Right-of-way (transportation)

A right-of-way (ROW) is a right to make a way over a piece of land, usually to and from another piece of land. A right of way is a type of easement granted or reserved over the land for transportation purposes, such as a highway, public footpath, rail transport, canal, as well as electrical transmission lines, oil and gas pipelines.[1] A right-of-way can be used to build a bike trail. A right-of-way is reserved for the purposes of maintenance or expansion of existing services with the right-of-way. In the case of an easement, it may revert to its original owners if the facility is abandoned.

Right of way LCCN2003665185 (cropped)
John Dobie: Right of Way

Rail right-of-way

In the United States, railroad rights-of-way (ROW or R/O/W) are generally considered private property by the respective railroad owners and by applicable state laws. Most U.S. railroads employ their own police forces, who can arrest and prosecute trespassers found on their rights-of-way. Some railroad rights-of-way include recreational rail trails.

In the United Kingdom, railway companies received the right to resume land for a right-of-way by a private Act of Parliament.

Designations of railroad right of way

Pacific Electric Right of Way , Garden Grove
Right-of-way of the out-of-service Paci­fic Electric in Garden Grove, California from left middleground to right background

The various designations of railroad right of way are as follows:

  • Active track is any track that is used regularly or even only once in a while.
  • Out of service means the right of way is preserved, and the railroad retains the right to activate it. The line could be out of service for decades. Thus track or crossings that have been removed need to be replaced.
  • By an embargo the track is removed, but the right of way is preserved and usually is converted into a walking or cycling path or other such use.
  • An abandonment is a lengthy formal process by which the railroad gives up all rights to the line. In most cases the track is removed and sold for scrap and any grade crossings are redone. The line will never be active again. The right of way reverts to the adjoining property owners.[2]

Rail rights-of-way uses other than rail transport

Julington-Durbin Peninsula Powerline Right of Way North
Julington-Durbin Peninsula Powerline Right of Way

Railroad rights-of-way need not be exclusively for railroad tracks and related equipment. Easements are frequently given to permit the laying of communication cables (such as optical fiber) or natural gas pipelines, or to run electric power transmission lines overhead, along a railroad.

See also


  1. ^ Henry Campbell Black: Right-of-way. In: A law dictionary containing definitions of the terms and phrases of American and English jurisprudence, ancient and modern: and including the principal terms of international, constitutional, ecclesiastical, and commercial law, and medical jurisprudence, with a collection of legal maxims ... (West Publishing Co., 1910), pg. 1040.
  2. ^ Dick Pool:Various designations of railroad right of way.
2003 Abbeville, South Carolina right-of-way standoff

The 2003 Abbeville right-of-way standoff was a 14-hour shootout that took place on December 8, 2003, in Abbeville, South Carolina, between alleged extremists and self-proclaimed "sovereign citizens" Arthur, wife Rita, and son Steven Bixby; and members of the Abbeville city police department, the Abbeville County sheriff's office, the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the South Carolina Department of Transportation, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

Communications law

Communications law refers to the regulation of electronic communications by wire or radio. It encompasses regulations governing broadcasting, telephone and telecommunications service, cable television, satellite communications, wireless telecommunications, and the Internet.


Georgism, also called geoism and single tax (archaic), is an economic philosophy holding that, while people should own the value they produce themselves, economic value derived from land (often including natural resources and natural opportunities) should belong equally to all members of society. Developed from the writings of the economist and social reformer Henry George, the Georgist paradigm seeks solutions to social and ecological problems, based on principles of land rights and public finance which attempt to integrate economic efficiency with social justice.Georgism is concerned with the distribution of economic rent caused by natural monopolies, pollution, and the control of commons, including title of ownership for natural resources and other contrived privileges (e.g., intellectual property). Any natural resource which is inherently limited in supply can generate economic rent, but the classical and most significant example of 'land monopoly' involves the extraction of common ground rent from valuable urban locations. Georgists argue that taxing economic rent is efficient, fair, and equitable. The main Georgist policy recommendation is a tax assessed on land value. Georgists argue that revenues from a land value tax (LVT) can be used to reduce or eliminate existing taxes (for example, on income, trade, or purchases) that are unfair and inefficient. Some Georgists also advocate for the return of surplus public revenue to the people by means of a basic income or citizen's dividend.

Economists since Adam Smith and David Ricardo have observed that, unlike other taxes, a public levy on land value does not cause economic inefficiency. A land value tax also has progressive tax effects, in that it is paid primarily by the wealthy (the landowners), and it cannot be passed on to tenants, workers, or users of land. Advocates of land value taxes argue that they would reduce economic inequality, increase economic efficiency, remove incentives to under-utilize urban land, and reduce property speculation. The philosophical basis of Georgism dates back to several early thinkers such as John Locke, Baruch Spinoza, and Thomas Paine, but the concept of gaining public revenues mainly from land and natural resource privileges was widely popularized by Henry George and his first book, Progress and Poverty (1879).

Georgist ideas were popular and influential during the late 19th and early 20th century. Political parties, institutions and communities were founded based on Georgist principles during that time. Early devotees of Henry George's economic philosophy were often termed Single Taxers for their political goal of raising public revenue mainly from a land value tax, although Georgists endorsed multiple forms of rent capture (e.g., seigniorage) as legitimate. The term Georgism was invented later, and some prefer the term geoism to distinguish their beliefs from those of Henry George.

Right of way

Right of way is a term used to describe "the legal right, established by usage or grant, to pass along a specific route through grounds or property belonging to another", or "a path or thoroughfare subject to such a right". This article is mainly about access by foot, by bicycle, horseback, or along a waterway, and Right-of-way (transportation) focusses on highways, railways, pipelines, etc. A footpath is a right of way that can only be used by pedestrians.

A similar right of access also exists on some public land in the United States. In Canada, Australia and New Zealand, such land may alternatively be called Crown land.

In some countries, especially in Northern Europe, where the freedom to roam has historically taken the form of general public rights, a right of way may not be restricted to specific paths or trails.

When one person owns a piece of land which is bordered on all sides by lands owned by others, a court will be obliged to grant that person a right of way through the bordering land.

Right of way (disambiguation)

A right of way (alternatively right-of-way) gives permission to access a route. The term may also refer to:

Right of way in predominantly British usage, which allows the use of a footpath or other route on privately owned land

Right-of-way (transportation) in chiefly American usage, an easement or grant to use the land, in order to construct transportation facilities

Right-of-way (traffic), allowing priority use of a traffic path, to the exclusion of another user

Right of way (shipping), set of sailing rules on water paths regarding priority and signaling

Right of way, priority of attacking in fencing

Rights of way in England and Wales

In England and Wales, other than in the 12 Inner London Boroughs and the City of London, the "right of way" refers to paths on which the public have a legally protected right to pass and re-pass. The law in England and Wales differs from Scots law in that rights of way exist only where they are so designated (or are able to be designated if not already), whereas in Scotland any route that meets certain conditions is defined as a right of way, and in addition there is a general presumption of access to the countryside ("right to roam"). Private rights of way or easements also exist (see also Highways in England and Wales).

Welaunee Plantation, Florida

Welaunee Plantation was a large quail hunting plantation located in central Leon County, Florida, United States established by Udo M. Fleischmann.

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