May 2009

We are pleased to present our May 2009 newsletter on Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS). In this issue we discuss:

We are always posting new content to the CSS Clearinghouse website and are looking for your help in making the most up-to-date and comprehensive tool for CSS professionals. Please contribute any CSS-related case studies, research papers, news items, editorials, and presentations that you think the CSS community would find interesting. We are especially looking for content related to CSS and sustainability, and CSS and Complete Streets. If you have a great story "from the front line" relating to those two topics, or any other CSS topic, please contact us so we can find out more.

If you have any questions about contributing content, or anything else, please e-mail us at or call (212) 620-5660.

The team

The 2009 CSS Webinar Series

We are pleased to announce the 2009 CSS Webinar Series. These webinars will be presented by experts in their fields and will cover topics ranging from building capacity for implementing CSS, documenting the benefits of a CSS approach, and Complete Streets, among others. The webinars are free and open to all--professionals, advocates, policymakers, and citizens alike. To view a schedule of future webinars, register for webinar announcements, and view participation instructions, please click here.

The first webinar was held last month on April 16th and featured sustainable stormwater management. Wendi Goldsmith, President of the Bioengineering Group, Inc., and Clark Wilson of the USEPA Office of Smart Growth engaged a lively audience from around the world. To download the presentations and the Q&A session, please click here.

Sustainable Stormwater Management

Image Courtesy of Bioengineering Group, Inc.

In the nexus of population growth, increased travel demand, increased need for investment in transportation infrastructure, climate change and a host of other accelerating environmental issues, there is a demonstrated need for improved stormwater management systems. Further, growth in impervious surfaces has contributed to increased flooding, erosion and runoff contamination of waterways and wetlands, as well as rapid declines in many regions' water tables. Sustainable stormwater management practices are imperative to begin the reverse of those trends and should be part of delivering context sensitive transportation projects.

To assist practitioners in this area, a set of resources on sustainable stormwater management in the field of transportation planning and project development has recently been added to the CSS Clearinghouse website. The wealth of information that has been collected ranges from:

Please visit the new stormwater management page to view more reports, case studies, articles, and other content on sustainable stormwater management. The presentations and Q&A summary from the April 16th sustainable stormwater management webinar are also available here.

CSS Training Guide and Webinar

The Federal Highway Administration is pleased to announce that the official CSS Training Guide, entitled A Guide to Building CSS Knowledge and Skills for Successful Project Delivery, is now available online. Although the primary audience for the Training Guide is transportation agencies, this step-by-step, easy to navigate guide can help anyone interested in developing and/or delivering CSS related training to staff at varying levels.

Training Guide readers will develop a better understanding of (1) how other state DOTs have approached CSS training, (2) what CSS-related knowledge and skills are necessary for staff at different levels and in different functional areas, (3) what relevant courses exist for awareness, basic and specialized CSS knowledge, and skill building, (4) what elements comprise a successful educational support network, and (5) how to evaluate whether a training program is effective at improving staff CSS knowledge and skills. Use of the Guide will allow for development of a CSS educational/training program that is comprehensive and tailored to an agency's unique needs.

Published solely online, A Guide to Building CSS Knowledge and Skills for Successful Project Delivery will be updated regularly, allowing instant access to the breadth of tools needed for successful CSS staff training and implementation.

Learn more about the Guide's contents and online navigation by attending a free webinar on Thursday, May 14th, from 1:00 to 2:30 PM EST. The webinar will be presented by: Leigh Lane, Manager of Transportation Policy, and Lisa Murphy, Senior Planner for The Louis Berger Group in Raleigh, NC; and Keith Harrison, Safety/Geometric Design Engineer with the FHWA Resource Center, and will include a Q&A session.

To view the webinar on May 14th, please follow the directions here.

CSS National Dialog

FHWA and the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) at North Carolina State University, are partnering to initiate a National Dialog about CSS. The project will serve as a catalyst for an ongoing exchange of ideas and will build momentum for wider implementation of CSS in the transportation industry. The CSS community will be a key element to the success of the National Dialog. We would like you to submit case studies, reports, and other materials that you think meet the goals of the Dialog, which are to:

  • Introduce CSS principles and practices to a wide array of partner organizations
  • Identify CSS best practices and present them to transportation professionals across the nation
  • Strengthen and broaden interest in CSS
  • Discover new opportunities for partnerships
  • Bring new perspectives to planning, designing, building and maintaining transportation facilities
  • Foster a community of CSS practice and promote the dissemination of CSS best practice examples

The Dialog will feature a series of one-day workshops - tentatively planned to be held from June through December of 2009 in various locations across the US. Each workshop will highlight a CSS best practice, using a transportation project or program as a Workshop Spotlight to initiate discussion and interaction.

The workshops will be fully documented on the CSS Clearinghouse website, but workshops are just the beginning of the Dialog. The Dialog will continue on the CSS Clearinghouse - in discussion forums, as a part of the CSS webinar series, in the publication of new case studies, and much more!  A special website has also been established for workshop registration:

For questions on the CSS National Dialog, please contact:

David J. Carlson
Sustainable Transport and Climate Change Team
Office of Human and Natural Environment
Federal Highway Administration
Washington, DC

James Martin
Associate Director
Center for Transportation and the Environment
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC

Sustainability and CSS

Bighorn sheep at a wildlife crossing

We are currently developing a new sustainability section for the CSS Clearinghouse website. The new webpage will provide solutions for achieving sustainable outcomes through transportation projects.

To help us launch this new and important CSS webpage, we are soliciting content regarding CSS and sustainability. Please send us any case studies, reports, articles, state initiatives, regulations, and other materials that you feel will be of value. We would also love to hear your opinions on what is needed in the field of transportation to address some of our most pressing environmental concerns.

Please submit content through the CSS website or email us directly at Thank you!

Upcoming CSS Events

May 14, 2009: CSS Webinar: A Guide to Building CSS Knowledge and Skills for Successful Project Delivery,

May 17-21, 2009: The 12th TRB National Transportation Planning Applications Conference, Houston, TX,

May 28, 2009: Web Seminar: Integrating Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities in Constrained Right-of-Ways,

May 29, 2009: Maintaining Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement: A Hands-On Demonstration, Chicago, IL,

June 2-3, 2009: Data and Tools for Linking Goods Movement, Air Quality, and Transportation Infrastructure Decisions, Irvine, CA,

June 11, 2009: CSS Webinar: Complete Streets and Context Sensitive Solutions,

June 22-26, 2009, Comprehensive Bicycle and Pedestrian Design and Planning Course, Portland, OR,

June 23, 2009: EPA Webcast: Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure - Funding & Incentives and Brownfield Redevelopment,

July 19-22, 2009: TRB Joint Summer Meeting, Seattle, WA,

July 28, 2009: EPA Webcast: Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure - Retrofits: Green Streets and Operation & Maintenance,

July 28-29, 2009: 2009 Transportation Planning, Land Use, and Air Quality Conference, Denver, CO,

August 9-12, 2009: ITE 2009 Annual Meeting and Exhibit, San Antonio, TX,

September 13-17, 2009: The 2009 International Conference on Ecology & Transportation, Duluth, MN,

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