Guide for Early Right-of-Way Engineering Involvement

Right-of-way (ROW) engineering is the term given to tasks that address the gaps between real estate and engineering teams. Activities that include verifying ownership of the road ROW, identifying easements for various needs (e.g., utilities, cross-access), validating ROW acquisition areas, and reviewing designs for ROW need and constructability are core functions of ROW engineering. State departments of transportation (DOTs) may expand on these duties as appropriate for their needs. Whether a state DOT utilizes a designated ROW engineering section or if the work is divided between other divisions (e.g., survey, ROW, and design), the work is completed as part of the project delivery process. The project design phase in which ROW engineering tasks begin varies greatly between and within state DOTs. Controls such as state DOT standards, project scope of work, and funding sources can dictate the start time of ROW engineering work. State DOTs may set additional conditions based on the district or region where the project is located. These factors can push the start of ROW engineering activities to a point later in design, resulting in ROW’s frequent appearance on a project’s critical path. With a more effective and timely approach to address ROW needs for engineering, state DOTs can depend on comprehensive research, accurate reviews, and ultimately clear the ROW as scheduled and within budget. Research is needed to identify and analyze the timing of current state DOT ROW engineering practices and illustrate the benefits of starting this work at the earliest stages of project development. The objective of this research is to develop a guide and complementary tools for state DOTs to implement strategies and methods for early ROW engineering involvement in the project delivery process.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $450000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 10-138

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    McKenney, Christopher

  • Start Date: 20240404
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01907933
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 10-138
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Feb 12 2024 4:40PM