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2006 Future Needs of Public Sector Real Estate With Graphic Illustrations

Publication No. FHWA-HEP-06-032

August, 2006

Contents

I. Executive Summary

The Office of Real Estate Services (HEPR) intends to enhance strategic decision-making by looking 30 years into the future, to 2035. This research effort sought to identify concepts, capabilities and technologies that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and other Federal agencies, conducting real estate acquisition, relocation and management activities under the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (Uniform Act), as amended, will require to remain relevant, vital and productive, serving the missions of the taxpayers and Government efficiently and effectively into the 21st century.

An in depth analysis of expected future operational needs of public sector real estate, specifically as they relate to transportation projects, was conducted. The goal was to identify what new ideas; concepts and technologies can be utilized to meet present and future needs of public sector real estate.

Purpose of Study

The purpose of this study was to increase HEPR's ability to meet program goals by focusing on the most important needs in a rapidly changing global environment as follows:

Methodology

Research was conducted to identify the tools - technical, legislative, regulatory, human resource skills, and stewardship mechanisms - that will be needed in the time span to the year 2035. The research also identifies present and future needs and possible solutions of public sector real estate internally and externally. Techniques used to conduct this research included an electronic survey distributed to selected stakeholder participants and a focused brainstorming session that specifically addressed how to identify possible legislative and regulatory changes and needs on which to focus limited resources in a rapidly changing global environment.

Stakeholder participants were selected from a variety of backgrounds throughout the United States and because of their knowledge and expertise in the fields of engineering, planning, construction, and laws and regulations related to the acquisition of real property for transportation projects under the Uniform Act. Stakeholder participants include representatives from FHWA Headquarters and Division offices, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) offices, State DOT Right-of-Way offices, Regional Transportation District (RTD), Eminent Domain Attorneys, Right-of-Way Consultants, Land Use, Economic and Public Involvement Specialists.

Stakeholder Survey

An online Stakeholder survey was developed to collect information and used to direct the content of the one-day brainstorming session, which took place on January 12, 2006. This was a onetime survey that required approximately one hour to complete, including the time for reviewing instructions.

The survey inquired as to the participant's concerns related to their real estate and right-of-way programs. The survey also addressed present and future needs and possible solutions to public sector real estate in the next 30 years.

Brainstorming Session

Twenty-one participants met to brainstorm future public sector real estate needs. The session was graphically illustrated and the graphic illustrations have been used to illustrate issues, concerns and possible solutions discussed during the Brainstorming Session. Two graphic illustrations of the day's discussion can be found in the Appendix.

The purpose for the Brainstorming Session was to focus on identifying present real estate program needs; what the real estate program will look like in the next 30 years; new ideas, concepts, and technologies that can be utilized to meet present and future needs of public sector real estate; and how FHWA can help implement these solution and do more with less.

The session opened by referencing the questions addressed in the Survey Response Summary to further identify common issues among each of the Stakeholders, their agency or organization and their present and future needs. While discussing these issues, the Stakeholders were instructed to not only develop solutions to meet today's needs, but also with an eye toward meeting future needs.

The discussion addressed the following present and future needs and possible solutions were developed for each of the categories listed below:

The following summary of recommendations were identified as methods for FHWA to consider as solutions to the previously identified present and future needs of public sector real estate in the next 30 years. The following recommendations are divided into six categories; internal procedural changes for FHWA and DOTs, technical assistance and training support, legislation, regulation, policy, and outreach and information dissemination activities.

Recommended Changes to FHWA and DOT Procedures

The following recommended procedural changes for both FHWA and the DOTs summarize possible solutions previously identified in the survey and discussed during the brainstorming session. These tie to the areas of early integration and coordination of right-of-way during project development process, right-of-way training and education, future staff recruitment, public relations outreach, and technological tools and techniques as outlined above.

FHWA

DOTs

Recommended Technical Assistance and Training Support

Recommended Changes to Legislation

The Uniform Act

The National Environmental Policy Act

Recommended Changes to Regulation

23 CFR

49 CFR

Recommended Changes to Policy

Require all applicable Federal Agencies to publish and maintain Uniform Act program policy documents and appoint an experienced Program Manager responsible for the management and implementation of their respective agency's real estate program.

Outreach and Information Dissemination Activities

FHWA should encourage reciprocal training and outreach to disseminate information to all federal agencies that acquire property under the Uniform Act as well as MPOs and LPAs. Also, this information can be disseminated through meetings and conferences of professional organizations and associations such as the International Right of Way Association (IRWA), the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), and the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP).

Conclusion

The Stakeholders made recommendations for FHWA to consider as solutions to the identified present and future needs of public sector real estate in the next 30 years. The identified recommendations for change were then divided into six categories; internal procedural changes for FHWA and DOTs, technical assistance and training support, legislation, regulation, policy, and outreach and information dissemination activities.

