In 2010, legislation was passed that required MDOT to work toward “complete streets,” which consider all users of the system within the context and function of the street. Elements that improve safety, access, transit corridors, meet Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, or contribute to bike and pedestrian movements are key components. Following that legislation, MDOT worked with a Complete Streets Advisory Committee to develop suggested language for a State Transportation Commission policy (adopted in 2012) and to develop model language for local complete streets policies.
For many years, MDOT has used a context sensitive solutions (CSS) process to develop transportation projects using a collaborative interdisciplinary approach where MDOT solicits dialogue with local governments, road commissions, industry groups, land use advocates, and state agencies early in a project’s planning phase. A cooperative spirit and an awareness of community interests help achieve the goal: projects that fit their surroundings while effectively serving transportation needs. MDOT is also currently working through a multi-modal development and delivery (M2D2) process, a team approach to refine MDOT standards, guidance, and processes to reflect best practices in this area.
Context-sensitive solutions is a theoretical and practical approach to transportation decision-making and design that takes into consideration the communities and lands through which streets, roads, and highways pass.