Context Sensitive Solutions: Quantification of Benefits in Transportation

  • Stamatiadis, Nikiforos (PI)
  • Pigman, Jerry (CoI)

Grants and Contracts Details


In recent years, Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS), a holistic approach to project development, has been promoted by both AASHTO and FHW A as a best practice. The CSS approach entails soliciting the input of all stakeholders, considering community needs, being sensitive to the environment, preserving and enhancing scenic, aesthetic, and historic resources, addressing mobility needs, constructing a safe facility that includes all prior commitments, delivering projects within time and budget constraints, and incorporating a maintenance plan that keeps a facility in the appropriate condition. To implement this approach, project stakeholders must be identified and involved in several phases of a project and their input solicited throughout project development. Transportation agencies should be attentive to this input and consider it in developing project designs and solutions. CSS projects require the use of multidisciplinary teams to address the number and variety of issues that each project entails. Finally, engineers must be capable of exercising (and willing to apply) the allowable flexibility (including geometric design) to meet the project's objectives. Context Sensitive Solutions provides a systematic and comprehensive approach to the development of a project through its planning, programming, project development and operations phases. Its goal is to achieve a project development process that provides an outcome harmonizing transportation requirements with community needs and values. The ability to measure and quantify the benefits of CSS projects is vital to the success of this shift. Currently, transportation agencies lack that capability. The development of performance measures will enable evaluation of the benefits, both positive and negative, of the process and allow state and local transportation agencies to gauge the value of the CSS approach. Therefore, the objective of this project is to merge existing research knowledge together with recent ess examples to develop a guide for transportation officials and professionals that identifies performance measures of ess principles and quantifies the benefits of ess projects. This research effort will provide transportation agencies with CSS project examples and tools for measuring performance and quantifying the benefits of applying the principles of context sensitive design and solutions. A key factor in developing benefit evaluation tools is the recognition that all transportation projects are unique in terms of the scope and importance of issues addressed. That in turn impacts project purpose and need, community and environmental concerns, geometric conditions, traffic, safety history, and public priorities. While recognizing and accommodating the variability of issues in specific projects, we must also be aware that there are guiding principles for CSS and a core of essential elements that are common to most projects. At a minimum, those should be identified and considered when conducting ess project benefit evaluations. A range of measures must be evaluated to provide appropriate criteria for various types of project outcomes and benefits. All agencies involved in transportation project development seek to provide a safe facility that provides adequate mobility and is financially feasible. To achieve that solution, the project development team relies on policies intended to attain those goals. There are traditional means of measuring project results including changes in delays and safety, total project cost, environmental impacts, and improvement in operational efficiency. Other outcomes that are not currently measured for a variety of reasons include the lack of: guidance, appropriate measures, and a systematic means to collect needed data. In an era where many governmental decisions are viewed as business-oriented, such measures need to be established to evaluate the final product. That requires the identification and evaluation of metrics that would address the entire project development process. Quantifiable metrics can demonstrate the utility and valu
Effective start/end date5/25/066/30/09


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