Maximizing Transportation Assets by Building Community Connection Through Innovative Development of Rights of Way and Airspace

Planning, developing and implementing transportation projects for the State of Minnesota according to Minnesota Statute Chapter 174.01, requires observing national policies and matters of local or regional concern, as applicable (MnStat 174.03 Subd 3). To meet these requirements, MnDOT seeks partnerships with community, business, and government entities to better utilize state highway lands and airspace. The purpose of these partnerships is to: provide transportation facilities without undue burden to any community; ensure economic well-being and quality of life; and to enhance economic development (MnStat 174.01 Subd 2(2), (4)). The best examples of these partnerships are projects like highway caps and development of spaces underneath highways that bring about more equitable outcomes, address racial disparities, reduce environmental impacts, enhance transportation service, and improve acceptance and delivery of projects. Such outcomes are not guaranteed, however, and there is little guidance regarding what practices may lead to the most ideal outcomes. This research proposes a case study approach to review examples of new trends in transportation projects that enhance transportation facilities by incorporating non-transportation uses and planning innovations to create mutually beneficial outcomes. This research will result in recommended guidelines for transportation planning processes for communities hosting transportation infrastructure that maximize the use of public and private resources to achieve more equitable transportation service; provide opportunity for greater economic growth; and support healthier communities through more equitable social and environmental outcomes.