Design Policy - Context Sensitive Design - Projects

NCHRP Project 16-04:  Design Guidelines for Safe and Aesthetic Roadside Treatments in Urban Areas was proposed by WSDOT’s Design Policy, Standards, and Research Unit, and has been selected for funding by AASHTO’s Standing Committee on Research.


The objective of this research is to evaluate the impacts of aesthetic urban roadside designs. These impacts include the effect on motorist and pedestrian/bicycle safety. This research will also develop a toolbox of effective designs that enhance aesthetics and pedestrian/bicycle safety but do not compromise the safety of the motorist.

NCHRP Project 3-72:  Lane Widths, Channelized Right-Turns, and Right-Turn Deceleration Lanes in Urban and Suburban Areas objective is to develop design guidance or criteria addressing the safety and operational tradeoff's for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists for three specific topics: selecting lane widths, channelizing right-turns, and using right-turn deceleration lanes at driveways and unsignalized intersections. The project is intended to address urban and suburban arterials and collectors with speeds of 45 mph or less.

NCHRP Project 15-22:  Safety Consequences of Flexibility in Highway Design's objective is to develop guidance to enable project planners and designers to estimate the safety consequences of varying geometric design values for highways through rural communities.

NCHRP Project 22-17, FY 1999: Recommended Guidelines for Curbs and Curb-Barrier Combinations objective is to develop design guidelines for using curbs and curb-barrier combinations on roadways with operating speeds greater than 60 kph. 

Study of safety of Trees in narrow medians
Safety, Trees, and Urban Transportation: A National Study
To tree or not to tree? Often this is the question designers in urban situations are faced with. Can we plant trees for their environmental, psychological, and aesthetic benefits without compromising clear zone, maintenance, and safety. This proposed research project will take a look at those trade offs and try to answer some good questions that may lead to better urban designs.

See the report (pdf 101 kb) and folio (pdf 480 kb) of the Study of Safety of Trees in narrow medians by Anna St. Martin

Landscape Issues on Urban Roadways:
Urban street tree variable and parameters in relation to median and streetscape design, planting, and the structure of vegetation in the urban environment (pdf 183 kb) has been developed by WSDOT's Roadside & Site Development Services group that provides detailed information on practical applications of landscape features in urban areas.