Legal Problems Arising out of Highway Programs. Topic 25-04. Laws Governing Homeless Encampments in Transportation Rights-of-Way

Economic, social, and other factors cause a continuous increase in homeless populations throughout the United States. It is not unusual for homeless individuals to establish refuge and shelter in encampments that encroach within, around, under or upon transportation rights-of-way, including but not limited to highway/freeway interchanges, overpasses, bridges, and tunnels. Homeless encampments encroaching upon transportation rights-of-way can create significant social, health, safety, welfare, law enforcement, and management issues for local communities and state transportation agencies. Removal of homeless encampments can result in significant legal issues, including alleged civil rights claims based upon a violation of due process under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. The objective of this research is to produce a report that documents the laws, statutes, cases, procedures, policies, and other resources governing or addressing: (1) a transportation agency’s prevention and removal of homeless encampments from transportation rights-of-way; and (2) the authorized use of transportation rights-of-way for homeless shelters and social services to assist transportation agencies in addressing safety, health, and public welfare issues and the ability of transportation agencies to control their rights-of-way.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $50000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-06, Topic 25-04

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

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

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Chisholm-Smith, Gwen

  • Start Date: 20200120
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01713235
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-06, Topic 25-04
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Aug 5 2019 3:23PM