Cost model: Transport-led development

Long Street London

Building on top of and around transport hubs such as rail and bus stations can create much needed new homes in ideally connected locations, but the viability of such transport-oriented developments depends on complex factors

01 / Introduction

Given the UK housing shortage and limited space to build on in our towns and major cities, building on top of and around our bus, train and metro station transport hubs offers an opportunity to increase housing supply at the same time as triggering wider urban regeneration and creating jobs in well-connected areas. But there are a number of planning, engineering and construction complexities that come with transport-oriented developments, and these can affect project programme, costs and therefore viability. 

Continued investment in UK rail networks is providing significant improvements to the infrastructure itself, but it can also act as a catalyst for wider urban regeneration – think Grand Central in Birmingham and King’s Cross in London, one of the largest regeneration schemes in Europe. 

Plans for major new infrastructure such as Crossrail 2, for example, include large elements of transport-oriented development (TOD) to show the wider value the proposed rail route will create. Design studies, research and analysis carried out by Aecom suggest delivery of the line could trigger the development of 215,000 homes, leading to thousands of jobs and contributing significantly to the strategic regeneration of London and the South-east.

Through thoughtful TOD, stations can become destinations in themselves — places where people go not only to travel but also to shop, meet friends, work and live, creating a significant uplift in land value. It’s become a neat equation that if an area becomes a place people want to visit, and is well connected, the value of the land increases.

By understanding all the design issues surrounding TOD, producing low-cost high-value solutions and costing the project accurately, it is possible to release large amounts of land for development in cities across the UK. The biggest challenge in TOD schemes is the costing of “abnormal” items, as they are site-specific and often complex.

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