Integration of Context Sensitive Solutions in the Transportation Planning Process
The Center for Transportation and the Environment
North Carolina State University
Questions or Comments to:
Ann Hartell, MRP
Since the 1998 "Thinking Beyond the Pavement" Workshop, the national movement of the use of Context Sensitive Solutions for project development is well documented. Better understanding of the application of CSS principles in the long range planning process will further enable appropriate, cost-effective, and successful integration and application into the planning and project development process to inform and influence context sensitive design/solutions in a more widespread and consistent manner. The goal of this project is to investigate emerging successful practices, case studies, and policy guidance that shed light on integrating CSS principles in the long range transportation process.
Items to be addressed include, but are not limited to the following:
- A thorough exploration to discover what communities and/or States have integrated CSS and planning.
- How such planning differs from traditional planning.
- The challenges and obstacles associated with integrating CSS and planning.
- The community impact of such planning.
- The presence of CSS in a community's Long Range Transportation Plan or Transportation Improvement Program.
- The potential for CSS to help streamline transportation decisionmaking.
The following section is the annotated bibliography that was carried out in fulfillment of Task 2.1 of the project. It includes descriptions of documents that discuss CSS in planning in a general way, examples of applications of CSS in planning in a number of states and regions across the country, and some policies that direct the application of CSS principles in transportation planning processes.
Task 2.1: Literature Review
The objective of the literature review is to ensure that a synthesis of context sensitive solutions (CSS) initiatives in the transportation planning process are identified and described for inclusion in the report. The literature review also helps provide a background for the case studies.
An extensive list of keywords and phrases were used to identify CSS principles being applied in planning through public, private governmental and CSS related websites, publications, conference proceedings, transportation research organizations and professional entities.
The following lists some of the keywords and phrases used throughout Task 2.1.
- Community engagement in transportation planning
- Public involvement in transportation planning
- Stakeholder involvement in transportation planning
- Multi-disciplinary planning teams
- Regional transportation planning
- Land use and transportation planning integration
- Land use, transportation and air quality planning
- Livability policy
- Livable communities policy
- Sustainability policy
- Design-oriented planning
- Transportation planning and urban design
- Form based codes and transportation
- Transportation planning and scenario building
- Land use and transportation scenarios
- Long range plan visioning
- Strategic transportation planning
- Transportation planning and environmental considerations
- GIS in transportation planning
- Transportation planning and smart growth
- Planning for sustainable transportation
Lazzara, J. and L. Arrigoni. 2004. "Context sensitive solutions: A collaborative process for planning, design and construction." Transportation Builder, Vol. 16, No. 6; pp. 35-37.
This article details an example of collaborative processes for planning, design and construction, in this case the Franklin Orleans Street Bridge of the Chicago River. In a special design process called Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS), project stakeholders like merchants, hoteliers, and residents play an integral planning role. A citizen advisory committee is formed, and public outreach leads to better information dissemination, the article states. CSS policy development at various Departments of Transportation are listed, along with some CSS basic tenets. The article concludes with further development of existing CSS policies in Illinois.
Brach, A.M. 2005. "A taxonomy for stakeholder involvement in public sector transportation research and technology programs." Public Works Management & Policy, Vol. 9, No. 3; pp. 223-231.
Stakeholder involvement has become critical in transportation research over the past two decades as constituencies that had previously shown little interest in research began to realize that federal and state government decisions about research priorities could influence market opportunities and public policy. Providing for stakeholder involvement in a research program means giving those interested in the research opportunities to help shape the program. This article develops a taxonomy for stakeholder involvement in public sector transportation research programs based on the purpose of the research, sponsorship of the research, and stages of the research management process. Four types of stakeholders are identified: sponsors, experts, users and affected parties, and their potential roles at each stage of the research management process are discussed. The article identifies four general types of mechanisms for stakeholder involvement, from the least formal to the most formal mechanism, and provides guidelines for their use in the context of the taxonomy for stakeholder involvement. The taxonomy developed in this paper can help transportation research program managers develop practical approaches for stakeholder involvement.
Hoover, J.; McDowell, B.; Sciara, G.C. 2004. Transit at the Table: A Guide to Participation in Metropolitan Decisionmaking. Parsons Brinckerhoff, Report No. VA-90-1004-04-1; 88p.
This report presents the observations, perspectives, and recommendations of a cross-section of transit agencies from large metropolitan areas on how to secure positions in the metropolitan planning process. More importantly, the report can be a guide on how to use those positions to win policy and program support for priority transit services. The challenges to achieving full decision-making partnerships in regional settings, the most effective strategies for addressing these challenges, and the rewards of partnerships are presented by transit industry leaders using their own experiences. While the primary audience for this report is transit general managers and transit senior staff, important messages are included for other key stakeholders. Because the overall effectiveness of a Metropolitan Planning Organization rises and falls with the depth of the decision-making partnerships, suggestions and strategies presented in this report represent significant opportunities for improving current practice. Key findings of the report were also used in preparing a self-assessment checklist for transit operations in assessing their profile and participation in metropolitan planning. The indicators are generic and not exhaustive. As such, the questions should be regarded as only the starting point for subsequent discussion focused on local issues. This checklist is located in Appendix A of the report. This report is a product of the Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program and can be found at http://www.planning.dot.gov/ as a metropolitan planning technical resource.
