Context Sensitive Solutions:Purpose of Tool:
Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) provide a different approach to the planning and design of transportation projects. CSS encompass a collaborative and cooperative approach to ensure that a transportation facility fits within the character of the physical setting and preserves scenic, aesthetic, historic, and environmental resources, while maintaining the safety and mobility of the facility. CSS consider the total “context” or environment/character within which a transportation improvement project is located. CSS principles include the employment of early, continuous, and meaningful involvement of the public and all stakeholders throughout the project development process.
Benefits of Using Tool:
The utilization of CSS can positively affect transportation projects. The following describe the important benefits of CSS:
These benefits provide a good business practice by obtaining early acceptance of the project and moving the project through the development process efficiently.
Steps Involved to Use Tool:
The following principles are typically taken in implementing CSS into the project development process:
Special Requirements to Use Tool:
The utilization of CSS is a new approach to transportation planning and implementation. CSS implementation ensures that transportation, community, and environmental goals are all on an equal footing, rather than solely relying on transportation goals and traditional engineering as the primary driver for all project design decisions. This multi-faceted approach is a challenge for integrating CSS into transportation agencies and overall transportation decision-making, in order to satisfy the goals for the varying disciplines (transportation, environmental, community development, etc.). Some agencies are integrating this process on a project-by-project basis, while others are implementing it throughout their entire organizations. Regardless of the approach, the utilization of CSS is a paradigm shift in the focus of transportation projects.
Specials Resources Needed to Use Tool:
A key to integrating CSS into transportation planning is the understanding of the human/built and natural environment. To implement CSS, new and different types of data for the project, such as adjacent land uses, are needed, as well as different systems for managing, analyzing, and displaying data. These data are used to improve the understanding of the interactions between transportation facilities and the communities they serve. In addition, a successful CSS process includes extensive public involvement from the onset of the project.
Communities / Agencies that Have Used Tool:
The following agencies have successfully implemented CSS:
Massachusetts Highway Department
10 Park Plaza, Suite 3170
Boston, MA 02116
Washington State Department of Transportation
310 Maple Park Avenue
PO Box 47300
Olympia, WA 98504
Mark Wilkes - Director of Transportation
Chatham Urban Transportation
Metrics to Use to Monitor Tool Effectiveness:
The Chatham County-Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission has implemented their CSS guidelines in order to preserve the historic and coastal character of the community.
The Utah DOT was awarded notable practices by AASHTO for the institutionalization of CSS into its business practices. Utah’s approach to integrating CSS across the agency demonstrated a commitment to make communities better. UDOT incorporated performance measures to measure the success of the CSS process, including using stakeholder surveys to measure success of the CSS process, and using community committees to measure effectiveness of contractors during construction.
List of Resources to Obtain Additional Info: