Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Context Sensitive Solutions

people planting a tree


Context Sensitive Solutions is the art of creating public works projects that meet the needs of the users, the neighboring communities, and the environment. It integrates projects into the context or setting in a sensitive manner through careful planning, consideration of different perspectives, and tailoring designs to particular project circumstances. CSS is a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach that involves all stakeholders in providing a transportation facility that fits its setting. It is an approach that leads to preserving and enhancing scenic, aesthetic, historic, community, and environmental resources, while improving or maintaining safety, mobility, and infrastructure conditions.

Core strategies

  • Strive towards a shared stakeholder vision to provide a basis for decisions
  • Demonstrate comprehensive understanding of context
  • Foster continuing communication and collaboration to achieve consensus
  • Exercise flexibility and creativity to shape effective transportation solutions while preserving and enhancing community and natural environments


The use of CSS principles to create transportation solutions supports a new vision for the future. Consistent with that vision, each project should reflect a sense of the place where it is built and should fit physically and visually within the surrounding environment and community. Transportation professionals play a key role in making this new vision a reality. It is a vision that includes citizen participation, innovative design solutions, and safe roadways that improve mobility and enhance community beauty and the qualities of a place. CSS requires an early and continuous commitment to public involvement, flexibility in exploring new solutions, and an openness to new ideas. Community members play an important role in identifying local and regional problems and solutions that may better meet and balance the needs of all stakeholders.


  • Use interdisciplinary teams
  • Involve your stakeholders
  • Seek broad-based public involvement
  • Use a full range of communication strategies
  • Achieve consensus on purpose and need
  • Address alternatives and all transportation modes
  • Seek safe facilities for communities and all users
  • Maintain environmental harmony
  • Address community and social issues
  • Address aesthetic concerns and integrations
  • Use a full range of design choices and flexibility
  • Document project decisions
  • Track and meet all commitments
  • Use agency resources effectively
  • Create lasting value for communities and the public