Levine, J. and A. Inam. 2004. "The market for transportation-land use integration: Do developers want smarter growth than regulations allow?" Transportation, Vol. 31, No. 4; pp. 409-427.
Policy reform efforts have recently assumed that manipulating land uses in the direction of smart growth alternatives can improve travel behavior. This notion of manipulating land uses implies that the alternative is somehow self- organized or market-based, which may underestimate the extent to which current planning interventions in the United States impose an automobile-oriented template on most new development. Rather than a market failure, the paucity of smart growth alternatives may be a planning failure. This problem definition would shift the burden of proof for policy reform, as uncertainty in travel behavior benefits would hardly justify the continuation of exclusionary regulations. If municipal regulations in fact constrain alternatives to low-density, automobile-oriented development, one would expect developers to perceive unsatisfied market interest in such development. This article studies, through a national survey, U.S. developers' perceptions of the market for pedestrian- and transit-oriented development forms. Findings show that respondents perceive considerable market interest in alternative development forms, but believe that there is inadequate supply of such alternatives relative to market demand. Developer-respondents attribute this gap between supply and demand principally to local government regulation. The majority of developers indicated that relaxation of these regulations would lead them to develop in a denser and more mixed-use fashion, particularly in close-in suburban locales. These results can be interpreted in favor of land policy reform based on the expansion of choice in transportation and land use.
Sen, S. and L.M. Azonobi. 2004. Environmental justice in transportation planning and policy: Some evidence from practice in the Baltimore-Washington DC metropolitan region. Morgan State University, National Transportation Center, Report No. 0102-006; Final Report; 51p.
The purpose of this report is to answer two broad research questions: (1) How is environmental justice in transportation addressed and implemented to take into account low-income populations and minority communities and their needs, problems, and aspirations? and (2) How are environmental justice data and concerns incorporated into the transportation decision-making process? The research employed multiple methods. These included a literature review; qualitative interviews with transportation planners, practitioners and policy makers, and other stakeholders in transportation planning and policy in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. metropolitan area; and a focus group in Baltimore. The primary analytical framework was drawn from critical ethnography and studies of practice and discourse in public policy. Three different views of environmental justice emerged from this study of the Baltimore-Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Most private consulting firms in the area are engaged in environmental justice because it is a source of job and contracts. Most public officials in the region are engaged in environmental justice and public participation because it is a federal regulation and requirement. However, most citizen and advocacy groups in the region consider environmental justice and its implementation as part of the agency's mission. The lack of uniform standards regarding environmental justice issues, coupled with scarcity of information, as well as the complexity of the issues, are all obstacles to implementing and enforcing environmental justice principles. Access to information is an important issue for community organizations, advocacy groups, low income and minority groups. Public agencies often hold meetings at places that are not easily accessible, or at times difficult for transit dependent, low-income, and minority populations to attend. It is recommended that transportation agencies in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. metropolitan area take a proactive stance in involving low-income and minority communities in the transportation policy and planning process. This should involve establishing outreach programs through nonprofit organizations, minority institutions, and advocacy groups that already play significant roles in these communities.
TPRAC Minutes, VDOT Richmond District Training Center, Context-Sensitive Solutions in Large Central Cities (Thursday May 27, 2004)
The Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service's Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at New York University has released a summary of the proceedings and findings from a peer-to-peer workshop on context-sensitive design solutions held on June 19-20, 2003,in New York, NY."
Context Sensitive Solutions, Federal Highway Administration, January 6, 2005
"This report summarizes the current and recently completed activities of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) program. These are CSS focused efforts being pursued in support of achieving the FHWA Vital Few Goal of improving environmental stewardship and environmental streamlining. CSS offers agencies the concepts and strategies to reach a consensus on transportation improvement solutions through the balancing of multiple objectives and stakeholder desires (e.g., safety, mobility, environmental, financial, land owner, and community values)."
Transportation Research Board. Interim Planning Activities for a Future Strategic Highway Research Program: Study 4 - Capacity. Prepared for: Future Strategic Highway Research Program
"At the same time that customers demand new highway capacity, they also demand a healthy environment and livable communities. Frequently, these needs are regarded as conflicting because of understandable concerns about adverse impacts of highways. In recent years, the highway program has focused more on providing context-sensitive design, mitigating environmental impacts, and addressing community values via better public involvement. Indeed, it is widely recognized that the highway development process must address a wide range of concerns, including efficiency, safety, aesthetics, environment, and community livability. Yet, many of the existing methods, tools, and institutional approaches to highway planning and development do not foster an integrated approach."
Also, "Context sensitive design is an interdisciplinary approach focused on developing transportation facilities that simultaneously advance the objectives of safety, mobility, enhancement of the natural environment, and preservation and enhancement of scenic, aesthetic, and community values. Because developing projects that meet these objectives goes beyond simply focusing on the design toward the end of the project, this concept has been expanded to address all aspects of project development, as is often called "context sensitive solutions."
