Context Sensitive Design/Thinking Beyond the Pavement

State Definition

Context sensitive design (CSD) is a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach that involves 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.  CSD is an approach that considers the total context within which a transportation improvement project will exist.

Implementation Approach

The Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration's (MSHA) approach to implementing Context Sensitive Design (CSD)/Thinking Beyond The Pavement (TBTP) has included the following strategies and activities:

  • Developed TBTP Implementation Strategic Plan to guide the overall implementation effort ( April 1999).
  • Co-Sponsored the National TBTP Workshop in May 1998 to identify the project qualities and process characteristics associated with context sensitive project development.
  • Established TBTP leadership team, TBTP working team, and program coordinator position to support and coordinate the implementation effort (Spring 1999).
  • Conducted four project review charettes involving a full range of project stakeholders that identified MSHA project development process strengths and weaknesses in regard to the application of established TBTP principles (spring/summer 1999). 
  • Developed a project evaluation instrument based on the project qualities and process characteristics of the TBTP approach that were identified at the May 1998 National TBTP Workshop.
  • Conducted a two-day TBTP Implementation Workshop with 300 interdisciplinary participants that examined issues identified in charettes and identified improvement strategies (November 1999).
  • Established four Task Teams and 12 sub-teams to review and implement the project development process improvement strategies identified at the TBTP Implementation Workshop (Winter/Spring 2000)
  • Developed Implementation Work Plans for all task teams and sub-teams (Summer 2000).
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