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Center for Transportation Studies


Aerial view of parkway

What is Context Sensitive Solutions?

Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) is the art of creating public works projects that meet the needs of the users, the neighboring communities, and the environment. It integrates projects into the context or setting in a sensitive manner through careful planning, consideration of different perspectives, and tailoring designs to particular project circumstances.

CSS is a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach that involves all stakeholders in providing a transportation facility that fits its setting. It is an approach that leads to preserving and enhancing scenic, aesthetic, historic, community, and environmental resources, while improving or maintaining safety, mobility, and infrastructure conditions. 

A New Vision

The use of CSS principles to create transportation solutions supports a new vision for the future. Consistent with that vision, each project should reflect a sense of the place where it is built and should fit physically and visually within the surrounding environment and community.

Transportation professionals play a key role in making this new vision a reality. It is a vision that includes citizen participation, innovative design solutions, and safe roadways that improve mobility and enhance community beauty and the qualities of a place.

CSS requires an early and continuous commitment to public involvement, flexibility in exploring new solutions, and an openness to new ideas. Community members play an important role in identifying local and regional problems and solutions that may better meet and balance the needs of all stakeholders.

CSS Core Strategies

from 2007 FHWA / AASHTO CSS action planning

CSS Principles

paraphrased 1998 principles referenced in SAFETEA-LU

Center for Transportation Studies | University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN 55455 | Location & Contact Information