Applications: Streamlining Planning Strategies
Delaware Smart Growth Transportation Strategies, Robert Kleinburd, Environmental Program Manager
In 2001 the state governor announced a planning agenda to promote Smart Growth development called "Livable Delaware." The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) adopted a series of strategies to support the governor's statewide agenda. DelDOT appoints representatives to local/county Development Advisory Committees, which create site plan reviews and municipal transportation ordinances as part of land development. Certain counties can enable themselves to deny approval of development plans that would worsen traffic congestion. In addition, DelDOT will participate in on-going corridor coordination to facilitate preservation efforts.
For more information on Livable Delaware and how it relates to enhanced transportation planning in Delaware see: http://www.state.de.us/planning/livedel/
Maryland Expert Panel Utilized to Identify Probable Development Patterns, Dan Johnson, Environmental Protection Specialist
The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) and FHWA Maryland Division have sponsored expert panel discussions to explore the future of Routes 42, 43, 270, and the Intercounty Connector (ICC). Discussions concerning land use near the ICC have been very extensive. Members on the ICC panel include representatives from academia, bankers, realtors, regional planners, and transit planners. At the meetings, panel members review local planning assumptions based on factors such as demographic and economic projections. In addition, the expert group explores long term cumulative and secondary impacts resulting from future projects. The panels use the Delphi Approach to brainstorm ideas and a contracted facilitator from CH2MHill to get to consensus. All sessions are open to the public.
For more information on the land use and the ICC see: http://www.iccstudy.org/StudiesUnderway.php?pageId=21
Integrating NEPA and Statewide Transportation Planning Pilot, Elton Chang, Environmental Coordinator
Under the Integrating NEPA and Statewide Transportation Planning Pilot, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is moving the first tier of a tiered NEPA process into the planning process. The first tier, called a Location Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), addresses the location of a proposed facility at the corridor level and addresses the modal question. The first tier includes stakeholder involvement and NEPA approvals to purchase ROW where necessary to protect the corridor. Approval to move to final design is acquired later through a second tier document, called a Design EIS, prepared during the project development phase. Using this approach, ODOT will have the information needed to make sound project decisions. Decisions will then be linked to commitments that can protect corridors prior to funding and implementation. ODOT believes that total project delivery time will be shortened and land use patterns will be developed that are more compatible with proposed facilities.
"Hear Every Voice" Public Involvement Process, Cheryl Martin, Environmental Engineer
In 1999, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) finalized a new public involvement process called "Hear Every Voice." The process guides Mn/DOT staff on how to involve the public, including non-traditional stakeholders, early and often in transportation planning and decisionmaking.
http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/strmlng/PDFs/md_hev.pdf (PDF, 38 kb)
Caltrans/FHWA/EPA Partnership Pilot, Stephanie Stoermer, Environmental Program Manager
Under the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS)/Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)/U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Partnership Pilot, the three agencies are developing joint initiatives that will help reduce project delays while collaboratively meeting transportation and environmental protection priorities. The goal of the pilot is to facilitate the incorporation of environmental concerns into the regional transportation planning process. The pilot will also foster interagency cooperation, enhancing the quality of the tools, guidance, and project management techniques needed to evaluate project impacts. As a first step, an interagency needs assessment and a team-building workshop were conducted in 1999.
http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/strmlng/PDFs/ca_epacaltran.pdf (PDF, 200 kb)
Florida DOT's Efficient Transportation Decision Making (ETDM) Process, Peter McGilvray, Environmental Resource Manager
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), FHWA, and all of the federal and state resource agencies with which FDOT works have joined in a cooperative effort to completely redesign the planning, permitting, and project review process to more efficiently and effectively time and incorporate environmental data, project review, and the technical assistance that resource agencies can provide. The resulting Efficient Transportation Decision Making process (ETDM) links land use, transportation, and environmental resource planning and facilitates early and interactive involvement to produce better and more consensual environmental outcomes. Through electronic data sharing and comment entry, maps can be viewed and comments filed and read by others on-line at various stages in the process. As a result, FDOT expects more efficient and effective environmental stewardship, along with considerable reductions in delays, project changes, and challenges associated with project development, permitting, and consultation. The process is expected to improve the quality of decisions and environmental investments.
The ETDM process involves two environmental screening stages, one of the long-range plan and another of the Transportation Improvement Program. Consequently, both screens will occur considerably earlier in the project development process than they do now. Environmental Technical Advisory Teams (ETAT) in each of Florida's seven districts will coordinate the screens. The ETA Teams will consist of FDOT district staff and planning and regulatory staff from the resource agencies, a staffing commitment that FDOT plans to support. Each ETAT representative will have responsibility to coordinate internally at their agency and represent responses and positions to FDOT and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). During planning, the team's role is advisory and includes input on regulatory and planning programs and priorities, avoidance and minimization options, and mitigation alternatives, leading to more accurate estimation of project costs. Secondary and cumulative effects are evaluated on a project and system-wide basis in connection with the planning screen, so that the interrelationship between land use, ecosystem management, and mobility plans can be considered in integrated planning across the agencies.
