Best Practices for Confirming Land Ownership of the Right of Way and Impacts to Adjacent Properties

Currently, there are no national level parameters in effect for conducting right-of-way (ROW) research. Practices vary in the timing and level of research activity. State departments of transportation (DOTs) may start ROW research during the planning phase or begin after 60% design. Similarly, state DOTs might perform ROW research for all parcels shown on plan or limit full research to impacted parcels only. Property interests, such as easements, may be found on plans or in separate documents, which can be problematic once plans are archived. In addition, title searches typically start later in project delivery and are frequently inaccurate or incomplete. ROW engineering teams have the skillset to perform chain-of-title research, identifying documents excluded from the title search. Therefore, research is needed to indemnify and unify the various procedures in which state DOTs perform ROW research and offer practical solutions to help organize and streamline state DOT methods. The purpose of this research is to develop a compendium of best practices and strategies for ROW research in the project delivery process that: (1) documents current ROW research methods from DOTs, which address confirming ownership of the existing ROW and adjacent parcels; (2) examines all common types of property interests that are likely to be found in a design project; (3) assesses levels of ROW research conducted based on scope of design project; (4) recognizes and assesses relationships between ROW engineering staff and other state DOT teams involved in project development and their reliance on each other during the chain-of-title research process.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $600000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-134

  • 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: 20240523
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01919454
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-134
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 23 2024 9:54AM