A major challenge for many current transportation projects is to plan, design and build to create a solution which will not only address the planning and engineering requirements, but also satisfy the human and natural environmental issues related to a specific project. Occasional projects of this type have been designed and built for many years, typically when there have been few alternatives otherwise. A key component to these types of projects has been a greater level of community interest and public involvement. Initial efforts to introduce the concept of increased sensitivity to community interests and the natural environment was labeled "Thinking Beyond the Pavement." This concept was the outgrowth of a conference held in Maryland in 1998, through the joint efforts of the Maryland DOT, FHWA, and AASHTO. As part of the conference, the concept was defined, the principles of Context-Sensitive Design (CSD) were outlined, and five pilot states were identified to begin developing training courses. Those states were Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, and Utah. Various forms of information sharing and training programs have also begun in each of the pilot states. Realizing more input was needed in order to expand the concept beyond the project development stage, several state highway agencies began to seek input from construction, operations and maintenance experts, as well as resource agencies and the public. This general concept of seeking innovative solutions to achieve flexibility in highway design has begun to be implemented and aggressively expanded.

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The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors, who are responsible for the facts and accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. The inclusion of manufacturer names and trade names is for identification purposes, and is not considered an endorsement.