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

Transportation agencies throughout the United States are focused on repairing the damage that highway construction has caused in communities.

MnDOT seeks partnerships with communities, businesses, and government entities to better utilize state highway lands and airspace.

These partnerships aim to enhance economic wellbeing and quality of life. Projects like highway caps and development of spaces underneath highways can increase equity, reduce disparities, and limit environmental impacts.

“There are a rich variety of responses to the negative effect highways can have on communities,” explained Cyrus Knutson, director of the Center for Community Connections, MnDOT Metro District. “Learning from these examples will assure that our transportation facilities better complement the communities that host them.”


A new MnDOT-funded study will recommend planning process guidelines for communities hosting transportation infrastructure that use public and private resources to achieve more equitable transportation service, provide opportunity for greater economic growth and support healthier communities. As part of this study, researchers will identify case studies of transportation planning innovations to find common themes and potential barriers to implementing the practice in Minnesota. The research team will also host a symposium to bring together the representatives from each case study and senior officials and decision-makers from Minnesota to discuss recommended steps and best practices.

Project Details

  • Estimated Start Date: 06/10/2021
  • Estimated Completion Date: 09/30/2022
  • Funding: MnDOT
  • Principal Investigator: Frank Douma
  • Technical Liaison: Hannah Rank

Details of the research study work plan and timeline are subject to change.

To receive email updates about this project, visit MnDOT’s Office of Research & Innovation to subscribe.

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