Oregon became the first DOT in the nation to formally merge the concepts of CSS with sustainability, in their approach Context Sensitive and Sustainable Solutions (CS3). While this concept was specifically developed for use on the 10 year OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Project, the delivery approach is in the process of being developed for use on all ODOT projects. The CS3 approach refines the goals of the original CSS program to more specifically address and support the goals of the Oregon Sustainability Act.
This approach has gained National Attention. In 2005, ODOT received FHWA’s Environmental Excellence Award for Environmental Streamlining, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Best Program Award for Environmental Excellence.
Oregon has also developed a programmatic approach to environmental permits as part of the bridge program / CS3). initiative. The programmatic approach was developed with ODOT, FHWA and state/federal resource agencies. It has resulted in "greener" bridges and significantly streamlined the permitting process. They are currently working to expand this programmatic approach to all of their highway projects.
They have also developed a web-based tool for calculating delay in work zones as part of the bridge program. The tool allows traffic engineers to quickly determine the delay that would occur from a variety of traffic management scenarios so they can choose the optimal alternative and minimize a project’s impacts on traffic movements. That tool is also being used in the rest of the agency. It allows them to calculate delay for a variety of activities where those calculations were never done (maintenance and utility work for example).
Other methods in which CSS is incorporated in to ODOT’s approach include the following:
Public involvement: We generally have a citizens' advisory committee that helps the project team identify and work through issues including purpose and need, range of alternatives to be evaluated in the NEPA document, evaluation criteria and preferred alternatives. We hold meetings with the general public at key milestones to gather their input. We include local representatives on a policy level team. Other activities include workshops, newsletters, press releases, and focused meetings with neighborhoods, business groups, and low income or minority groups. As needed, we provide translators at public meeting.
Agency involvement: We work through our Collaborative Environmental and Transportation Agreement on Streamlining group to get input on resource issues. That agreement includes the agencies concurring on purpose and need, range of alternatives evaluated in the NEPA document, criteria that will be used to evaluate alternatives, and the preferred alternative
James B. Cox Jr Assistant Branch Manager ODOT Major Projects Branch 680 Cottage St NE Salem, OR 97301 office (503) 986-6612 cell (503) 930-7620 fax (503) 986-4469
Oregon uses a Collaborative Dynamic Problem Solving model to ensure delivered projects incorporate important issues such as environmental and community impacts, mobility, diversity, and cost. By fostering genuine collaborative discussion and giving all parties’ opinions weight, project managers ensure that both communities and project team members feel comfortable with a decision.
Oregon uses a tailored approach regarding public involvement that depends on the unique nature of the specific project. For example, a project along a scenic river requires a more sensitive approach to pubic involvement than one in a community with fewer interested stakeholders and environmental considerations.
Oregon recently updated requirements and guidance for public involvement. The guidebook can be found at this link.