Benefits of place-oriented, context sensitive transportation policy
“A good city street neighborhood achieves a marvel of balance between its people’s determination to have essential privacy and their simultaneous wishes for differing degrees of contact, enjoyment, or help from the people around.” — Jane Jacobs
As an approach to transportation projects, context sensitive solutions (CSS) has spread rapidly since 1998. In large part this is because transportation professionals and community members, practitioners and advocates, understand and embrace its many important benefits:
- Employing CSS broadens the definition of “the problem” that a project should solve and reaches consensus with all stakeholders before the design process begins. The group focuses on the “right” problem rather than looking at a symptom of the problem or some other misplaced focus.
- By facilitating and streamlining the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) compliance process, CSS helps to facilitate the conservation of environmental and community resources.
- CSS saves time. It shortens the project development process by gaining consensus early, and thereby minimizing litigation and redesign, and expediting permit approvals.
- CSS saves money. By shortening the project development process and eliminating obstacles, money as well as time is saved.
- CSS builds support from the public and from the regulators. By partnering and planning a project with the transportation agency, these parties bring full cooperation, and often additional resources as well.
- CSS helps prioritize and allocate scarce transportation funds in a cost-effective way, at a time when community transportation needs far exceed available resources.
- Group decisions are generally better than individual decisions. Research supports the conclusion that decisions are more accepted and mutually satisfactory when made by all who must live with them.
- CSS is the right thing to do. It serves the public interest, helps build communities and leaves a better place behind.