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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 69 · No. 5 > National Highway Institute(NHI)

Mar/Apr 2006
Vol. 69 · No. 5

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-2006-003

National Highway Institute(NHI)

Training Update

New NHI Course Promotes Context Sensitive Solutions

Due to increasing awareness of the impact of highways on the surrounding environment and communities, transportation agencies are exploring context sensitive solutions (CSS) when building and renovating roadways. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) defines CSS as "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."

Formerly known as "context sensitive design," CSS stresses the importance of working with community representatives to balance local, regional, and national transportation needs with the historic and natural environment and the needs of the community. This collaborative approach benefits agencies because it results in effective and timely decisions, attainment of public trust and support, positive relationships with resource agencies, delivery of safe and financially feasible project solutions, and improvement to the overall project delivery process.

Through a new course, Context Sensitive Solutions (#142050), the National Highway Institute (NHI) aims to further increase awareness of how to apply CSS in transportation planning, design, construction, and maintenance. The goal is to educate the transportation community about the human/social, natural/cultural, technical, and organizational contexts that should be considered when developing and implementing transportation solutions.

The course provides participants with the tools and techniques necessary to employ the CSS approach effectively to deliver timely and successful transportation projects. The format includes lectures, group and individual problem-solving exercises, interactive discussions, and references to publications and software.

Upon completing the course, participants will be able to do the following:

  • Understand the collaborative, interdisciplinary CSS approach as it applies to transportation projects (planning through construction stages) and the associated benefits
  • Recognize the value of early and continuous stakeholder involvement in ensuring effective and timely decisionmaking
  • Describe the flexibility afforded in applying industry design standards (such as the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets or "Green Book") while maintaining or improving roadway safety performance
  • Explain the importance of achieving environmental sensitivity
  • Discuss how incorporating aesthetics and community values and themes is an integral component of an effective design
  • Understand the best practices developed by FHWA's Federal Lands Highway Division and the CSS pilot States
  • Apply CSS in highway and bridge design without compromising safety
  • Identify the tools and techniques available to generate consensus among project stakeholders
  • Apply the course materials and related tools to deliver timely and successful CSS projects
 
New Jersey Transit's Rutherford train station at Station Square (shown here) used CSS to reconnect the main street with the station, improve bicycle access, and make the station a focal point for new infill development. The hub of the project is a new modern roundabout in front of the station, combined with pedestrian improvements along the streets that act as 'spokes' leading from the station throughout the downtown.
New Jersey Transit's Rutherford train station at Station Square (shown here) used CSS to reconnect the main street with the station, improve bicycle access, and make the station a focal point for new infill development. The hub of the project is a new modern roundabout in front of the station, combined with pedestrian improvements along the streets that act as "spokes" leading from the station throughout the downtown.

The course targets a broad audience that includes transportation planners; environmental specialists; highway, bridge, construction, and design engineers; and managers of Federal, State, and local highway transportation agencies.

For course scheduling, contact Sherron Monts at 703-235-0534. For more information, visit NHI's Web site at www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov. To learn more about other NHI courses, consult the course catalog available on the NHI Web site or contact NHI at 703-235-0500 (phone) or 703-235-0593 (fax). For more information on CSS, please visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/csd/.

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