Rail

How to Develop a Successful Transit Facility Project

Posted on May 22, 2013 by Fred Gilliam and Ken Anderson

Page 2 of 2

The 250-bus East Valley Bus Operations and Maintenance Facility in Tempe, Ariz., designed by RNL and completed in 2007, features a highly-reflective roofing membrane for flat roofs; oil/water separator to filter storm water run-off; metal canopies over buses to reduce heat island effect; drought-resistant native landscaping; and a bus washer that reclaims and reuses 100% of available water.
The 250-bus East Valley Bus Operations and Maintenance Facility in Tempe, Ariz., designed by RNL and completed in 2007, features a highly-reflective roofing membrane for flat roofs; oil/water separator to filter storm water run-off; metal canopies over buses to reduce heat island effect; drought-resistant native landscaping; and a bus washer that reclaims and reuses 100% of available water.
Connect with community
When funding for the project is secure and a project location has been confirmed, it is imperative the project team successfully connect with the community located around the new or renewed facility site. Communities have valid concerns about transportation facilities in their neighborhoods.

These include circulation, street safety, noise and lighting levels as well as inconveniences that might be caused during construction.

Often the most unnerving aspect of a new facility for surrounding communities is the unknown. In many cases funds can be allocated within the project scope to engage a communications professional. Or, as was the case for the RNL-designed Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) El Monte Transit Center in El Monte, Calif., in-house professionals can organize fruitful exchanges between the agency and neighbors.

“Being proactive when communicating with the community allows the team to thoughtfully address concerns before they impede a project’s schedule or scope,” says Tim Lindholm, director, capital projects, for Metro.

Consider LEED design
Whether to seek a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is often evaluated at this stage.  

“The decision to pursue LEED certification is one of both policy and practicality,” says John Hodges, VP, capital projects & real estate, for Capital Metro. “All design decisions should respond to and reflect the political ethic of the organization. And, as a transit authority has a long-term time horizon and not that of a short-term merchant builder, every design decision, whether in the framework of LEED certification or not, should be made in the context of lifecycle costs.”

RNL, a design firm with more than 120 transit/fleet facilities to their credit, anticipates a 10% to 50% increase in operating efficiency when a new facility is built as a result of new technologies and updated heating/cooling equipment.

Although certainly not a complete list of the myriad of factors that must be examined when moving forward with a new or expanded facility, the above are some of the most important factors to keep in mind when an agency seeks to plan, fund and design a facility for their community. Part two of “How to Develop a Successful Project” will discuss the design and implementation process as well as post project analysis.    

Fred M. Gilliam, RNL’s transportation group business development lead, is a 48-year transportation-industry veteran. He retired as president/CEO of Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Austin, Texas, in 2009.

Ken J. Anderson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, associate principal and Washington, D.C., office lead, has been with RNL for more than 12 years. As a project manager and architect he leads transportation work for the East Coast and Southwest regions.

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