The role of the ETAT changes from advisor during planning to coordinator during project development. The ETAT input covers agency scoping requirements, and ETAT members coordinate with their agency and FDOT's project managers during project development to issue construction permits simultaneously with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Record of Decision. As a project advances into the project development and design phases, the ETAT continues to provide project input and technical assistance to the project sponsor to satisfy permit requirements under multiple environmental laws. The ETAT also identifies, defines, and participates in technical studies needed for permitting decisions. Criteria are being developed for categorically excluding certain projects from permitting, enabling early approvals for less complex projects.
The overall process is expected to reduce the number of projects subject to detailed reviews and to enable teams to focus on key environmental issues in their districts. An electronic database system provides the vehicle for information exchange to and from ETAT members regarding project plans, impacts, and recommendations or requirements. The database system will be housed at the University of Florida GeoPlan Center, and all project and resource data will reside in the GeoPlan Center's Florida Geographic Data Library (FGDL). All geographic information systems (GIS) analyses will be performed within the FGDL system so ETAT members will only need an Internet connection to view and comment on the results of GIS analyses.
Washington State Department of Transportation's Watershed Approach to Mitigation Siting, Richard Gersib
In 1996, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) shifted from mitigating impacts on a project-by-project basis to analyzing mitigation opportunities based on watersheds. Previously, mitigation was designed on a project-by-project basis, irrespective of the top watershed and needs.
The watershed approach is a community based environmental decisionmaking process that coordinates and integrates human activities to implement watershed recovery efforts and to prevent further degradation of natural resources within large drainage basins. WSDOT targets mitigation investments to sites offering the greatest ecological benefits, a key feature of their approach and promotes partnerships with interested public, private, and non-profit organizations. The watershed approach offers the opportunity to comprehensively plan and offer solutions to achieve economically productive and ecologically sustainable watersheds that are necessary for the well being of all species, habitats, individuals and businesses within the state.
Initiatives directly contributing to the watershed approach at the WSDOT include the Department's Wetlands Strategic Plan, the Fish Passage Barrier Removal Grant Program, the Advanced Environmental Mitigation Revolving Account, Stormwater Retrofit Grants, Flood Management Strategy, and Capital Budget Coordination. A common theme in each of these initiatives is the establishment of incentives for targeting mitigation investments to sites that protect, preserve, or restore key components of the watershed, yielding substantial benefits for the state as a whole.
Recently, WSDOT began developing and implementing a more formal, scientific approach to watershed assessment and the identification of alternative mitigation sites. This effort is based on WSDOT's desire to provide more environmentally responsible mitigation that is, at the same time, more cost-effective. Additional impetus for this work was provided by the Transportation Efficiency and Accountability Committee, a committee created by Washington State's Environmental Permit Streamlining Act.
Watershed characterization methods seek a more complete understanding of project effects, the condition of surrounding natural resources, and opportunities to mitigate those effects. The final product is a list of potential mitigation options that have the greatest opportunity to maximize environmental benefit while reducing the costs of stormwater treatment and wetland/natural resource impacts. To maximize environmental benefit, efforts focus on the recovery of ecosystem processes. To minimize cost, efforts focus on mitigation which restores natural systems rather than expensive in-right-of-way solutions such as stormwater vaults. This approach requires an interdisciplinary technical team including a hydrologist, hydrogeologist, ecologist, biologist, Geographical Information Systems specialist, and a water quality specialist.
Communicating with local governments and local watershed planning groups early in the assessment process creates additional opportunities for the collection and use of locally developed data and recovery priorities. While the timing of this process has some built-in flexibility, it is intended to occur during early stages of project planning. WSDOT envisions that it be applied where major mitigation challenges are expected or for large (and/or multiple) transportation projects in a watershed. As of January, 2004, WSDOT has completed two tests of the methodology, learning valuable lessons while producing useful results for project management teams.
Applications: State DOT Initiatives
California Department of Transportation (CalTrans)
While much of Caltrans' efforts are project and design oriented, their CSS approach does seek to ensure that transportation facilities are a community asset and compatible with their context. As part of a community-sensitive approach to decision-making, the Office of Community Planning (OCP) was created. OCP seeks to integrate transportation, land use and community values, in part through public engagement and in part through serving as a resource center on livable communities and smart growth. An example of this effort is the publication "Main Streets: Flexibility in Design and Operations". CalTrans won the "2004 Best Practices in Smart Growth and Transportation" award from AASHTO for "Context Sensitive Solutions: Changing the Culture".
CEO Leadership Forum - State Strategic Initiatives, Connecticut DOT Segment
Implementation of Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) as a part of the project development process.
CSS is a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to project development involving all stakeholders at the earliest phase of a project. The goals of the CSS process is to ensure that transportation projects are in harmony with the community and preserve those attributes that are important to the community.
