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Federal Highway Administration / Publications / Focus / January/February 2003

Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations

Publication Number: FHWA-RD-03-014
Date: January/February 2003

Keeping Up with Context Sensitive Design

As more States embrace a context sensitive design (CSD) or context sensitive solutions (CSS) approach to building roads (see October 2002 Focus), the demand for CSD/CSS training and guidance has also increased. The following is a list of CSD/CSS resources currently available. In the works are new CSS training programs being developed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The National Transit Institute, an arm of the Federal Transit Administration, is also looking at developing a training course for CSS that will focus on transit-oriented issues related to context sensitive approaches to project implementation. These new programs will draw on State experiences in implementing CSS.

For more information on CSD/CSS, contact Seppo Sillan at FHWA, 202-366-1327 (fax: 202-366-3988; email: seppo.sillan@fhwa.dot.gov) or Harold Peaks at FHWA, 202-366-1598 (fax: 202-366-3409; email: harold.peaks@fhwa.dot.gov). Information is also available on FHWA's CSD/CSS Web sites: www.fhwa.dot.gov/csd and www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/csd.htm.

Training Courses

Context Sensitive Solutions: CDS and Beyond.This 2-day seminar offered by the American Society of Civil Engineers describes the what, why, and how of CSS, as well as the benefits. For more information, visit ASCE's Web site at http://www.asce.org/conted/seminars/index.cfm.

CSS Training: A Course for Transportation and Planning Professionals. This 5-day course offered by the Project for Public Places provides practical assistance and technical guidance in applying CSS. The three sessions focus on unique methods of evaluating and planning for road building in various places, how to handle trade-offs between highway agency mobility requirements and community needs, and consensus building techniques. For more information, see the course Web site at http://www.pps.org/transportation/.

CSS Workshops.Developed by the University of Kentucky Transportation Center (KTC), this series of CSS workshops concentrates on the project development phase. Although the workshops are specifically tailored to meet Kentucky's CSS needs, the KTC has modified and presented them in more than 12 other States. More information can be found at www.ktc.uky.edu.

Flexible Designs that Result in CSS.The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has developed a course that provides the tools and techniques required for flexible designs that result in CSS. The course covers the basics of CSS, such as flexibility of design standards and criteria, visualization techniques, building community consensus, tort liability, and funding issues. For more information, contact Steve A. Davis at PennDOT, 717-705-4171 (fax: 717-783-8217; email: sadavis@dot.state.pa.us).


Flexibility in Highway Design -This 1997 FHWA guide focuses on designing highways that incorporate community values and that move people and goods safely, efficiently, and effectively. The guide is available at www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/flex/index.htm.

Geometric Design Practices for European Roads-Mobility, Safety, Community Issues, Context-Sensitive Design -This report describes a joint FHWA/AASHTO International Technology Exchange Program to Europe in June 2001. It can be found online at http://international.fhwa.dot.gov/geometric_design/.

A Guide to Best Practices for Achieving Context Sensitive Solutions (NCHRP Report 480)-Published in December 2002, this comprehensive guide demonstrates how transportation agencies can incorporate context sensitivity into their transportation project development work. The guide's sections include "Effective Decision Making," "Reflecting Community Values," and "Achieving Environmental Sensitivity." Also included are case studies and information on key resources and references. The report's accompanying CD-ROM includes a matrix of project development process steps and background material on CSS. Copies of the guide, which costs $21, can be ordered at http://gulliver.trb.org/bookstore/ or by sending a request to the Transportation Research Board, Business Office, 500 5th St., NW, Washington, DC 20001. For more information on the guide and National Cooperative Highway Research Program CSD/CSS projects, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/csd/trb.cfm.

When Main Street is a State Highway-Blending Function, Beauty, and Identity -Published by the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) in 2001, this handbook presents ideas on organizing, developing, and working cooperatively on highway improvements that are in line with community goals and transportation needs. To order a copy, contact the SHA Office of Communications at 410-545-0310.

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Updated: 06/27/2017
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