Transbay Transit Center: San Francisco Builds a Visionary Transportation Hub

The following post comes courtesy of Global Site Plans' The Grid. CNU and Global Site Plans recently teamed up to syndicate Grid content, as its contingent of writers presents a view on the opportunities and issues of urbanization all across the world. CNU will carry select posts from the Grid direct on the CNU Salons.


 If you’ve ever taken Bay Area public transit, you’ll know that there are many options for traveling within and between cities. There are also many options for traveling to different parts of California from the Bay Area using public transit.

But one of the biggest challenges facing public transit is the issue of intermodal passenger transport. Using two or more modes of transportation on a single journey is often difficult – especially with public transit systems – due to distances between stops or differences in schedules.

The Transbay Transit Center, slated for completion in 2017, is the most ambitious step San Francisco has taken thus far to solve that problem. Located in the heart of downtown, the Transbay Transit Center will:

  • Connect 11 national and local transit systems;
  • Serve 100,000 passengers each week day;
  • And serve 45 million passengers per year.

Transbay Transit Center Section

However, the Transbay Transit Center is not merely a transportation project.

From an aesthetic standpoint, the architecture of the building is both beautiful and educational. Project directors have planned for a semi-transparent metal skin to wrap the exterior of the building using a pattern derived from a mathematical pattern.

From an urban planning perspective, the 5.4-acre park, spread over 5 blocks on the center’s roof, is an enormous gain in public open space. It will contain playgrounds, cafes, a 1000-person amphitheater, and many cultural programs.

Transbay Transit Center Bird's Eye View

Additionally, the accompanying high-rise development adjacent to the center, including the 1070-foot Transbay Tower (the highest tower in San Francisco upon completion), will bring a mix of office space, retail space, and housing (including affordable housing) to the area.

Transbay Tower

What are your first impressions of San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center? Are there any similarly ambitious projects you know of that could serve as an appropriate comparison to the Transbay Transit Center?


To read the original post, written by Steven Chang, visit Global Site Plans.


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