Design Policy - Context Sensitive Design

Context Sensitive Design is a model for transportation project development. Proposed transportation projects must be planned not only for its physical aspects as a facility serving specific transportation objectives, but also for its effects on the aesthetic, social, economic and environmental values, needs, constraints and opportunities in a larger community setting. Projects designed using this model:

  • Optimize safety of the facility for both the user and the community.
  • Are in harmony with the community, and preserve the environmental, scenic, aesthetic, historic, and natural resource values of the area.
  • Are designed and built with minimal disruption to the community.
  • Involve efficient and effective use of the resources (time, budget, community) of all involved parties.
  • Context Sensitive Solutions Executive Order 1028.02

The Federal Highways Administration has continuously affirmed their commitment to promoting the use of Context Sensitive Design with their transportation partners. 

Using Visualization

Visualization techniques are used to assist in the decision regarding design options and is the visual voice for a context sensitive (solution) design.  These visualizations can be anything from hand-drawn renderings to photo-simulations and animations.  They are constructed from 3D CADD modeling, digital photography, survey data, and animation based software.  From simple intersection modifications to complex interchange corridor projects, visualization empowers the design and visually explains the intent and impact of a specific transportation infrastructure change upon the community and environment alike.

WSDOT maintains a project visualization ability in the Visual Engineering Resource Group (VERG).

Context Sensitive Design Topics