Listed below are recent developments pertinent to context sensitive solutions from the past six months. If you would like to suggest a recent development on this topic, please submit a short description to AASHTO (including any pertinent links) on the Share Info with AASHTO form.
The United Nations Environmental Program has released two reports that provide recommendations on development of better cities. The Weight of Cities: Resource Requirements of Future Urbanization recommends the transition to low-carbon and resource efficient cities via compact growth, resource monitoring, better connections by affordable transit, and establishing a new model for city governance to support new policies. The second report, Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Transitions in the ASEAN Region: A Resource Perspective, analyzes future urbanization in Southeast Asia. The report encourages the development of compact, mixed-use cities; land-use planning that prevents slum formation; construction of resilient buildings and electricity grids; and profitable exchanges of waste energy and materials. For more information, link to the announcement. (2-9-18)
The Federal Highway Administration has issued a case study describing the use of context sensitive solutions principles by the North Dakota Department of Transportation for the U.S. 85 Watford City Bypass project. The report found that NDDOT has strong relationships with other federal and state agencies and with tribal governments. NDDOT also has a high degree of coordination within the agency and emphasizes in-person outreach to the public. Additionally, the report found that the CSS approach and flexible design concepts used on the bypass project helped to minimize impacts to both the human and natural environment and helped earn the project an award. For more information, link to the report. (11-29-17)
Two case studies of context sensitive solutions technical assistance meetings hosted by the Federal Highway Administration have been added to the agency’s database of CSS case studies. The two case studies focus on separate meetings conducted in Florida and in North Dakota. Florida’s meeting focused on implementation of its complete streets approach in the state. North Dakota Department of Transportation focused its technical assistance on the U.S. Highway 85 Watford City Bypass, which incorporated CSS principles. For more information, link to the Florida and North Dakota case studies or to the FHWA case studies database. (11-1-17)
The Federal Highway Administration has released four case studies that illustrate the application of a Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) framework to the process of addressing transportation challenges and integrating resiliency strategies into the operations of state departments of transportation. Based on technical assistance provided to state DOTs, the case studies show how the principles of CSS can be applied to state and local resiliency planning, incorporated into a practical design checklist, used to inform design flexibility, and used to improve project design and performance metrics. For more information, link to case studies for Delaware, Idaho, Minnesota and Washington. (8-9-17)
A performance-based approach for highway geometric design is proposed in a report produced under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. The report, A Performance-Based Highway Geometric Design Process (NCHRP Report 839), includes a brief history of highway design in the U.S., including recent advances, and recommends that multimodal solutions be addressed in the geometric design process. The report includes principles for an effective highway design process, such as including quantitative measures of transportation performance in design solutions. It also provides potential approaches to updating the AASHTO geometric design guidance (the Green Book). For more information, link to the report. (4-14-17)
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) hosted a webinar to discuss the use of context sensitive solutions (CSS) and environmental justice (EJ) to enhance livability on April 12, 2017. The webinar was sponsored by FHWA's Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty and included a discussion of stakeholder engagement strategies, identification of adverse impacts and implementation of CSS to improve livability in disadvantaged communities. The webinar also included a discussion of how CSS and EJ principles can be better incorporated into the transportation decisionmaking process. The link to the webinar recording is available here.
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