This post summarizes several ideas that could be employed to facilitate the establishment of sustainable transportation hubs where intermodal cross-movement between multiple green (or active) transportation options takes place with ease. In a nutshell, these facilities are described by using the term “Ecomodal Hub.” Strategically placed on a brownfield, adaptable, or vacant site within the urban area, it is believed such hubs would establish the necessary infrastructure and coordination to accelerate the conversion of more commuters from single-occupant automobiles to clean and green commuting alternatives.
At the heart of the Ecomodal Hub would be a solar-powered and/or green-roofed hub station for commuters/travelers who are transferring between transportation options to wait and relax in a safe, environmentally efficient, and sheltered environment. Most Ecomodal Hubs would not need to be as enormous or complex as San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal which is shown in the photo above. Much smaller and less expensive and less complex versions could be developed in cities of varying size. In some instances a vacant parcel or parking lot could easily be transformed into an Ecomodal Hub given the right parameters.
The building’s interior would have appropriate conveniences such as seating, free wi-fi and computer/laptop recharging sites, restrooms, changing/shower facilities, ATM, coffee shop/snack bar/newsstand, storage lockers, security, ticket terminals, intermodal arrival/departure display monitors, and similar resources. Outside of the hub station would be a solar-lighted/heated transit/intercity bus shelter for each direction of the adjacent route(s); a minimum of six sheltered solar-powered EV charging/plug-in stations; sheltered bicycle parking racks; a quick-fix bicycle service station; a taxicab stand; and a minimum of 50 carpool/vanpool parking spaces.
Alternative energy vehicles shall be given priority parking locations along with those for the disabled nearest the hub station. Throughout the site, appropriate and native landscaping would be utilized for cooling/shade in the summer months and to deflect winter winds whenever practical. Recycling and waste containers will be located throughout the interior and exterior of the site and all exterior lighting would be solar-powered, as well. Gray water from the hub station will be used for the trees and plantings.
For those cities fortunate enough to have commuter rail or light rail, every attempt should be made to link the Ecomodal Hub to a railroad passenger station. Otherwise, it should be situated in close proximity. Ecomodal Hubs should also be located adjacent to or very close to important transit routes and major bicycle commuting corridors/trails.
Any other thoughts and ideas on this topic are most welcome. Thanks!