How Context Sensitive Streets Can Help Create a More Livable Community

How context sensitive streets can help create more livable communities; some of the varied transportation needs and objectives that are typically considered in CSSD.

1.2 How Can Context Sensitive Streets Help Create a More Livable Community?


Many communities in the Atlanta Region and across the U.S. realize that designing neighborhoods, sub-divisions, business districts and shopping centers around the automobile has diminished, not enhanced the quality of life. Some of the basic transportation elements that must be restored to improve community livability include:


• A connected network of sidewalks and bike routes,

• Safe, dependable and accessible travel options for community members who cannot afford a car or can't drive,

• Affordable transit that gets people to job centers, retail centers, and recreation facilities,

• Traffic management in neighborhoods, "main" streets, shopping centers and downtowns, that is compatible with bicycling and walking.


While the car offers us a high level of accessibility, people's ability to move and to reach destinations is often constrained by traffic congestion. An important factor in our decision to use other modes of transportation is based on how long one could be stuck in traffic on the highways and freeways. Walking and bicycling, on the other hand, offer many people cost effective personal mobility, yet there are very few places that are easily accessible to non-motorized modes of travel. Many children can ride bikes in their neighborhoods, but visiting friends 1-2 miles away or riding to school is difficult or not safe, particularly if the trip involves crossing an arterial.


Most people opt not to walk or bike because the route to the store or park is indirect, does not have sidewalks and there are too many fast cars competing for the road space. Taking the bus can be equally frustrating. The bus stop is frequently too far from work or home, or the bus service is infrequent or slow, and few amenities are available. (Compare these travel conditions to the expectations, comfort features, and amenity options available for motorists: identified and paved path / travel lane, way-finding signs, carpeting, entertainment, music and news, climate control, many places to stop to refuel, and a even place to rest your beverage!) These are only a few of the varying and valid transportation needs and objectives of a community that are typically considered in Context Sensitive Street Design (CSSD). Additionally, CSSD designers and planners must also take into account the role of the entire right-of-way as public space, and the role of the street in shaping the character, function and livability of adjacent land uses and neighborhoods.

Feedback, questions, comments, or problems?

Copyright © 2005 Context Sensitive All rights reserved.
About Us | Site Map | Privacy Policy

United States Department of Transportation - logo
Privacy Policy | Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) | Accessibility | Web Policies & Notices | No Fear Act | Report Waste, Fraud and Abuse | U.S. DOT Home | |

Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000