Nevada Department of
The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) faced
an ongoing struggle to provide an adequate road system to
serve an increasingly sophisticated, tourist-based economy.
Providing a high-quality of life is an economic necessity for
Nevada. Highways either contribute to or detract from the
sense of place. Many current NDOT practices fail to respect
the surrounding landscape character, with structures that too
often overpower Nevada’s subtle beauty. As NDOT worked
with internal engineers and planners to make aesthetics an
integral component of everything they do, tensions arose that
drew attention to the need for a set of design alternatives to
address fundamental aesthetic issues with standard transporta-tion
facilities. Although high-level support was in place for
the shift to more context-sensitive solutions, coordination
with a range of engineering and design divisions was critical
to make sure their needs were being met and solutions were
To meet the need, Design Workshop worked in coordination
with NDOT engineers to create a library of aesthetic alter-natives
that address the many aesthetic situations occurring
on Nevada’s highways, including elements such as bridges,
sound walls, retaining walls, and drainage. The Alternatives
integrate landscape and aesthetic guidelines with a variety
of design considerations. They focus on addressing existing
design details which, if improved, offer the greatest potential
to elevate highway aesthetics. They represent a more funda-mental
approach to considering context and aesthetics as part
of the design effort. In addition, the costs of the proposals
are compared to those of existing practices. With regular use,
they will provide engineers and landscape architects the tools
to continually advance their design solutions.
NDOT Aesthetic Alternatives
Elements of aesthetic structures were described and illustrated using built examples.
Fundamental design principles communicated how to use
features such as shadow lines to improve aesthetics.
Wall features that do not visually detract but add to the
overall visual environment were promoted.
Nevada Department of
Highways serve transportation needs and provide an eco-nomic
and place-making resource for communities, regions,
states, and the nation. To date, the philosophy of the Nevada
Department of Transportation (NDOT) has been to build
roads as quickly, safely, and cost-effectively as possible. The in-efficiency
and insensitivity of this approach created a signifi-cant
dilemma for the organization as communities mobilized
to demand a new planning and design process.
Nevada needed a method to diffuse conflict, identify priori-ties,
and address the qualitative aspects of highway design.
No state had ever developed a process to understand how
all of their highways should be designed, implemented and
maintained. Although the Federal Highway Administration
advocates the use of context-sensitive solutions, there was
no model for a statewide landscape and aesthetics plan. To
respond, Design Workshop worked with NDOT to create a
plan that expanded the view of highway systems to account
for the environmental, social, and economic context and set
the precedent for future transportation design and planning.
The Corridor Plans revolutionized Nevada’s highway system
by nesting aesthetic design criteria with highway planning
directives. No longer will Nevada’s highway system function
as mere vehicle conduits. The plan prescribes, and NDOT
accepted, an enlarged responsibility to provide thoughtfully-designed,
sustainable facilities that shape and holistically
improve their surrounding urban, rural, and native landscapes.
It re-directs traditional corridor engineering methods by
ensuring accountability to local and statewide environmental,
aesthetic, economic, and community needs.
Nevada Department of Transportation Landscape & Aesthetics Corridor Plans
Nevada State-Managed Highways
Design fundamentals including scale, proportion, materials, and connections are described.
Projects are identified for every mile of highway along the
A new practice of construction and maintenance was out-lined
to achieve a more sustainable highway environment.
NDOT Highways Anti-Littering Campaign
State of Nevada
1 Billboard Design Concept
2 Billboard Design Concept
As part of the Landscape and Aesthetics
Corridor Plan for Nevada’s highways, a
proposed statewide anti-littering cam-paign
will represent a significant step
towards cleaning up Nevada’s highways
The campaign is advertised in an edgy
and straight-forward fashion to com-mand
the attention of residents and
travelers alike. The program will be
promoted through several modes of
communication including: billboards,
roadway signage, magazine advertise-ments,
and bumper stickers.
Distribution of campaign materials will
be focused at travel-oriented locations
such as statewide welcome centers, rest
areas and truck stops. Coupled with
the promotional materials, an “Adopt-
A-Highway” program will engage the
residents of Nevada and allow them to
take an active role in keeping their high-ways
clean and beautiful.
3 Roadway Signage
IN YOUR CAR!
NDOT Highways Website
State of Nevada
1 Home page
2 Corridor summary page
NDOT retained Design Workshop to
study several major highway corridors
in the state and make recommendations
for their improvement. Part of the project
included the development of a website to
share project information with the public
and solicit comments and suggestions.
Visitors to the site can download meet-ing
minutes and corridor plans, as well
as view the project calendar and read
frequently asked questions. E-mail links
are provided for people to directly send
any questions, ideas or feedback regard-ing
the corridor improvement plans.
To include the broadest audience, the
website was developed to conform to
Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation
Act, which has specific requirements
for accessibility by disabled persons.
Building the site to these standards made
the site more accessible to those with
visual, motor or cognitive impairments.
Nevada Department of
3 Corridor details page
Nevada Department of
To date, the philosophy of the Nevada Department of Trans-portation
(NDOT) has been to build roads as quickly, safely,
and cost-effectively as possible. The inefficiency and insensi-tivity
of this strictly engineered approach created a significant
dilemma for the organization as communities mobilized to
demand a new planning and design process.
Nevada needed to identify a method to diffuse conflict,
identify priorities, and address the qualitative aspects of
highway design. Design Workshop led an extensive public
involvement process that built relationships and led to a clear,
concise set of documents reflecting community goals and
objectives across the state. NDOT staff and representatives of
local and regional public agencies and communities united
to set priorities and craft a vision representing their com-munity
values. Over the course of the project, the design
team brought together over 350 stakeholders through more
than 60 meetings. This process established NDOT’s role as
a facilitator to achieve community goals and transformed a
sometimes adversarial relationship by encouraging collabo-ration.
Furthermore, it provided an opportunity for diverse
organizations to agree upon a collective vision and play an
integral role in shaping the outcome of the Plans.
Community leaders are embracing the plan wholeheart-edly
and state and local tourism agencies have expressed
excitement about the potential for the Plans to pave the way
for the completion of not only transportation projects, but
also larger scale community enhancement projects. Broad
endorsement of the Corridor Plans has resulted because of
the dynamic partnership the design team built between the
public and policy makers.
NDOT Landscape & Aesthetics Corridor Plans Public Facilitation
Open dialogue generated comments on every aspect of the Plan. Stakeholders presented their ideas to the group.
Meetings were held across the state to engage stakeholders. Stakeholders detailed their vision, goals, projects, and issues.
NDOT Statewide Highway Sign Program
State of Nevada Interstates I-15 and I-80
1 Destination Directional Sign
2 A Selection of Symbols
As part of the landscape and aesthetics
program for Nevada Interstate Highways,
Design Workshop designed a new state-wide
place name and point-of-interest
sign program, distinctive to the State of
Nevada, to better connect people to places.
The program consists of a library of new
place specific symbols as an expansion of
the existing Federal Highway standard
Since the State of Nevada is a large geo-graphic
area with diverse and sometimes
well-hidden features, the sign program
will provide clear and consistent direc-tion
from the corridors to scenic areas,
points-of-interest, historical sites, and local
attractions. The signs will be a welcom-ing
gesture to visitors drawing attention
to these important assets and affirming
the rich history and physical attributes
of the state while stimulating pride and
local economies. The sign program will
allow visitors and residents alike to experi-ence
their surroundings and gain a better
understanding of how history and geology
shaped the state.
3 Destination Directional Sign
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