How to Use this Context Guide

Context Driven – Access and Mobility for all Users

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) Context Guide is a planning and design​ resource offering practitioners guidelines focused on creating safe, accessible, and effective multi-modal transportation systems.  MDOT SHA developed a unique set of six context zones based on the distinctive land use characteristics of Maryland communities.  Making use of these zones, this context guide will maintain flexibility and encourage innovation in developing design solutions that address the major issues of safety and accessibility while still considering the transportation needs of the motoring public.  

This Context Guide

  • establishes six context zones in the state of Maryland and is a framework for identifying and understanding the needs of communities across the state in each of these context zones.
  • explores the role that access and mobility play in each of Maryland’s six context zones.
  • establishes processes for implementation of standard, proactive and innovative treatments in transportation projects along state routes.
  • challenges practitioners to think critically and better respond to the unique needs of communities in Maryland.
  • refers to national and international practices, standards, guidelines and policies that have already been established in Maryland and in the overall transportation industry.
Context Zone Web Map Image

The MDOT SHA Context Zones are utilized as a planning and design resource, offering practitioners guidance centered on establishing safe and effective multimodal transportation systems.​ 

MDOT SHA appreciates your feedback as we continue to make this Context Guide a better tool for the State of Maryland. For comments or inquiries, contact us at

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