The National Academies

NCHRP 20-129 [Active]

Guide for Addressing Encampments on State Transportation Rights-of-Way

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Staff Responsibility: Amir N. Hanna
Research Agency: Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University
Principal Investigator: Marisa Zapata, Ph.D.
Effective Date: 9/30/2022
Completion Date: 10/12/2023


The number of people experiencing homelessness in the United States has increased in recent years; state transportation rights-of-way (ROWs) are often some of the most accessible areas to set up temporary encampments. This growing trend of encampments on state ROWs has presented unprecedented challenges for state departments of transportation (DOTs) in the design, construction, and maintenance of pavements and bridges; there are no widely accepted guidelines relating to this trend.


There is a need to develop a guide that presents rational practices for responding to, managing, and deterring encampments on the ROWs. These practices should consider issues such as social equity, environmental impacts, safety, legal issues, and coordination with other agencies. This guide will serve as a resource for state DOTs in implementing management practices for prevention, cleanup, and tolerance of encampments, thereby reducing the challenges associated with encampments.



The objective of this research is to develop a guide of suggested practices for responding to, managing, and deterring encampments on the ROWs. The suggested practices shall address the challenges for state DOTs in the design, construction, and maintenance of pavements and consider social equity, environmental impacts, safety, legal issues, coordination with other agencies, and other relevant issues.

Accomplishment of the project objective will require at least the following tasks.



Task 1. Collect and review relevant domestic and foreign literature, research findings, and information relative to responding to, managing, and deterring encampments on the ROWs. This information may be obtained from published and unpublished information, and contacts with public and private organizations.


Task 2. Based on the review performed in Task 1, identify new and existing practices recommended for further consideration/investigation in Phase II.


Task 3. Based on the evaluation performed in Task 2, prepare an updated, detailed work plan to be executed in Phase II that includes an approach for developing the guide of suggested practices.


Task 4. Prepare an interim report that documents the research performed in Tasks 1 through 3. Following review of the interim report by the NCHRP, the research team will be required to make a presentation to the NCHRP project panel. Work on Phase II of the project will not begin until the interim report is approved and the Phase II work plan is authorized by the NCHRP. The decision on proceeding with Phase II will be based on the contractor’s documented justification of the updated work plan.


Task 5.  Execute the Phase II plan approved in Task 4. Based on the results of this work, prepare the guide.


Task 6. Prepare material, in a PowerPoint or other format, for use in webinars and presentations to facilitate implementation and use of the developed guide.


Task 7. Prepare a final deliverable that documents the entire research effort. The deliverable shall include (1) a research report documenting the work performed in the project and used to develop the guide, (2) the guide, and (3) an implementation plan. The guide shall be prepared as a stand-alone document.



STATUS: Active.


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