The following include the top recommendations for FHWA:

In order to implement the above-mentioned recommendations, FHWA and other agencies must seek changes in legislation, regulation, and policy with respect to the Uniform Act. While the onus for changes in legislation, regulation and policy ultimately lies within the FHWA organization, it is apparent that these changes are the mutual responsibility of all agencies that implement the Uniform Act. Therefore, it is recommended that partnerships be formed between all agencies to create a forum for dialogue and develop recommendation for consistent policies and Best Practices in implementing the Uniform Act uniformly among all agencies.

Going forward, FHWA should encourage reciprocal training and outreach to disseminate information to all federal agencies that acquire property under the Uniform Act as well as MPOs and LPAs. Also, this information can be disseminated through meetings and conferences of professional organizations and associations such as American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), and the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP).

While it is challenging to encourage forward thinking and focus on the unknown future needs of public sector real estate; the Stakeholders were encouraged by the fact that someone was listening to their needs and concerns, and that they were given the opportunity to exchange ideas based on their personal knowledge and experience. Although, it was difficult for Stakeholders to imagine possible future needs without first considering present needs and possible solutions, Stakeholders agreed that by taking a more proactive approach toward addressing solutions to present needs could possibly result in the minimization or resolution of future needs altogether.

This experienced group of professionals who have worked in the field of right-of-way acquisition for many years are hopeful that their recommendations, which have been discussed over the past 10 years, will be carefully considered and carried forward.

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II. Introduction

The Office of Real Estate Services (HEPR) intends to enhance strategic decision-making. Advocates of formal approaches to forecasting claim that an organization can supplement its effectiveness if it can forecast its environment, anticipate problems and develop plans to respond to those problems. Thus, the HEPR wants to look 30 years into the future, to 2035, to identify concepts, capabilities and technologies that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and other Federal agencies, conducting real estate acquisition, relocation and management activities under the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (Uniform Act), as amended, will require to remain relevant, vital and productive, serving the missions of the taxpayers and Government efficiently and effectively into the 21st century.

Purpose of Study

Some of the purposes of this research are as follows:

Research Goals

The HEPR program goals and the goals of this study are: 1. Provide guidance to FHWA Divisions, State Departments of Transportation (DOT), and Local Public Agencies (LPA) to ensure they have the capacity to discharge their stewardship, oversight and other responsibilities for the right-of-way program, including (a) providing legislative proposals, regulations, policies and guidance; (b) providing technical assistance and training support; and (c) engaging in outreach and information dissemination activities; 2. Fulfill Lead Agency role for Uniform Act by (a) advancing updating activities for the UA statute and implementing regulations; and (b) assisting those operating under the Uniform Act to understand it and to meet its requirements; 3. Identify and promote improved practices and new approaches for right-of-way program; and, 4. Serve as proactive Headquarters Program Office for right-of-way, including integration with other functions, programs and disciplines.

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III. Methodology

Research was conducted to identify the tools - technical, legislative, regulatory, human resource skills, and stewardship mechanisms - that will be needed in the time span to the year 2035. The research also identifies present and future needs and possible solutions of public sector real estate internally and externally. Techniques used to conduct this research included an electronic survey distributed to selected stakeholder participants and a focused brainstorming session that specifically addressed how to identify possible legislative and regulatory changes and needs on which to focus limited resources in a rapidly changing global environment.

Selection of Stakeholder Participants

Stakeholder participants were selected from a variety of backgrounds throughout the United States and because of their knowledge and expertise in the fields of engineering, planning, construction, and laws and regulations related to the acquisition of real property for transportation projects under the Uniform Act. Stakeholders participant include representatives from FHWA Headquarters and Division offices, FAA offices, State DOT Right-of-Way offices, Regional Transportation District (RTD), Eminent Domain Attorneys, Right-of-Way Consultants, Land Use, Economic and Public Involvement Specialists.

Online Survey Tool

An online survey tool provided participants an opportunity to answer open-ended questions with detailed comments regarding concerns within their program and possible solutions.

Stakeholder Survey

The Stakeholder survey was developed to collect information and used to direct the content of the one-day brainstorming session, which took place on January 12, 2006. This was a onetime survey that required approximately one hour to complete, including the time for reviewing instructions. The survey inquired as to the participant's concerns related to their real estate and right of way programs. The survey also addressed present and future needs and possible solutions to public sector real estate in the next 30 years. Questions specifically addressed the following issues:

Brainstorming Session

The survey results were used to prepare for the Focused Brainstorming held on January 12, 2006 at the FHWA Colorado Division Offices in Lakewood, Colorado. There were 21 attendees. The graphic illustrations from the session have been used to illustrate issues, concerns and possible solutions discussed during the Brainstorming Session. A copy of the graphic illustrations of the day's discussion can be found in the Appendix.

