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"Acquisition of rights-of-way should be closely coordinated with all the other activities incidental to the construction of a highway facility. The right-of-way department must work in close harmony with the engineering and planning departments at all times." - David R. Levin, 1943
From the Public Roads Administration publication "Public Land Acquisition for Highway Purposes"
This quote from a Transportation Economist who later served as head of the FHWA Office of Right-of-Way, is even more to the point today than it was in those less complex days. Several parallel initiatives are being pursued to achieve this:
Integration with Environment
A panel discussion "Integrating Right-of-Way and the Environment for Better Results" was presented by Center for Transportation and the Environment Program on October 16, 2001. Resources from that program:
NCHRP Synthesis 292: Innovative Practices to Reduce Delivery Time for Right-of-Way in Project Development, April 2001
Context Sensitive Design
Context Sensitive Design/Solutions is one of several names and styles of initiatives presently being undertaken by the transportation community to deliver improved transportation solutions. Often overlooked, or at least not specifically mentioned, is the role of the real estate/right-of-way staff in carrying out an integrated approach to transportation solutions.
The real estate/right-of-way staff of each transportation agency is typically the most skilled staff in the department on the issues of community and economic context.
The FHWA Planning, Environment, and Real Estate Office has contracted with Jack Faucett Associates to conduct a research project entitled, "Integrating and Streamlining Transportation Development and Decision-making." The goal of the project is to identify successful practices currently employed in the development of transportation solutions by means of integrating the disciplines of planning, environment, real estate, and engineering.
The first phase of the project is to conduct a survey of all State Departments of Transportation (STDs) and selected other transportation-related entities to determine current practices in the development of transportation solutions. The web-based Transportation Solutions survey is directed to respondents in each of the four disciplines of planning, environment, real estate, and engineering. Survey information will also serve to identify 5 or 6 transportation entities demonstrating innovative integration practices. These entities will be the basis of case studies from which a report of best practices will be developed.
Based on these efforts, a recommendations report will also be developed providing ideas on how the practice of transportation decision making and delivery can be improved by better integrating the various disciplines within transportation agencies and how FHWA can best facilitate that process.