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Property Management Tools and Techniques

Table of Contents


1. Introduction

2. Example Property Management Inventory Systems

3. Common Property Management Challenges among State Departments of Transportation

4.Template for the Effective Management of Real Property Assets at State Departments of Transportation


List of Figures

Figure 1. System Diagram for NDOT’s IRWIN

Figure 2. Screenshot from NCDOT’s Property Inventory Spreadsheet

Figure 3. Screenshot of UDOT’s Right of Way Lease Management System

Figure 4. Screenshot of UDOT’s Right of Way Surplus Property Management System

Figure 5. Screenshot of VDOT’s RUMS

Figure 6. Screenshot from WisDOT’s Real Estate Automated Data System


AARS Appraisal, Acquisition, and Relocation

AMI Asset Management Inventory

Caltrans California Department of Transportation

CDOT Colorado DOT

CLMS California Land Management System

EDMS Electronic Document Management System

ELMS Excess Land Management System

FHWA Federal Highway Administration

FRPP Federal Real Property Profile

GIS Geographic information systems

GSA General Services Administration

HEPR Office of Real Estate Services

IRIS Integrated Realty Information System (a WSDOT system)

IRWIN Integrated Right-of-Way Information System (a future NDOT system)

IT Information Technology

LADOTD Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development

MnDOT Minnesota DOT

NCDOT North Carolina DOT


NYSDOT New York State DOT


PDF Portable Document Format

PMI Property Management Inventory

QCD Quit Claim Deed

QR Quick Response

READS Real Estate Automated Data System

REMS Real Estate Management System

REXUS Real Estate Across the United States

ROW Right-of-way

ROWIS Right-of-way Information System

ROWMIS Right-of-way Management System

RUMS Right-of-way and Utilities Management System

RWPMS Right-of-way Property Management System

SAP Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing

SCDOT South Carolina DOT

SDOT State Department of Transportation

SDS Smart Data Strategies

TDOT Tennessee DOT

TRIS Tennessee Right-of-Way Information System



USC United States Code

VDOT Virginia DOT

Volpe Center U.S. DOT John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center

WisDOT Wisconsin DOT

WSDOT Washington DOT


The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, prepared this report for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Real Estate Services (HEPR). Carson Poe of the Volpe Center’s Transportation Policy and Planning Technical Center led the project team, which consisted of Paige Colton, Paul Minnice, and Julianne Schwarzer, also of the Transportation Policy and Planning Technical Center, and Mirna Gustave and Katherine Millette of MacroSys.

The Volpe Center project team wishes to thank the numerous stakeholders who contributed their time, input, and review toward completing this research, including staff from the State Departments of Transportation (SDOTs) and FHWA Division Offices in California, Colorado, Louisiana, New York, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Their insights on property management within transportation agencies greatly assisted the FHWA and Volpe Center in crafting this report and the best practices it conveys. Special thanks are due to New York State DOT, Oregon DOT, and Virginia DOT for participating on the “core team” that convened three regional roundtables across the country, as well as to California DOT (Caltrans) and Texas DOT for each hosting a roundtable meeting.

The project team would also like to thank David Leighow and Virginia Tsu of HEPR for their guidance in selecting stakeholders, convening the regional roundtables, and drafting and refining this report.


“Property management” in the highway transportation context refers to the administration of property acquired for highway purposes to ensure that the public interest is served. The properties that State Departments of Transportation (SDOTs) oversee are valuable resources that need to be managed in order to safeguard the safe and efficient functioning of highway improvements and their related facilities. For that reason, each SDOT has the responsibility to maintain, lease, or sell its properties and to keep an inventory identifying where such lands are located.

Some SDOTs use highly functional computerized database inventories to manage their real property assets, while others have no such systems, are in the early stages of developing them, or rely on spreadsheet tools. Regardless of the approach used, however, SDOTs have faced similar challenges managing their assets. Currently, many SDOTs’ property inventories are less than user-friendly; may be too dated to be easily updated or modified by most staff members; and lack integration with geospatial tools available to other SDOT disciplines.

As such, in February and March 2012, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) convened select SDOTs at a series of three Property Management Regional Roundtables to discuss how agencies can overcome these and other challenges. The 11 participating SDOTs each described what they believed to be property inventory “ideals,” or aspects of a property inventory that would comprise the model system. The participants agreed that property management inventories should be simple and adaptable in terms of what the system does; how the system does those things; and, how the staff members interact with it. Specific best practices include:

These ideals are described in more detail in Section 4,Template for the Effective Management of Real Property Assets at State Departments of Transportation. Other sections of this report include theIntroduction, which offers a background on the general property inventory practice at SDOTs, focusing on what is required and why;Example Property Management Systems,which provides synopses of the property inventories used at select SDOTs; andCommon Property Management Inventory Challenges, which describes various challenges associated with existing property inventory systems, as well as with taking the next steps toward enhanced future systems.

Updated: 9/5/2014
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