Context Classification: A New Approach for Improving Highway Design

Nikiforos Stamatiadis, Adam Kirk, Laura Wright

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The Functional Classification System (FCS) in the US has been the driving force in developing and designing roadway projects. FCS was originally developed as a basis for communication between designers and planners but since then, it has expanded and is used throughout the entire project development process and more importantly serves as a surrogate for design inputs (e.g., design speed). However, the FCS has a narrow focus, and it is auto centric. The limited contextual definitions (urban and rural) do not provide the dynamic range of design elements and guidance needed to balance other competing project needs and it lacks the resolution needed to develop context-sensitive designs. NCHRP Report 855 introduced an expanded context classification system that supports more integrative and context-adapted roadway designs. This system was adopted in the 7th Edition of the Policy of Geometric Design for Highways and Streets (Green Book). Transitioning from functional classification to context classification entails a major shift in design practices. Context sets expectations for each setting and informs the entire project development process. This paper presents an update of the Green Book's context classifications and introduces the concept of Transportation Expectations, which are fundamental concepts that define how users expect to move in each context. Examples of applications are presented that explore these concepts and discuss how they could facilitate multimodal roadway designs — the focal point of upcoming Green Book 8th Edition.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIIT 3rd International Conference on Transport Infrastructure and Systems,TIS ROMA 2022 - Conference Proceedings
EditorsGiuseppe Cantisani, Michela Le Pira, Stefano Zampino
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781713870913
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023
Event3rd International Conference on Transport Infrastructure and Systems, TIS ROMA 2022 - Rome, Italy
Duration: Sep 15 2022Sep 16 2022

Publication series

NameTransportation Research Procedia
ISSN (Print)2352-1457
ISSN (Electronic)2352-1465


Conference3rd International Conference on Transport Infrastructure and Systems, TIS ROMA 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Published by ELSEVIER B.V.


  • Context classification
  • Multimodal design
  • Roadway design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation


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