Solving the “right” problems with everyone involved before a transportation project begins is at the core of ITD’s new Context Sensitive Solutions Guide.
The CSS Guide introduces and explains ITD’s environmental ethic as it applies to current and future transportation projects. The document is available on the department’s intranet and public Web site, under References/publications.
“CSS could just as well be called ‘common sense solutions,’ ” said Dennis Clark, ITD’s environmental manager. “It means being sensitive to place and stakeholder concerns as we plan, develop and construct transportation facilities.”
The context sensitive solutions philosophy was introduced in a 1998 National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) report by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. Since then, a more specific definition has begun emerging for context sensitive solutions:
“…a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach involving all stakeholders to develop a transportation facility that fits its physical setting, and preserves scenic, aesthetic, historic and environmental resources, while maintaining safety and mobility.”
Using a context sensitive solutions philosophy, transportation project managers strive to solve the right problems by encouraging early stakeholder participation and collaboration. Hearing from everyone affected early and often saves project time and conserves community resources by focusing on important issues and creating sustainable outcomes.
ITD staff recently participated in context sensitive solutions overview training, which wrapped up with sessions in District 3 and Headquarters Dec. 4-5.
“Context sensitive solutions is not a new concept for ITD,” said Steve Hutchinson, chief engineer. “The board’s adoption of an environmental ethic (Board Policy B-13-03) and its approval of the guide give teeth to what we do and remind us to apply CSS principles across all ITD programs and projects.”