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April Website of The Month: Context Sensitive Solutions.org

April has been a busy month, and even though the number of articles written this month declined, there were some changes made to the design and features of this website that will hopefully enhance the user experience (for instance, check out the redesign of the photo gallery). Somewhere in between coding and volunteering for tree inventories, I stumbled across a great website called Context Sensitive Solutions.org. This site has a superb design and contains a plethora of information on context sensitive solutions (CSS) – from news articles, to event notification and coverage, to research articles on CSS, to case studies, to flexible designs – the list goes on and on. Because I was so overwhelmed by the information, I had no choice but to select this site as the Site of the Month for April.

The site was “created by Project for Public Spaces in collaboration with Scenic America to assist the Federal Highway Administration in accomplishing one of its Vital Few Strategies – the integration of context sensitive solutions (CSS) into project planning, development, and implementation in all 50 states by September 2007.” The site also offers an excellent definition of CSS that was developed by FHWA:

Context sensitive solutions (CSS) 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. CSS is an approach that considers the total context within which a transportation improvement project will exist.

On the topic of CSS, Caltrans has been one of the institutional leaders for implementing CSS on statewide scale. In fact, Caltrans received an award from AASHTO for Best Practices in Smart Growth and Transportation 2004 Competition in the category of “Institutionalization or Organizational Change.” While it is a slow-going process to change the culture of an organization as large as Caltrans, significant strides have been made on the implementation of CSS processes department-wide.

Context Sensitive Solutions.org will be considered for the 2006 Walkable Neighborhoods Website of the Year award along with the future recipients of the monthly awards.

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