The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit held a hearing the week of June 7, 2010 on “Using Practical Design and Context Sensitive Solutions in Developing Surface Transportation Projects.” The hearing is part of the subcommittee’s effort to pass a new surface transportation authorization. The panel included representatives from the Federal Highway Administration, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Dr. Nick Stamatiadis, Raymond-Blythe Professor, Civil Engineering, University of Kentucky and transportation consultants with the American Council of Engineering Companies and the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
Panelists generally supported the need for a well-planned and designed highway system that can support and improve safe travel, mobility, accessibility, economic development, and enhance the quality of life. Also addressed was the Federal government’s role revolving around these concerns. The witnesses tackled the core principles and qualities of the Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process, including highlighting past successes when smart transportation options are done correctly. The panel was quick to point out that the use of CSS is essential when building the nation’s infrastructure for the 21st century and should be more widely used during project development in order to improve project decision making; expedite project delivery; and enhance mobility, safety, livability, and environmental sustainability.