Transport-oriented development — costing the complexities

Mike Pauley

Developing and optimising land around transport hubs could be one of the ways to ease the UK housing shortage. But, transport-oriented developments (TODs), are complex to deliver. Advanced structures specialist Mike Pauley examines key TOD planning, design and construction complexities that can impact a project’s economic viability.

Investment in the UK’s transportation infrastructure brings great opportunities to build much-needed homes around and above transport hubs, creating well-connected communities where people want to live, work and visit, and triggering wider urban regeneration.

But there are a number of ‘abnormals’ or complexities specific to TOD projects that can affect programme and costs, and therefore viability. Our TOD cost model, available as a download below,  looks at these abnormals in detail, with some key issues listed below.

Harmonious design

A successful TOD involves carefully considering and balancing requirements of a station with the requirements of the adjacent or oversite development. Detailed planning is needed, coupled with a depth of understanding around what makes a commercial development viable and how a station works.

Construction logistics

TODs usually involves working around live transport infrastructure, leading to a number safety and logistical complexities. Constructing around a live facility, used by thousands of people each day for example, requires solutions that will minimise disruption to passengers’ journeys, while also ensuring their safety and avoiding project delays.

Deck to build over

The deck is the construction that separates a TOD oversite development from the operational railway underneath and is the main difference between TODs and typical built-environment projects. While constructing the deck is intrinsically difficult because it means building around or through existing buildings, it is vital in providing a robust support for buildings above.

Land contamination

Railway land often has some type of contamination, such as asbestos. Any remediation required will have consequences on project time and costs. Other environmental issues such as noise pollution, air quality and heritage and archaeology must also be considered.

Long-term maintenance

Buildings above or adjacent to operational stations need to be designed to be safely and cost-effectively maintained while the station underneath is in use by the public. Maintaining the usability of station and surrounding area during construction is also crucial. Factoring in how people will move safely and efficiently in, out and around the station in an emergency is also imperative.

Download our cost model here.


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