Economics, Community and Methods
Edited by Richard D. Knowles and Fiona Ferbrache
Chapter 2: New stations and transit oriented development in three United States rail corridors
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 (NEC) 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 transport oriented development (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: Salesforce Transit Center (San Francisco), Washington Union Station (Washington, DC) and Miami Central (Miami). It also seeks to contribute to the understanding of processes currently under way 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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