Program Sustainability

As a critical component of the Bay Area regional public transportation network, the Transbay Transit Center Program contributes greatly to the regional sustainability goal of alternative public transportation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Transit Oriented Development

Caltrans defines Transit Oriented Development (TOD) as a transportation related land use strategy that can be used in large urban and small communities in coordination with bus, rail and/or ferry transit systems. TOD is an alternative to the predominant pattern of low-density sprawl that results in dependency on automobile travel.

The Transbay Program is a national model for TOD. The new Transit Center will bring 11 different public transportation systems under a single roof. The Transit Center will be the centerpiece of a new transit-oriented neighborhood where people live, work, visit parks, and shop within walking distance of public transportation.

TOD will slow global warming; reduce energy and commuting costs, resulting in increases in household incomes; reduce traffic congestion and commute times, thereby increasing productivity; conserve land, particularly sensitive natural areas, by reducing suburban sprawl; improve health as more people walk and ride bikes; increase mobility; and provide new recreational opportunities through development of urban parks, such as the 5.4 acre rooftop park on the Transit Center.

The Transbay Program is a leader in the drive to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. The Downtown Rail Extension alone is projected to eliminate 36,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually; the full high-speed rail system will reduce emissions by another 3.4 million tons per year when completed in 2030.

Sustainable Design

In addition to its role on the forefront of Transit Oriented Development, the Program will incorporate many sustainable design and green building features, including the following:

  • One of the most visible sustainable features is the 5.4-acre roof top park. “City Park” will serve as a living roof on the Transit Center, reducing the urban heat island effect common in dense city environments and helping to filter the surrounding air. The park is being designed with efficient irrigation and drainage systems and will incorporate climate appropriate plants.
  • The new Transit Center will take advantage of natural daylight to offset the need for electric lighting during daylight hours while the Light Column feature in the Grand Hall will bring natural light into the internal areas of the station.  The Transit Center will feature natural ventilation in the Grand Hall and on the bus deck level.
  • The Transit Center will help support San Francisco’s aggressive recycling goal of reaching 75 percent diversion (and eventually zero waste) by providing three-stream waste separation that includes compost and recyclables. During demolition of the former Transbay Terminal, TJPA recycled over 7,500 tons of steel and over 92,000 cubic yards of concrete, enough to fill 28 Olympic size swimming pools. In addition to supporting progressive recycling and composting during transit center operations, the project intends to meet the LEED requirements for construction waste management while the new Transit Center is being built.
  • The project will also earn several LEED credits for storm water runoff reduction, water conservation and irrigation water use reduction. The current water system design will reduce total potable water use in the Transit Center by half and will address all aspects of water conservation including building uses, irrigation, water reuse and more. The Transit Center will include storage tanks for greywater as well as storm water runoff from the rooftop park.

As a result of these and other sustainability features, the Transit Center is on track to earn a LEED gold rating.