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Context Sensitive Solutions & Complete Streets

SHA strives to build roadways that help build a better quality of life for Marylanders. 
In early 2011, SHA finalized a new policy to help us reach that goal: Complete Streets. Our aim is to balance the safety and efficiency of roads with access to other modes of transportation, facilities for bikes and pedestrians and other community needs. You can find a copy of our Complete Streets Policy here, and an implementation guide is coming soon.
Complete Streets is SHA’s second generation policy for a development approach known as Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS). Historically, roads and transportation systems were often placed with a single goal in mind:  connecting one place to another as efficiently as possible. We have learned that there’s much more to roads than moving traffic from point A to point B. In the 1990s, federal and state governments began looking at how roads impact residences, economies, ecosystems and general quality of life, resulting in this broader view of transportation development: Context Sensitive Solutions.
CSS is an integrated approach to building transportation networks.  It involves project stakeholders from various professions and points of view who work together to find the best solution for a proposed project. Examples of project stakeholders include environmental agencies, community groups, businesses, and local governments. CSS depends on developing early and active partnerships with stakeholders.
The Maryland Department of Transportation and State Highway Administration were leaders in developing the first implementation of CSS, a policy known as Thinking Beyond the Pavement (TBTP). In TBTP, all stakeholders are involved in developing projects that are functional, safe, fit the physical setting and preserve scenic, aesthetic, historic and environmental resources. The strategy is to align transportation planning with land use, transportation needs, and economic development decisions to make communities functional and vibrant places to work and live.
Since we initiated TBTP in 1998, many things have changed in our communities and how we think about roads in our communities. Each project gives us new insights on best practices for CSS and helps us improve our process. Our latest CSS policy statement, Complete Streets, captures lessons learned and moves Maryland towards a more livable transportation system.
For information concerning Context Sensitive Solutions, Thinking Beyond the Pavement and Complete Streets, please see the resources at the right side of this page or contact:
Office of Highway Development
Maryland State Highway Administration
707 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Phone: 410-545-8800 
Fax: 410-209-5001