What challenges has your organization encountered in implementing these initiatives?
The CSS process requires that DOT personnel and external stakeholders change their attitudes with respect to the project development process. The training of DOT and external stakeholders is perhaps the most critical challenge in implementing the CSS process due to the need to change attitudes. All participants must be able to understand the CSS process and realize that the process is collaborative in nature and therefore requires a high level of communication and participation. Engineers must learn to communicate - both by speaking and listening - in lay terms that the public can understand. External stakeholders must understand that the DOT is willing to participate in discussions that will lead to a project in harmony with the community concerns. The adversarial roles of both groups need to change and both internal DOT and external stakeholders need to work in a cooperative fashion for the good of the community and the project's purpose and need. Developing a purpose and need for the transportation project that adequately defines and addresses both the transportation and community requirements is another challenge facing implementation of a CSS process.
What lessons have been learned during this process?
Communication is the key to the success of a CSS process. Training of both internal and external stakeholders is an ongoing process that must be maintained for the process to be successful. The process also requires that DOT management have a high level of commitment and involvement in the process and this involvement must become a part of the culture of the agency.
What follow-up actions are needed from AASHTO, TRB, or FHWA that would help support these initiatives?
Continued involvement and support of agency initiatives in the CSS area. AASHTO, FHWA and TRB have the ability to provide forums for introducing the process to both agencies and the public. Development of best practices and continual updating of information on the CSS process and its implementation will help all parties to the project development process improve the relationships that are critical for bring projects to fruition in a timely and appropriate manner."
Maryland State Highway Administration (MSHA)
MSHA's "Thinking Beyond the Pavement" (TBTP) workshop in 1998 introduced CSD concepts to much of the transportation industry. While much of MSHA's efforts remain project and design oriented, the TBTP process does seek to integrate transportation and land use planning. TBTP supports growth management through its focus on transportation being an asset to people, communities and businesses, as well as an emphasis on environmental protection. The goals of TBTP include TSM, multi-modality, livable communities, community compatibility and provide a balanced transportation system. An example of this effort is the publication "When Main Street is a State Highway".
Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)
MnDOT and the Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, are working in partnership to expand use of CSD&S within the state. As part of an education and outreach effort MnDOT is cohosting the Midwest CSD&S Workshop in August 2005, which includes an "Integrating CSS into systems planning" module. MnDOT's public involvement program "proactively seek[s] early and continuous public input and involvement so that MnDOT is responsive and accountable to its traditional and nontraditional stakeholders, communicates effectively with the public, and makes the best possible transportation decisions... and enhancing the quality of life..." MnDOT uses tools such as surveys and market studies to incorporate public input into the long range plan vision.
Montana Transportation Choices, Context Sensitive Highway Design (November 2003)
"Context sensitive design (CSD) is a set of ideas and principles developed and promoted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). According to FHWA:
Context sensitive design is a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach that involves all stakeholders to develop a transportation facility that fits its physical setting and preserves scenic, aesthetic, historic, and environmental resources, while maintaining safety and mobility. CSD is an approach that considers the total context within which a transportation improvement project will exist."
"Real context sensitive design processes are those that:
- Balance safety, mobility, community, and environmental goals in all projects;
- Involve the public and affected agencies early and continuously;
- Use an interdisciplinary team tailored to project needs;
- Address all modes of travel;
- Apply flexibility inherent in design standards; and incorporate aesthetics as an integral part of good design."
New Hampshire DOT; Powerpoint Presentation, Burwell
"One of the Vital Few Strategies is for FHWA to provide guidance, information, and training to States on "integrating the planning and environmental processes" and encouraging context-sensitive solutions/context- sensitive design (CSS/CSD)." http://www.contextsensitivesolutions.org/
"Strengthen transportation/land use partnerships by applying context sensitive solutions (CSS) strategies to project development process, design and construction."
New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) & New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ TRANSIT)
NJDOT and NJ TRANSIT created Transportation Choices 2025 as a strategic vision to guide both development and transportation. This effort included using a multi-modal travel demand model to evaluate different transportation and land use scenarios. Outcomes from this process include multi-modal, sustainable development and similar Smart Growth goals in the Long Range Transportation Plan, as well as programs dealing with environmental and urban center issues. NJDOT and NJ TRANSIT lead a multi-agency partnership known as the Transit Village Initiative. This initiative helps redevelop and revitalize communities around transit stations while also improving air quality and mobility. Designation as a Transit Village commits the state to the locality's vision for the redevelopment area, with state agencies coordinated by the Transit Village task force.
Five-Year Building Program (Utah)
"Utah has a statewide, comprehensive capital plan, the Five-Year Building Program that is centrally prioritized by the State Building Board based on set criteria. The capital plan is well-linked with the state's capital budget. The Department of Transportation's (DOT) capital planning process involves multiple plans and is very thorough. DOT has made use of innovative methods to garner public input in project planning, including the use of truck-mounted billboards driven along corridors and other methods of bringing the public-input process to the public. The agency is also committed to seeking context-sensitive solutions for projects, which typically requires significant public input. Monitoring of state construction projects is good, and monitoring of DOT projects is excellent."
