Milestones in the history of CSS show how the field has evolved beginning
in 1969 and gaining momentum in the late 1990s.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is passed, requiring transportation
agencies to consider adverse impacts of road projects on the environment.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
established the National Highway System (NHS) Task Force in December 1988 to
look beyond Interstate completion; AASHTO Board of Directors recommended the
creation of a National Highway System.
AASHTO adopted the National Highway System Design Standards policy on April
11, 1994, Pittsburgh, PA. The relevant portion of that policy is: BE IT FURTHER
RESOLVED that the Member Departments of AASHTO will work through AASHTO's design
standards committees with DOT and with interested parties on design criteria
and a design process for NHS routes that integrate safety, environmental, scenic,
historic, community and preservation concerns, and on standards which also foster
access for bicycles and pedestrian traffic along with other transportation modes.
NHS Designation Act was enacted in November 1995. Section 109a of Title 23,
United States Code. The relevant portion of that policy is:
Rehabilitation of highway on the National Highway System (other than a highway
also on the Interstate System) may take into account [in addition to safety,
durability and economy of maintenance and to conform to the particular needs
of each locality]... the constructed and natural environment of the area; the
environmental, scenic, aesthetic, historic, community, and preservation impacts
of the activity; and access for other modes of transportation.
FHWA's Office of Program Administration (HIPA-01) and Office of Environment
and Planning (HEP) published Flexibility in Highway Design (FHWA Pub. No. FHWA-PD-97-062).
The Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration conducted
Thinking Beyond the Pavement: National Workshop on Integrating Highway Development
with Communities and the Environment While Maintaining Safety and Performance
in May 1998. This workshop was co-sponsored by AASHTO and FHWA with the advice
and support of the National Workshop Advisory Committee. Find out more about
Maryland's Workshop at http://www.sha.state.md.us/oce/tbtp.pdf.
Following the national workshop in Maryland, five pilot states were selected:
Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, and Utah. The pilot states agreed
to implement the CSD approach, based on the Qualities and Characteristics that
were developed at the Maryland workshop, and to share their experiences with
the States within their region.
FHWA Federal Lands Highway joined the five Pilot States.
The American Society of Civil Engineers held the Role of the Civil Engineer
conference in June 1999. Over 140 practicing civil engineers gathered in Reston,
VA, to participate. The workshop, sponsored by the Highway Division's Environmental
Quality Committee, offered civil engineers in the community the opportunity
to hear from the nation's leaders on context sensitive design and to participate
in active and informative small group discussions.
AASHTO committees began working on four chapters to serve as a “bridging
document” between AASHTO's A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and
Streets (The "Green Book") and FHWA's Flexibility in Highway Design.
The Federal Highway Administration, in its Fiscal Year 2003 Performance Plan
names "Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining" as one of its
three "Vital Few" priorities. Within this priority, the FHWA aims
to have the practice of Context Sensitive Solutions in place in all 50 states
FHWA and partners launch www.ContextSensitiveSolutions.org, the new web-based
national resource center.
The History of Context Sensitive Design (opens in a new window)|
"As citizens' expectations for better, safer roads have increased, a growing awareness of communities' needs has also emerged among designers. These two key factors contributed to bringing about this transformation in highway design and construction. Congress, the Federal Highway Administration, governors, State legislatures, and State transportation agencies have all played an integral part in this important evolution of highways. Meanwhile, public interest groups have worked to make developing better methods of highway design a major part of their agendas."
Federal Highway Administration