The purpose for the Brainstorming Session was to focus on identifying:

The goals of the Brainstorming Session were centered on assisting FHWA in providing future guidance to federal, state and local public agencies in the areas of:

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IV. Needs and Possible Solutions

The session opened by referencing the questions addressed in the Survey Response Summary to further identify common issues among each of the Stakeholders, their agency or organization, and their present and future needs. While discussing these issues, the Stakeholders were instructed to not only develop solutions to meet today's needs, but also with an eye toward meeting future needs.

The discussion began with addressing the following present and future needs and possible solutions:

Early Integration and Coordination of Right-of-Way

Solutions: Early Integration and Coordination of Right-of-Way

Flexibility in the Laws and Regulations

Solutions: Flexibility in the Laws and Regulations

Training and Education

Solutions: Training and Education

Recruitment

Solutions: Recruitment

Public Relations

Solutions: Public Relations

Technology

Solutions: Technology

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V. Recommended Methods for FHWA's Implementation of Solutions

The following summary of recommendations were identified as methods for FHWA to consider as solutions to the previously identified present and future needs of public sector real estate in the next 30 years. The following recommendations are divided into six categories; internal procedural changes for FHWA and DOTs, technical assistance and training support, legislation, regulation, policy, and outreach and information dissemination activities.

Recommended Changes to FHWA and DOT Procedures

The following recommended procedural changes for both FHWA and the DOTs summarize possible solutions previously identified in the survey and discussed during the brainstorming session. These tie to the areas of early integration and coordination of right-of-way during project development process, right-of-way training and education, future staff recruitment, public relations outreach, and technological tools and techniques as outlined above.

FHWA

DOTs

Recommended Technical Assistance and Training Support

Recommended Changes to Legislation

The Uniform Act

The National Environmental Policy Act

Recommended Changes to Regulation

23 CFR

49 CFR

Recommended Changes to Policy

Outreach and Information Dissemination Activities

FHWA should encourage reciprocal training and outreach to disseminate information to all federal agencies that acquire property under the Uniform Act as well as MPOs and LPAs. Also, this information can be disseminated through meetings and conferences of professional organizations and associations such as the International Right of Association (IRWA), the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), and the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP).

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VI. Conclusion

To meet the HEPR program goals of this study to identify the Future Needs of Public Sector Real Estate, it was determined that the best way to begin was by identifying present needs and possible solutions. To accomplish this, stakeholder participants were selected from a pool of national experts in the right-of-way and related fields. The core of the research involved an electronic survey distributed to these stakeholders and a focused brainstorming session with them that both specifically addressed how to identify possible legislative and regulatory changes and needs on which to focus limited resources in a rapidly changing global environment. Present and future needs and possible solutions were identified in the areas of:

The Stakeholders made recommendations for FHWA to consider as solutions to the identified present and future needs of public sector real estate in the next 30 years. The identified recommendations for change were then divided into six categories; internal procedural changes for FHWA and DOTs, technical assistance and training support, legislation, regulation, policy, and outreach and information dissemination activities.

The following include the top recommendations for FHWA:

In order to implement the above-mentioned recommendations, FHWA and other agencies must seek changes in legislation, regulation, and policy with respect to the Uniform Act. While the onus for changes in legislation, regulation and policy ultimately lie within the FHWA organization, it is apparent that these changes are the mutual responsibility of all agencies that implement the Uniform Act. Therefore, it is recommended that partnerships be formed between all agencies to create a forum for dialogue and develop recommendation for consistent policies and Best Practices in implementing the Uniform Act uniformly among all agencies.

Going forward, FHWA should encourage reciprocal training and outreach to disseminate information to all federal agencies that acquire property under the Uniform Act as well as MPOs and LPAs. Also, this information can be disseminated through meetings and conferences of professional organizations and associations such as the International Right of Way Association (IRWA), the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), and the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP).

The recommendations above meet HEPR's goals for this study, which were to:

  1. Provide guidance to FHWA Divisions, State Departments of Transportation (DOT), and Local Public Agencies (LPA) to ensure they have the capacity to discharge their stewardship, oversight and other responsibilities for the right-of-way program, including (a) providing legislative proposals, regulations, policies and guidance; (b) providing technical assistance and training support; and (c) engaging in outreach and information dissemination activities;
  2. Fulfill Lead Agency role for Uniform Act by (a) advancing updating activities for the Uniform Act statute and implementing regulations; and (b) assisting those operating under the Uniform Act to understand it and to meet its requirements;
  3. Identify and promote improved practices and new approaches for right-of-way program; and,
  4. Serve as proactive Headquarters Program Office for right-of-way, including integration with other functions, programs and disciplines.

While it is challenging to encourage forward thinking and focus on the unknown future needs of public sector real estate; the Stakeholders were encouraged by the fact that someone was listening to their needs and concerns, and that they were given the opportunity to exchange ideas based on their personal knowledge and experience. Although, it was difficult for Stakeholders to imagine possible future needs without first considering present needs and possible solutions, Stakeholders agreed that by taking a more proactive approach toward addressing solutions to present needs could possibly result in the minimization or resolution of future needs altogether.

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Updated: 09/05/2014
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