- Barrier Aesthetics
- Blue Star Memorial Highways
- Classified Landscaped Freeways
- Community ID
- Context Sensitive Solutions
- Erosion Control Toolbox
- Gateway Monuments
- Main Streets
- Mission Bells
- New Product Review
- Policy and Procedures
- Roadside Toolbox
- Safety Roadside Rest Area System
- Scenic Highways
- Transportation Art
- Visual Impact Assessment Outlines
- VIA Training
- Water Conservation
Context Sensitive Solutions
Quality transportation design is the culmination of philosophy and principles in the project development process that provides a transportation system that enhances the place in which it serves. Whether a project is in an urban, rural or natural setting, the transportation facility must be in harmony with the community goals and the natural environment. The purpose of this website is to provide Caltrans roadway and roadside designers and its partners with information on the Caltrans CSS policy, and the guidance, tools, links, and examples to understand the CSS philosophy. Using the CSS process to engage stakeholders early and continuously in transportation decision-making ensures the protection and enhancement of the environment and quality of life while meeting the multi-modal transportation needs in California.
Director's Policy on Context Sensitive Solutions
Caltrans Implementation Plan for Context Sensitive Solutions
DD 64 Complete Streets - Integrating the Transportation System
Highway Design Manual Philosophy
The Highway Design Manual philosophy mirrors the concepts of Context Sensitive Solutions. This philosophy for the project development process seeks to provide a degree of mobility to users of the transportation system that is in balance with other values. Caltrans policies, practices, or mandatory design standards provides a guide for highway designers to exercise sound judgment in applying the policies, practices, or standards consistent with this philosophy. This flexibility is the foundation of highway design and highway designers must strive to provide for the needs of all highway users in balance with the needs of the local community and the context of the project. Caltrans policies, practices or mandatory design standards allow sufficient flexibility in order to encourage independent designs that fit the needs of each situation.
HDM Topic 82 - Application of Standards
The policies, practices or mandatory design standards used for any project should meet the minimum guidance given to the maximum extent feasible, but the philosophy provides for the use of nonstandard design when such use best satisfies the concerns of a given situation. Deviations from the Caltrans policies, practices or mandatory design standards requires review and approval for nonstandard design through the exception process (see Index 82.2 of the Highway Design Manual) and should be discussed early in the planning and design process.
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has a number of policies that encourage designers to respond to community values where state highways serve as main streets. This booklet identifies design opportunities that a local community may desire in the context of their downtown while assuring safe and efficient operations for pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicles and highway workers.
Caltrans Landscape Architects' role in implementing the Director's Policy (DP #22) on Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) is to work on the development of highway improvement projects on the PDT, project managers, project engineer and other functions to engage stakeholders at the earliest phases of project development. Landscape Architects use of innovative tools and techniques early on projects fosters creative interaction between Caltrans and communities to ensure highways coexist harmoniously with the natural and built environments. They are lead professionals responsible for transportation system improvements that balance safety mobility, maintainability, and economic needs with adjacent land use and aesthetic, environment, scenic and community values; address multi-modal needs; maximize worker and traveler safety; and preserve and enhance the environment through sustainable solutions.
Caltrans HQ CSS Coordinator in the HQ Division of Design Landscape Architecture Program (LAP) develops, and promotes the use of design flexibility guidance for use on projects to implement CSS to meet community goals; continuously works on identification of successful examples of CSS application to market and improve understanding of CSS for project delivery efficiencies; develops and promotes implementation of training on the application of CSS; and works on revisions of Department manuals, policy, procedures, and standards to align with the Director’s Policy on CSS.
More information regarding Context Sensitive Solutions is available on the following sites:
Links to Other Websites for Information Regarding Context Sensitive Solutions
Public Involvement and the Organizational Landscape - State Departments of Transportation Undergo a Cultural Shift
FHWA and AASHTO
FHWA's Publication Flexibility in Highway Design
TRB Draft CSS Guidelines
Context Sensitive Solutions
FHWA CSS National Dialog2
FHWA- A Guide to Transportation Decision Making
MnDOT 2004 Research Paper, "Increasing the Value of Public Involvement in Transportation Project Planning"
Another excellent site on public involvement, MnDOTs Public Involvement Process, "Hear Every Voice":
Minnesota DOT Guide to Public Involvement
FHWA Public Involvement Techniques for Transportation Decision Making
Caltrans Office of Community Planning Public Participation Guide
NCHRP Report 480 A Guide for Best Practices for Achieving CSS