CSS projects require enhanced roles for professionals in analyzing problems, reaching consensus, and developing solutions as members of an inter-disciplinary project team. These roles might be as resources, facilitators, proposers and vision implementation.
Transportation engineers are problem solvers. For 50 years they have been successfully solving the problem of how to make traffic move faster. Now they have a new problem to solve: how to use transportation to build communities. To solve this problem, they need new sets of tools and training.
Transportation engineers can make traffic move slowly just as easily as they can make it more fast. No one has asked them to make it move slower so that pedestrians, transit and bicycle can also be accommodated, until now.
At the early stage of a project, the energy and experiences of an outside design professional, can help set the broader framework for project success. Landscape architects and other design professionals can be part of the project implementation team, a third party who can act as a visioning moderator, or someone who has "been there before" and understands the concepts of community partnership or CSD. These professionals can often suggest innovations that the group may not think up on its own.
Role of Community Stakeholders
The role of communities is changing. More and more DOTs are recognizing communities as transportation customers and clients. As such, they have a key role to play, primarily in shaping the problem definition, project goals and vision early on in the planning process.
Utilizing Transportation Engineers As A Resource "Professionals are key to involve in the visioning process as resources. For example, WS DOT recommends selecting a transportation engineer who brings a broad perspective, technical knowledge and problem solving abilities to the table." more...
Building Projects that Build Communities: Recommended Best Practices
Article / Paper / Report
NCHRP Document 69: Performance Measures for Context Sensitive Solutions - A Guidebook for State DOTs
Around the country, groups of stakeholders ranging from local elected officials to citizen activists and interest groups are working hand-in-hand with transportation agencies to create projects that incorporate community values and are safe, efficient, effective mechanisms for the movement of people and goods. Vital to the success of these efforts is a movement among state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) to strengthen holistic, collaborative and inter-disciplinary philosophies for governing the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of transportation infrastructure.
On the Road to Profits
The unprecedented involvement of communities in transportation projects is providing new opportunities for landscape architects.
The role for landscape architects in the transportation process is that they are particularly skilled in consensus building, conflict resolution, and team building.
-- Bill Welsh
Article / Paper / Report
A Road to Match Mountains
The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway is such a technological marvel that it points to a plight of this profession - a job so well done that, to the untrained eye, the hand of the landscape architect is never seen. In this new century, when landscape architects are rewarded for projects where their mark is obvious and avant-garde, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a paragon of a time when design appeared subordinate to nature - and to people's pure enjoyment of it.
"The parkway," noted its chief designer and landscape architect Stanley Abbott, "has but one reason for existence, which is to please by revealing the charm and interest of the native American countryside...The idea is to fit the parkway into the mountains as if nature has put it there."
-- Kim OﾒConnell and Mary Myers
East Main Street Westminster, MD
One community's concern over
the proposed removal of mature
trees to widen the main
street of a historic district
compelled state officials to dispatch
a landscape architect to direct
Citizen-Generated Design Plans In "Citizen-Generated Design Plans," Donal R. Simpson describes a process whereby communities hired their own design professional to help them to develop design plans that "successfully bridge the communications gap between citizens and highway agencies... Independent technical assistance can help the community articulate its desired and positions....define the community values that the road design must respect and protect. It also should deal with the functional requirements of the roadway and propose technical changes or design exceptions required for the road to fit into the community.  more...
Community Impact Assessment
Starting With People "It hasn't been common practice. However, it makes perfect sense that the central starting point for planning improvement in any community should be the people within it. These people - the ones who live, work, go to school or otherwise spend major time there - are the prime line to the community's pulse. Because they are there, they know what's actually going on and can provide the small details and insights into major issues, salient needs and promising assets. If they are asked to do so!
"Part of a team member's or stakeholders responsibility is to keep his or her organization informed."
Hear Every Voice: A Guide to Public Involvement at Mn/DOT