The National Academies

TCRP J-05/Topic 22-03 [Pending]

Legal Aspects of Transit to Airports
[ TCRP J-05 (Legal Aspects of Transit and Intermodal Transportation Programs) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $75,000
Contract Time: 12 months
Staff Responsibility: Gwen Chisholm-Smith


The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) plans to award a contract for a study and report. Legal reports sponsored by this project are published in TCRP's Legal Research Digest (LRD) series. Publications are available to some libraries and approximately 4,000 transportation lawyers and officials through the TRB distribution network.


Most large and midsize airports have one or more modes of public transportation for passengers and employees. Growth in air travel is forecast to continue, and public transportation services to and near airports will also likely increase. Research is needed to present the legal issues around improving public transportation services and facilities that serve airports.


This research aims to produce a summary of the legal issues facing attorneys for transit agencies and airports when improving public transportation services and facilities that serve airports. One of the main issues to be examined is planning and constructing the infrastructure required to improve public transportation serving airports (e.g., stops, stations, and rights-of-way). 

The research should address: 

  • Contracting processes (e.g., partnership agreements)
  • Environmental concerns (National Environmental Policy Act and similar state laws)
  • Federal Aviation Administration regulations and requirements
  • Funding (e.g., grant funding, including the role of regional agencies)
  • Jurisdictional issues (e.g., responsibility for unhoused individuals who take public transit to or from the airport)
  • Lead agency (transit agency or airport)
  • Multimodal issues
  • Permits
  • Public v. private carriers
  • Regulatory issues
  • State laws (e.g., revenue restrictions)

For this legal research digest, “public transportation” includes express and multistop buses and rail services, public and private van services, and other shared-ride services available to the general public.

The research team should survey general counsel at selected airports and transit agencies with buses, rail vehicles, or vans that serve airports and include a discussion of legal issues that have surfaced and how they were resolved.


This research will be conducted in four tasks under a firm fixed-price agreement.

Task 1. Develop a research plan and detailed report outline. The consultant will (1) prepare a plan to conduct research and collect relevant material, and (2) propose a detailed report outline. The research plan should be 8 to 12 pages and include a proposed survey if one is to be used. The report outline should contain sufficient detail to show the TCRP project panel what a 75-to-100-page report will contain and include the estimated pagination for each proposed section and subsection. This material will be submitted to TCRP for approval.

Task 2. Conduct research. After approval of the work plan, the consultant should conduct additional research and case and statutory/regulatory analysis.

Task 3. Submit draft report in accordance with the approved work plan (including modifications required by TCRP).

Task 4. Submit final report. The consultant should anticipate making two revisions to the report before it is finalized. One revision may be required after review by TCRP staff and members of a subcommittee. Final revisions may be necessary after the full committee has reviewed the report.


25% paid upon submission and approval of the Task 1 report.

50% paid upon submission and approval of the Task 3 report.

25% paid upon submission and approval of the final report (following revisions as required by TCRP).

STATUS: A response has been received for this RFP.  The project panel will meet to determine next steps.

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