Look Ahead: Multimodal Corridor Solutions. Planning in Advance of Funding (UDOT, Utah)
"...For that reason, 3500 South's stakeholders would have to share in the project's decision-making as well as the responsibility for the results... Each agency is very good at its main focus, but not everything," says Angelo Papastamos, UDOT's Context-Sensitive Solutions Director. "Traditionally, a DOT looked at roadway capacity and safety problems alone, not collaboratively. In the 3500 South Corridor, citizens saw other community needs, including land-use, as an equally important consideration because this is where they live. As such, we needed the close involvement of the West Valley City government, which has the power to shape zoning and land use ordinances. To see how transit would meld in, we needed the involvement of the UTA [Utah Transit Authority]. And to ensure that the corridor's future fits with the region's long-range plans, we needed the involvement of the metropolitan planning organization [MPO]-in our case, the Wasatch Front Regional Commission."
Applications: Regional Initiatives
Thurston Regional Planning Commission (TRPC, Washington)
In 2003 TRPC initiated the Vision Reality Task Force, made up of elected officials and citizen advisors, to examine disconnects between transportation and land use visions and the implementation of these visions. The Task Force also identified emerging opportunities and new partnerships and strategies that could help reconnect vision and implementation. The report, completed in early 2005, includes proposed actions for local agencies as well as new regional initiatives. An overarching goal is to harness market forces to enhance opportunities and minimize impacts along the I-5 and SR 507 corridors. Smaller scale projects involve the Capitol Way Corridor Study and Boulevard Road Studies, both of which are addressing multi-modal and livability issues.
Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC, Washington)
PSRC has initiated a plan update, called Vision 2020 + 20, that is meant to provide a shared regional vision that is clear, complete and measurable. The major goal is development of integrated and coordinated land use, multi-modal transportation and economic development strategies. The effort is informed by past growth management experience, new information ranging from public health to energy consumption, and issues identified through extensive public engagement activities. PSRC's public participation plan calls for "ensure early and continuous public notification about and participation in major actions and decisions". Destination 2030, the regional transportation plan, seeks to balance mobility with livability and sustainability needs while implementing the regional vision.
Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA)
GRTA recently completed the Northern Sub-Area (NSA) Study for 1,000 square miles of metropolitan Atlanta. The NSA involved developing alternative transportation "futures" or scenarios, assessing the effects of alternative land development policies on the transportation system, and evaluating ways to increase multi-modal efficiency on existing corridors. Public engagement to determine values and priorities was a critical element of all four parts of the NSA process. The Study is a multi-jurisdictional approach to solving regional transportation system problems.
Applications: Long Range Transportation Plans
Move Arizona Long Range Transportation Plan - August 2004, Environmental Concerns Focus Group
Nine individuals representing state parks, national parks and forests, and air quality planners participated in the Environmental Concerns focus group on September 26, 2002. Participants of this group identified the following issues: · Access and tourism - Providing access to recreational facilities, parks, and forests is critical for quality of life and tourism to the State. At the same time, access to sensitive natural areas raises substantial concerns and the need to mitigate impacts of transportation. Context sensitive design and growth controls will help protect resources."
California Department Of Transportation, District 5 Transportation Concept Report, Prepared for: State Route 41, San Luis Obispo County
"Although SR 41 serves a significant purpose for transporting City of Morro Bay and Atascadero residents, improvements through these communities could incorporate local land use policies in order to improve traffic flow while providing infrastructure that blends with the existing built environment and each communities historical context. Improvements to the route shall contribute to a circulation plan that considers the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles. Public improvements in the respective downtowns and incorporated community mainstreets should create a "walkable" community that encourages pedestrian, bicycling, and social activity."
Big Sur Coast Highway Management Plan 2003 - Highway 1 (California); Strategy B-2: Context Sensitive Solutions
Application of standard highway design elements that are associated with freeway and urban settings appear out of place on the Big Sur Coast. Exploring the possibilities with flexibility in highway design is necessary. Furthermore, stakeholder involvement in a collaborative decision-making process is key. The Guidelines for Corridor Aesthetics are especially relevant to this subject. B-2.1 Seek experimental applications for alternative aesthetic design treatments for construction of new features, such as guardrail, or retrofit of existing roadside features, such as paddle markers. (Caltrans, Immediate) B-2.2 Establish a reliable approach to improve effective stakeholder participation at various stages of decision-making, from non-essential sign requests to alternatives for a capital improvement. (Caltrans, Immediate)"
State of Connecticut - 2004 Long Range Transportation Plan
From the long range plan - "Continue to employ and promote the use of context-sensitive solutions, including early project coordination and well-planned construction management, for all transportation projects in order to meet the needs of the State, its regional interests, and local communities during planning, design and construction. Continue to seek public input early in the transportation planning process, and employ context sensitive solutions to preserve the character of rural village centers and natural and historic resources. Encourage transportation projects that support and preserve the community character, especially in rural centers and historic areas, through the use of context-sensitive design practices and support of federal Enhancement Program funding for streetscapes and recreation trails."
