Under CSS, transportation professionals and communities are developing new ways of working together within the traditional transportation project development process. Transportation agencies are also moving beyond the typical "public involvement" approach to create new collaborative partnerships with stakeholder groups.
The statement of purpose and need under the CSS process is reflective of not only a transportation needs assessment, but also of a statement of environmental values, and community values. In addition to "purpose and need", there are other approaches to broadly identify problems for CSS projects, to create visions, and to establish project goals or criteria, which can later serve as measures for evaluating the project upon its completion.
The evaluation of project alternatives and alternative designs (including non-traditional solutions, such as using alternative routes or modes) is important because it allows stakeholders the ability to assess the advantages and disadvantages of a variety of approaches to addressing a project's "purpose and need."
The final design is crucial in determining the project's ultimate impacts on the road's context. Strategies to keep track of comments made in earlier phases are an essential part of a quality design process.
As a consensus-building process, a CSS project can speed up and ease the review and approval processes. Rather than waiting until the end of the project for review and approvals by other state and local agencies, these entities are involved as stakeholders in the process from the very beginning. Identification of community concerns and participation in the process early on, also helps avoid conflict and community opposition at the approvals stage of a project.
Stakeholders may have concerns about and maintain interest in the details of final design and construction, primarily about mitigation methods and techniques put into place to reduce the impact on communities of project construction. It also is important for agencies to communicate changes to the project that may occur in the post-planning project phase, from changes to the plan, schedule delays, reductions in funding for mitigation or community-desired improvements (or VE), changes to construction detours, and to ensure that "commitments made during the project development process are ...honored during the final design and construction phases of the project."
The maintenance of CSS roads involves more than cleaning and repair, but includes ongoing monitoring and modifications of road operations and design. CSS principles are often carried through under maintenance and operation agreements with communities.
Both qualitative and quantitative performance measures are used to provide feedback and to improve other CSS projects. These measures range from award programs (NYSDOT) to traffic counts and other "hard" data.
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Project Development - CSS Quick Facts
Project development implies a significant focus and investment in delivery of constructed projects. This includes identifying and refining the preferred alternative, achieving the final project approvals (including NEPA) and funding, and designing and building the project. CSS integration focuses on making detailed design decision, managing risks and building the project in response to its context.
Project Development After a project has been planned and programmed for implementation, it moves
into the project development phase. The basic steps in this stage include the following: refinement of purpose and need, development of a range of alternatives (including the "no-build" and traffic management system [TMS] options), evaluation of alternatives and their impact on the natural and
built environments, and development of appropriate mitigation.
"The cost of context-sensitive design is not the issue. The demand for this type of design has become an expectation of our society. Spending more time up front planning with community involvement will save costs - and time - by not having to redesign later."