Synthesis of Regulations and Laws Pertaining to Roadway/Rail Line Intersections on Ohio's Local Transportation System

Ensuring that a safe and efficient transportation system is provided to users of the system in a timely and cost-effective manner, regardless of the mode (e.g.: road, rail, bike, pedestrian, air, etc.), is an important goal for both public and private organizations. In pursuit of this goal, the need to repair, maintain or enhance local roadways can occur at locations that intersect with rail lines. When this occurs, the work needs to be coordinated between local transportation officials and private railroad companies. While many local transportation officials concur there is a clear understanding of right-of-way when it comes to roadways and utilities, this application does not seem to extend to rail lines. Various state laws, federal regulations and legislative acts provide guidance on jurisdiction/authority for right-of-way concerning roadways and rail line intersections. In addition, past court cases have provided decisions that may further refine this guidance. As a home rule state, it can be difficult for local transportation officials to determine, based on the law, where authority for right-of-way lies between the roadway and the rail lines. Research is needed to provide local transportation officials with a better understanding of the legal constraints concerning right-of-way between roads on the local transportation system and rail lines. The goal of this research is to provide clarification to local officials as to the extent of authority of each entity at all roadway/rail line intersections. The objective is to synthesize and summarize current federal and state regulations/laws pertaining to this issue in a manner that is concise and understandable to local transportation professionals. This research is expected to include consideration for: (1) Literature review and summary of relevant studies or papers. (2) Review current federal regulations, legislative acts, Ohio laws, and relevant case law studies applicable to right-of-way authority between local roadways and rail lines. Case law studies may include common law principles involving conflicting interests in real property including, but not limited to: fee simple ownership, easements (whether express or implied) senior rights , and licenses. (3) Identify any inconsistencies within Ohio laws and between Ohio and federal laws related to the topic. Researchers are expected to provide specific details in the proposal as to how they intend to address these items. Additional or alternate activities may be proposed at the researcher's discretion in order to achieve the stated goals and objectives.