Throughout U.S. history, there has been a strong relationship between streets, roads, highways, and bridges and the history and culture of places that grew around the transportation infrastructure. Roads and transportation are integral to the development of cities and towns and have become important cultural symbols of those places, whether it be Broadway in New York City or Route 1 along the Big Sur coast in California.
CSS is a tool to reestablish a better balance between the cultural, aesthetic, scenic, and other resources of a place with the design and purpose of the road. CSS begins with understanding specific resource elements that make up the context -- Aesthetic, Archeological, Community/Economic, Cultural, Environmental (or "Natural"), Historic, Recreational, and Scenic.
The origin of much highway legislation, and the roots of CSS, come from concerns about the impact of a road project on the natural environment - air and water quality, endangered species and animal habitats, and landscapes and vegetation.
Scenic resources are in part responsible for our emotional attachments to place, and this emotional dimension can make scenic resources difficult to describe or measure. Yet the importance of scenic resources requires that we develop ways to understand and measure them so we can better manage and protect them.
Context Assessment In order for a designer to be sensitive to the project's surrounding environment, he or she must consider its context and physical location carefully during this stage of project planning. Some of these issues to be considered are; the physical characteristics of the corridor, how is it being used, what are the existing conditions, and what is the make-up of the local population. more...
Flexibility in Highway Design
Byway Beginnings: Understanding, Inventorying, and Evaluating a Byway's Intrinsic Qualities
The purpose of this publication is to provide byway organizers and planners with information on how to conduct an inventory and evaluation of a byway's intrinsic qualities. It does this by answering the following questions: What is a scenic byway and what is the National Scenic Byways Program? Should I consider byway designation in my community? What are the first steps to organize a local byway effort? What intrinsic qualities must a road have to be considered a scenic byway? How can I shape an interpretive story for my road? Will my road be eligible for consideration as a National Scenic Byway? What do I need to do to submit a nomination for becoming a National Scenic Byway? What is included in a corridor management plan?
National Scenic Byways Program
National Park Service