targeted business outreach for corporate volunteering

f. Targeted youth outreach (educational program, K-12)

g. Targeted community/grassroots group engagement

3. The contractor shall develop a statewide anti-litter advertising campaign that includes, but is not limited to, paid advertising, paid digital media, outdoor media, sponsorships, radio and television.

4. The contractor shall develop a statewide anti-litter public affairs and marketing program that includes, but is not limited to, social media, public service advertising, website design and content development and updates, and outreach.

5. The contractor shall, on an ongoing basis, continue to build strategic public and private partnerships that will help maximize resources, or added value, and increase the effectiveness of the campaign.

6. The contractor shall develop a volunteer recruitment marketing program for the Adopt-aHighway program. The program is offering stipends of up to $250 for litter clean-up to its volunteers.

7. The contractor shall effectively incorporate creative messaging for school-aged audiences.

8. The contractor shall conduct market research such as focus groups to test thecontractor’s proposed creative ideas, if applicable.

9. The contractor shall measure campaign effectiveness by conducting and completing an awareness study.

10. The contractor shall design and develop content for the website and provide updates throughout the campaign providing a variety of educational messages that publicize the Clean California programs.

11. The contractor shall develop content for social media platforms and provide updates throughout the campaign that provide a variety of educational messages publicizing the Clean California programs.

12. The contractor shall arrange media coverage and assist with the coordination of the annual Clean California Day of Action event.

13. Public service advertising that potentially feature celebrities and social media influencers and promotional materials (Letters of commitment requested).

14. Audience-specific musical and photography, video products, visual/graphic art, art installations, community cultural events, and public-private exhibits/events, etc.

15. Website design and content development to provide a variety of educational messages that will publicize the Clean California programs.

16. Social Media content, including messaging, photos, and video, will design and develop to provide a variety of educational messages that will publicize the Clean California programs through paid and unpaid media.

17. The contractor shall conduct market research by:

a. Compiling quantitative and qualitative research of behavior and campaign effectiveness.

b. Conducting message testing with target markets through formative assessment and research at predetermined intervals.

c. Collecting and analyzing statewide quantitative data before and at predetermined intervals during the campaign to measure the impact of the Clean California campaign on the public’s behavior regarding litter, trash and illegal dumping.

Questions and Answers

Questions regarding this RFP must be submitted in writing by Jan. 13, 2022. Proposers are encouraged to submit their written questions via e-mail to

Written questions must include the individual’s name, firm name, complete address and must reference RFP No. 95A0080. Questions must be sent to one of the following:

Email or mail to: 


Department of Transportation Division of Procurement and Contracts

Attention: Laurie Noble 1727 30th Street, MS 65 Sacramento, CA 95816-7006


The designated contact person for this RFP is: Laurie Noble Department of Transportation Email address: Phone: (279) 234-2411

Relevant agencies to consider include Edelman PR and Burson Marsteller.

You may also like...