Portland State University (PSU) has been awarded a new contract by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). To create a "Guide for Addressing Encampments on State Transportation Rights-of-Way," $350,000 in research funding will go toward developing a set of best practices to help state transportation agencies respond to temporary encampments on state transportation rights-of-way. These areas, including paved roads, bridges, and other transportation facilities managed by the state, are often some of the most accessible public land for people to occupy who have nowhere else to go.
A growing trend of encampments on state rights-of-way has presented unprecedented challenges for state departments of transportation (DOTs) in the design, construction, and maintenance of transportation facilities. As owners of some of the largest stretches of public land, DOTs must maintain the land for public use, and may lack resources to address the social welfare aspects of this stewardship. There are no widely accepted guidelines relating to this trend. By supporting this research, the NCHRP aims to help state DOTs respond to encampments in a way that assures rights-of-way remain open while...Read more