Introduction to Context Sensitive Solutions

The principles of Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) apply to any transportation project aiming to bring the full range of stakeholder values to the table and actively incorporate them into the design process and final results.

CSS begins early and continues throughout the entire project development process -- from project concepts through alternative studies and into construction, and beyond into maintenance and monitoring improvements. CSS means maintaining commitments to communities.

CSS recognizes that highway and transit projects are not just the responsibility or concern of engineers and constructors. For that matter, they are not only the responsibility of the Department of Transportation or transportation agency. Rather, CSS calls for the interdisciplinary collaboration of technical professionals, local community interest groups, landowners, facility users, and the general public -- including any and all stakeholders who live and work near the road, and those who will use it. It is through this process and this team approach that the owning agency gains an understanding and appreciation of community values and strives to incorporate or address these values in the evolution of its projects.

CSS applies essentially anywhere and everywhere because every project has a context as defined by terrain and topography, communities, users, and surrounding land use.

The Federal Highway Administration defines context sensitive solutions as:

"Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) 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.CSS is an approach that considers the total context within which a transportation improvement project will exist. CSS principles include the employment of early, continuous and meaningful involvement of the public and all stakeholders throughout the project development process."