About the research
The right-of-way (ROW) acquisition process significantly affects the final cost and schedule of a transportation project and is a socially sensitive issue dealing with property owners’ rights. Many counties and cities in Minnesota are spending more than 30% of their transportation project budgets for ROW acquisition. The Iowa State research team is currently involved in the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) 15-51 study of preconstruction costs and impacts, and, as a result, is keenly aware that minimizing the cost and time required for ROW acquisition is a high priority in the highly constrained budget environments that Minnesota municipalities and agencies must operate.
The ROW acquisition process is a complex process made even more complicated by factors like alignment coordination issues, diverse state and local laws, conflicting public policies, environmental issues, public involvement, agency staffing, appraiser qualifications, mediation processes, condemnation processes, project characteristics, parcel types, location, and so forth that can significantly affect ROW acquisition cost and duration.
The team also worked on Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) R-10: Strategies for Complex Project Management and has developed a comprehensive understanding of the impacts of those multi-dimensional issues and factors on the ROW acquisition and identified tools in use in the nation that may be appropriate for addressing the challenges of the rising ROW acquisition costs and time in Minnesota.
The proposed study will identify barriers and obstacles that occur during the ROW acquisition process that result in cost increases and delays. The team will use its NCHRP and SHRP 2 experience to benchmark effective practices, conduct structured interviews and a statewide survey, and look extensively at case studies to meet this goal. The cause and effect analysis framework will be applied to the collected data to map causal relationships between identified barriers and negative consequences in the ROW acquisition process. A set of recommendations will be developed for each barrier identified in this study. Also, practical implementation strategies and methods will be developed and documented. A workshop session will be provided to quickly disseminate the findings of this study.