The National Academies

NCHRP 20-06 [Active]

Legal Problems Arising out of Highway Programs

  Project Data
Funds: Continuing
Staff Responsibility: Gwen Chisholm-Smith
Research Agency: TRB
Effective Date: 11/1/1968
Comments: Hyperlinks to each LRD published since 1999 appear below (Topic 10-03 forward).

Background: A major and continuing need of state highway and transportation departments involves assembling, analyzing, and evaluating operating practices, administrative procedures, and legal issues associated with highway and transportation projects. Individual state legal experiences need to be compared and made available for possible wider application. Research to identify and evaluate legal options facilitates the handling of both immediate and long-range needs of engineering, planning, and administrative aspects of transportation programs.

NCHRP Project 20-06 was established in 1968 to meet these needs. It is a continuing project under the direction of the TRB staff Counsel for Legal Research. Numerous legal and right of way problems affecting the operations and the services and facilities provided by state transportation agencies have been researched since the beginning of the project. Results are made available to state transportation departments and other public and private agencies through publication of Legal Research Digests and Selected Studies in Transportation Law (SSTL). SSTL is jointly sponsored with TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program and is comprised of the following volumes:

  • Volume 1 Construction Contract Law (NCHRP)
  • Volume 2 Eminent Domain (NCHRP)            
  • Volume 3 Environmental Law and Transportation (NCHRP)
  • Volume 4 Tort Liability (NCHRP)                     
  • Volume 5 Transit Law (TCRP)
  • Volume 6 Transit Labor 13(c) Decisions (TCRP)
  • Volume 7 Transit Charter Bus Service: Decisions and Documents (TCRP)
  • Volume 8 Transportation Law and Governmental Relations (NCHRP)
Status: The status of each research topic appears below.
Product Availability: Individual studies completed under this project are published as NCHRP Legal Research Digests (LRD).  Hyperlinks to each LRD published since 1999 appear below (Topic 10-03 forward).  The full list of NCHRP Legal Research Digests is listed below.  For materials published prior to 1999, please see the TRB Bookstore.  Publications since 1999 are shown below with their respective project topic and a link to their material on the TRB website. 

Active Projects:
Completed Projects:
Phase I, a survey of state departments of transportation, states attorneys general guidance, agency practices, reported decisions, administrative rules and guidance (to determine what they doing with the information), has been completed, and a report with the conclusions was submitted to TRB. The panel subsequently decided to proceed with Phase II which consists of further research, case and statutory/regulatory analysis, and additional primary data collection.
Status: Research completed

20-06/Topic 17-01 Update of Selected Studies in Transportation, Volume One: Transportation Contract Law

This product is available on CD from the TRB bookstore and can be downloaded from the TRB website.

20-06/Topic 17-02 Tort Liability Defense Practices for Design Flexibility
20-06/Topic 17-03 First Responders
20-06/Topic 17-04 Legal Aspects of Performance-Based Specifications for Highway Construction and Maintenance Contracts
20-06/Topic 17-05 The Ramifications of Post-Kelo Legislation on State Transportation
20-06/Topic 18-01 Legal Aspects of Conservation Easements—A Primer for Transportation Agencies
20-06/Topic 18-02 Enforceability of Local Hire Preference Programs
20-06/Topic 18-03 Legal Issues Surrounding the Use of Digital Intellectual Property on Design and Construction Projects
20-06/Topic 19-01 Eminent Domain and Fair Market Value in a Depressed Real Estate Market
20-06/Topic 19-02 Legal Aspect of Environmental Permitting in the Emergency Response Environment

Research in progress

20-06/Topic 19-03 Effect of MUTCD on Tort Liability of Government Transportation Agencies
20-06/Topic 19-04 Use of Social Media in Transportation Agencies

20-06/Topic 20-02 Liability of Design Builders for Design, Construction and Acquisition Claims

20-06/Topic 20-03 Permissible Arranges in Scope of Work for Construction Contracts

20-06/Topic 20-04 Due Diligence for Insurance Coverage in Transportation Construction Contracts

20-06/Topic 21-01 A Look at the Legal Environment for Driverless Vehicles

20-06/Topic 21-02 Claims Related to Stormwater Discharges

20-06/Topic 21-03 Takings and Mitigation

20-06/Topic 21-04 Liability of Transportation Entity for the Unintentional Release of Secure Data or the Intentional Release of Monitoring Data on Movements or Activities of the Public

20-06/Topic 22-01 Legal Requirements for State DOT Participation in Conservation Plans

20-06/Topic 22-02 Liability of State Departments of Transportation for Design Errors

20-06/Topic 22-03 Primer on Patentability and Use of Ideas Developed by Contractors Performing Work for State and Federal Transportation and Local Planning Agencies

20-06/Topic 22-04 Summary of Federal Law Restricting Use of Highway Safety Data in Tort Litigation

20-06/Topic 23-01 Condemnation Hierarchy-Competing Public Uses

20-06/Topic 23-04 The Effectiveness of State False Claims Acts in Protecting State Transportation Funding

20-06/Topic 23-05 Update of Selected Studies in Transportation Law: Volume Eight, Section 3: Indian Transportation Law

20-06/Topic 23-06 Update of Selected Studies in Transportation Law: Volume Eight, Section 1: Transportation Agencies and Civil Rights

20-06/Topic 24-01 Buy America Requirements For Federal Highway Projects

20-06/Topic 24-02 Potential Liability Associated with Unstable Slope Management Programs

20-06/Topic 24-03 Guidelines for Drafting Liability Neutral Transportation Engineering Documents

20-06/Topic 24-04 The Legal Issues Concerning the Use of Transportation Facilities to Generate Revenue for State DOTs

20-06/Topic 24-05 Fix It, Sign It, or Close It: State of Good Repair in an Era of Budget Constraints

20-06/Topic 25-01 Public Liabilities Relating to Driveway Permits

20-06/Topic 25-03 Managing Enhanced Risk in the Mega Project Era

20-06/Topic 25-04 Laws Governing Homeless Encampments in Transportation Rights-of-Way

20-06/Topic 25-05 The Legal Issues Associated with Consequential Damages Provisions in Construction Contracts

20-06/Topic 25-06 Legal Issues and Strategies for Best-Value Procurement for Highway Construction

20-06/Topic 25-07 Review of Statutory and Case Law on Planning and Environmental Linkages

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