Broward County Long Range Transportation Plan (Florida), George Hadley, Env. Coordinator
The Broward County Transportation Planning Committee used a range of improvements to upgrade the transportation system in Broward County, Florida. Together, these improvements are known as the 2025 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), a multimodal approach to infrastructure development that had three main categories: air quality improvements, livable communities, and non-motorized transportation. The Committee worked with city governments, state-wide transportation administrations, neighboring counties and ordinary citizens in creating a plan to increase bicycle and pedestrian access around the county as well as improving mass transit. The LRTP also included more than 40 meetings and public workshops in order to include as much of the public as possible.
INDOT 2030 Long Range Transportation Plan - 2004 (Indiana)
"Refine the roadway classification system of statewide mobility corridors, regional mobility corridors and local access roadways to provide a classification for Special Transportation Areas where context sensitive solutions and special access management treatments will be considered to deal with the unique characteristics of the area."
A Guide to Transportation Enhancements. Quality of Life of the Community (Missouri)
The quality and feasibility of the project is a vital factor in its success. Describe how the project will complement existing facilities or future plans for the local area. Be sure to describe the context-sensitive solutions that make the project stand-alone. The project may provide connections between residential areas and parks, schools or industrial areas. It may link more than one mode of transportation. These are valuable social impacts. If the project boosts the local economy due to an increase in tourism, the applicant has created a positive economic impact."
2025 Long Range Transportation Plan, Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council (New York)
"The ITCTC is supportive of the application of Context Sensitive Solutions in the design of transportation projects. Every project funded through the ITCTC Transportation Improvement Program includes a scoping phase to collect local input on the needs of the affected parties and the local community. A roads' cross section, including lane width, provision of road shoulders, sidewalks, etc., is determined on a project by project basis depending on the needs of the area and the input obtained in the scoping phase of the project."
Tennessee Long Range Transportation Plan. Goals, Objectives, and Policies, August 2005
"Promote and implement context-sensitive solutions and balance safety, mobility, community, and environmental goals in all projects."
Long Range Transportation Plan 2030, Utah Department of Transportation
Section 1.3 of the Plan - "In July 2001, UDOT adopted the Context Sensitive Solutions philosophy (CSS) to guide our approach to doing business. Although formalized at that time, the CSS philosophy has been evolving over time within the Department, as it has become clear that considerations in addition to highway design standards must be weighed in making system decisions that connect communities and preserve and improve our quality of life."
UnJAM 2025 Plan 5/13/2004 (Virginia)
Context Sensitive Solutions: An approach to roadway planning and design that develops appropriate, varying designs for different segments of the road as it passes through communities, neighborhoods, and rural areas.
Washington State DOT Centennial Accord Plan 2003
Resources mentioned in this document - Context sensitive solutions/design and community partnership resources.
Policies: Environmental Streamlining
Efficient Transportation Decision-Making Memorandum of Understanding (Florida), George Hadley, Env. Coordinator
In December 2001, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) management, and managers from nearly 20 other Federal and state agencies, including the Chair of the Florida Metropolitan Planning Organization Advisory Council, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop the efficient transportation decision-making (ETDM) process. The MOU is an umbrella agreement that outlines how the involved agencies and organizations will work together to implement the ETDM process, which will create and use linkages between land use, transportation, and environmental resource planning through early and continuous agency involvement. Electronic databases and communication techniques will be used during planning and program development for all NEPA decisions. In addition, as outlined in the MOU, an Environmental Technical Advisory Team (ETAT) in each Florida transportation district will coordinate environmental screening events during the planning process. At these screening events, ETATs (composed of Federal and state agencies) will coordinate agreement on the purpose and need, the alternatives for the proposed action, the identification of appropriate environmental studies, and each study's scope. The scope will then be built upon during the project development and environmental process. ETATs will also advise FDOT, FHWA, FTA, and Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Florida of issues that need to be addressed in order to ensure the issuance of permits at the conclusion of the project development and environmental processes. FHWA and FDOT are now working with participating agencies to develop agency-resource specific Memorandum of Agreements and standard operating procedures to formalize the ETDM process throughout the state.
Download the MOU in the Library section at: http://fdotenvironmentalstreamlining.urs-tally.com/. For more information on ETDM, visit http://www.dot.state.fl.us/emo/.
Policies: Community Asset/Smart Growth/Livability/Sustainable Development
Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)
ODOT's Transportation System Planning (TSP) program involves early coordination with review agencies and local governments as well as creation of a public involvement program. The TSP is an important mechanism for integration of land use and transportation plans. Its intent is to minimize human and natural environment impacts and to determine community values and goals. The Transportation and Growth Management Program (TGM) is a joint effort of ODOT and the Department of Land Conservation and Development. TGM has published a number of CSS related documents, including "Main Street - When a highway runs through it", "Neighborhood Street Design Guidelines" and "Narrow Streets".
Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT)
UDOT adopted CSS guiding principles in 2001. In addition to the principles of Transportation Need, Community Asset and Environmentally Compatible, four strategic goals define a successful project - "CSS for transportation issues includes a process that: 1) Identifies community values early in the process, 2) Understands the context, 3) Uses collaborative decision-making to connect communities and improve quality of life, and 4) Balances the community, the environment, and the transportation system". Public involvement is a key element of transportation planning and informed decision-making, which is one reason UDOT collaborates with Envision Utah.
Blueprint, Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG, California)
SACOG's "Blueprint" project is a comprehensive examination of regional land use patterns, using cutting edge modeling tools to estimate transportation, air quality, economic and other effects of current land use patterns, and to develop a comprehensive land use scenario for the next 50 years. The project was created within a framework of public outreach and engagement. Blueprint provides a vision of how the region may grow and change in the future. In 2004 USEPA recognized Blueprint with a smart growth award for it innovative approach to development that strengthens community identity and protects the environment.
Compass, Southern California Council of Governments (SCAG)
SCAG's "Compass" project is a regional visioning process which brought together a wide range of stakeholders to develop a consensus for a shared growth vision. The project involved extensive public engagement, developing principles to guide the vision and process, and creating growth scenarios which were then evaluated based on objective criteria. Compass includes not only a preferred growth scenario but outlines key strategies for implementation and benchmarks to measure progress.
UnJAM 2025, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC, Virginia)
TJPCD's United Jefferson Area Mobility Plan (UnJAM 2025) combines the Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Transportation (CHART) Plan for the MPO area with the Rural Area Transportation Long-Range Plan for the five- county planning district. Public engagement efforts started with brainstorming policies and projects, then identified and prioritized regional transportation needs. Development scenarios were created, data was provided on costs, benefits and impacts, and a preferred scenario selected to coordinate transportation and land use plans. UnJAM 2025 is in many ways an extension of TJPDC's earlier work with CorPlan - a community-scaled planning model developed with TCSP funds.
Oahu Trans 2K, Honolulu City and County (Hawaii)
Oahu Trans 2K is a visioning process initiated in 1999 that has led to the development of the Islandwide Mobility Concept Plan as well as major multi-modal projects ranging from traffic calming to bicycle master plans to BRT. Trans 2K is a community-based process aimed at creating an integrated, multi-modal transportation system. The process included the work of 19 community teams and hundreds of meetings, workshops and forums to define a balanced, integrated transportation vision for the Oahu. The overarching goal was to create increased accessibility to livable communities, with the intent that solutions would be both sustainable and economically sound.
Mapping for a Millennium, Teton County (Wyoming)
Mapping for a Millennium is a series of charrettes aimed at redevelopment of important corridors within Teton County, which serves as a gateway to both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and which is itself a tourist destination. These charrettes were initiated with the assistance of the Urban Land Institute and in coordination with Wyoming DOT. Transportation issues are closely linked with community preservation, affordable housing and compact development patterns. The Teton County charrettes were part of the 2003 Domestic Scan Tour on land use and transportation coordination.
ETDM Process, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)
FDOT's Efficient Transportation Decision Making (ETDM) Process is a commitment of early and continuous agency involvement in a collaborative and cooperative approach. The process involves two screening efforts, the Planning Screen and the Programming Screen, followed by Project Development. Agencies which review transportation projects must resolve disputes with FDOT before a project can proceed. ETDM seeks to balance human and natural environmental consideration within the decision making process.
Metropolitan Council (Minneapolis-St. Paul's Regional Planning Agency, Minnesota)
The Metropolitan Council has adopted the 2030 Regional Planning Framework to guide and coordinate four regional systems - transportation, aviation, parks and wastewater - based on Smart Growth principles with the goals of creating livable communities and protecting the environment. Their Transportation Policy Plan is highly multi- modal, with a strong transit component, and strongly integrated with land use. Council efforts also include tools such as the St. Croix Valley Development Design Study, which provides localities with methods of creating walkable communities to accommodate growth anticipated after a bridge project.
Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC, Florida)
In 1995 the TCRPC adopted the Strategic Regional Policy Plan which illustrated the benefits, costs and impacts of different development scenarios. The Policy Plan contains a vision section and all of the goals and policies tie into the vision. The Future of the Region section discusses development patterns at scales ranging from regional to neighborhood. The vision outlines and illustrates efficient, context-sensitive development. Related projects include a TOD for downtown West Palm Beach and a master plan charrette for north St. Lucie County.
Envision Utah, in collaboration with Utah DOT, Wasatch Front Regional Council and Mountainland Association of Governments, is engaged in Wasatch Choices 2040, a four county land use and transportation visioning process. Local elected officials and citizens will be extensively engaged throughout this process. This will involve assessment of various development scenarios in an attempt to reach consensus on a shared regional vision. Growth principles developed through this process will guide the long range transportation plans of the two MPOs. Envision Utah's general process involves Inventory, Scenario Development, Quality Growth Strategy and Implementation, all of which include values research, surveys, workshops, presentations and community design workshops.
Resource Center, San Francisco
Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
Resource Center, Lakewood