CSS & Design

Design is both a process and a product.  This section focuses on the product of CSS - visible results on streets and roads. That is what people and communities see and experience, whether it is a Main Street or a scenic rural road.    CSS is creating new approaches to the flexible application of design controls and standards and more attention to pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit.  Explore this section to also view case studies and examples of "flexible" design elements in practice around the U.S. and internationally.

CSS Design Controls and Criteria
  Under Context Sensitive Solutions, new approaches are being developed to the application of criteria and standards so that streets and roads can better fit in their context.
CSS and Transportation Modes
  CSS calls on transportation professionals to consider the needs of all road users--motor-vehicles, transit, as well as pedestrians and cyclists. Consideration of pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit requires special design features and elements be incorporated into the design of the facility.
CSS Design Examples
  Learn more about new directions in road design, and see examples of built CSS projects. Projects are cross-referenced by specific types of design features and elements.
Article Icon Article / Paper / Report Design Guidance for Great Streets: Addressing Context Sensitivity for Major Urban Streets
This paper presents the progress of a joint project of the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Congress for the New Urbanism. Together, the two organizations are working to prepare guidance for context sensitive design of major urban streets, drawing on principles and techniques from the new urbanist and smart growth movements. New urbanism is a movement in planning, design and development that is re-establishing compact, walkable and environmentally sustainable neighborhoods, cities and towns. Smart growth is an approach to development and conservation that advocates, among other objectives, strengthening and directing development toward existing communities and fostering distinctive and attractive places. Streets that are both beautiful and functional -- great streets -- will advance the objectives of both movements as well as the practice of context sensitive design.

In addition to addressing design criteria in the project's deliverables, CNU and ITE will be working in three areas crucial to implementation of our principles at scales from the region to the building: network design; understanding of context and community character; and revisions to the functional class system. Work on these topics by a multidisciplinary group of CNU and ITE member-practitioners is in its earliest stages. This paper introduces the project in its "project history and overview" section and then presents findings of initial work on a literature review being conducted as a project start-up task. The emphasis of the literature review is evaluation of conventional and innovative street design resources to assess their contributions to the project's aims.
--  Congress for New Urbanism (CNU)
Institute of Transportation Engineers

Article Icon Presentation Design Guidelines & Safety
This PowerPoint presentation from the Kentucky Transportation Center considers who and what to consider during the road-planning process. Lots of provocative pictures and diagrams.
--  Kentucky Transportation Center
Article Icon Article / Paper / Report Geometric Design Practices for European Roads
A properly designed roadway takes into consideration mobility and safety while addressing natural and human environmental aspects. To achieve such a balance, tradeoffs among these factors are needed and are routinely performed either explicitly or implicitly. Recently, an emphasis has been placed on the existing flexibility in design guidelines and the use of creative design in addressing the site-specific project needs has been encouraged. This philosophy was coined in the United States as context-sensitive design (CSD) and represents an approach in which a balance is sought between safety and mobility needs within the community interests. Both the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recognize the flexibility that exists in the current design guidelines, while acknowledging that the current focus on providing high levels of mobility may conflict with some interests of the community. The use of multi-disciplinary teams and public involvement at the appropriate stages of the project are also aspects that promote the application of CSD. Research and workshops have increased awareness of CSD issues within the highway community and encouraged a desire to improve and enhance established roadway design practices and address elements of community interest.
--  American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officals
Federal Highway Administration

Book Icon Book Flexibility in Highway Design
A guide about designing highways that incorporate community values and are safe, efficient, and effective. It is written for highway engineers and project managers who want to learn more about flexibility available to them when designing roads and illustrates successful approaches used in other highway projects. The guide aims also at provoking innovative thinking for fully considering the scenic, historic, aesthetic, and other cultural values of communities, along with safety and mobility needs.
--  Federal Highway Administration
Article Icon Article / Paper / Report Flexible Design of New Jersey's Main Streets
If the problem is defined as the need to move traffic quickly through a community, it will lead to one set of design solutions. If the problem is defined as the need to preserve livability in the face of growing traffic, it will lead to another set of design solutions. The innovative designs proposed by engineers during the New Jersey Department of Transportation's (DOT's) Context-Sensitive Design Training Course show that different problem definitions can lead to very different design solutions.
-- Reid Ewing, Michael King; Voorhes Transportation Policy Institute; Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy, Rutgers University

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