MnDOT Barriers to Right-of-Way Acquisition and Recommendations for Change

Project status


Start date: 06/23/14
End date: 08/31/16


Principal investigator:

About the research

Many urban counties and cities in Minnesota spend more than 30% of their transportation project budgets for right-of-way (ROW) acquisition and it continues to become more expensive, difficult, and time consuming for project implementation. This project identified barriers and obstacles that occur during the ROW acquisition process that result in cost increases and delays and developed recommendations for change to improve the existing ROW acquisition process and practices.

The findings of this project were drawn from literature review, questionnaire survey and follow-up interviews, case studies, and a workshop.

In total, 22 barriers were identified under the categories of project delivery, agency’s internal capability, relationship with the public, appraisal and acquisition, and legislative and other issues. The root causes of those barriers were also analyzed, including uncooperative work environment, lack of tools and methods, distrust of property owners, and adverse effect of eminent domain law.

This project has developed 25 different recommendation ideas for change. Implementation of these ideas is anticipated to greatly enhance the ROW acquisition process, but strong leadership and support from top management to implement those ideas are required.


Report: Barriers to Right-of-Way Acquisition and Recommendations for Change (NA pdf) August 2016


Sponsor(s): Minnesota Department of Transportation