New stations and TOD in three United States Rail Corridors

Authors: Matthieu Schorung*, Université Paris-Est
Topics: Transportation Geography, United States, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: Rail Stations, United States, Transit-Oriented Development, Station District, Sustainable Development
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 4:30 PM / 6:10 PM
Room: Coolidge, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


At present, the United States has no high-speed rail lines as defined by the criteria of the International Union of Railways, and one example of higher-speed rail in the Northeast corridor. In 2016, the only project under construction was in California. Amtrak has started planning on a major project to upgrade the Northeast corridor and convert it to a new high-speed line. In parallel, private projects are under development, for example in Florida.
These different interurban rail projects entail the renovation or construction of multimodal hubs that offer a combination of interurban, regional and urban rail services. Their initiators claim to apply TOD principles and a broader vision of sustainable cities and “smart growth” based on green transport modes.
Following analysis, it turns out that while these transport projects adopt the language of TOD, they do not quite fulfil its principles. It could be that the TOD process is appropriated for political and commercial ends, in order to demonstrate credentials of environmental sustainability and “green urbanism”, without genuine reflection on how to build sustainable cities around upgraded rail transport and high-density, compact urban form.
This chapter examines how TOD principles are incorporated into new railway stations and station districts within three rail corridors in the United States: SFTransbay Transit Center, Washington Union Station and Miami Central (Miami). It also seeks to contribute to the understanding of processes currently underway in the United States to develop sustainable cities and to move away from the auto-centred model of the American city.

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