Transforming Tysons Corner: Achieving Sustainability by Adding Density in the Most Congested Area in the U.S.A
D Rathbone, Fairfax County Department of Transportation, USA
What it takes to transform Tysons Corner, an edge city, from an overgrown, very large auto-centric suburban office park into a livable, walkable city larger than the city centers of Los Angeles, Seattle, and Houston.
The plan to transform Tysons Corner, a large edge city near Washington D.C., recently received a Burnham National Planning Excellence Award* from the American Planning Association (APA). The planned transformation of Tysons Corner from an overgrown, very large auto-centric suburban office park into a livable, walkable city larger than the city centers of Los Angeles, Seattle, and Houston, also generated interest in the media including an article in Time Magazine.
This paper is about the associated transportation analysis. The paper will describe what it takes to add 75 million square feet of development in a highly congested environment in a sustainable way. The paper will describe how the transportation analysis was conducted and the resulting critical transportation elements contained in the plan. The following are a few examples of these critical transportation elements:
The plan calls for a 65% reduction in vehicle trips within walking distance of four new heavy rail stations being constructed in Tysons Corner. The reduction is achieved through transit use, the appropriate land use mix, the application of transportation demand management measures such as telework, flexible working hours, carpooling, parking pricing and the expected adoption of rigorous transportation demand management programs by developers. These programs will call for a trip reduction goal, annual reports to determine if the trip reduction goals are achieved and the application of substantial remedial and contingency funds provided by developers which can be used if the goals are not met.
The application of maximum parking rates of 1.6 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of office development ? a significant change from the prior requirement of a minimum of 2.6 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of office development.
The development of a grid of complete streets with the expectation for developers to provide the elements of the grid of streets adjacent to their development and possible additional off-site elements of the grid of streets as a result of detailed traffic impact studies.
The monitoring of vehicles entering and exiting Tysons Corner. The results of the monitoring will indicate if we are heading in the right direction in terms of reducing vehicle trips to the desired level. If it is found that the vehicle growth rate is higher than estimated, corrective measures will be applied including the lowering of the planned intensity of development.
Thus far the plan has generated significant interest among developers with 11 major new mixed use developments being planned for Tysons Corner. The paper will provide a description of the transportation elements of the processing of the development plans in order to achieve sustainability.
* The Burnham Award is considered APA's most prestigious award. It honors a plan that advances the science and art of planning. It is named for Daniel Burnham, author of the 1909 Plan of Chicago and architect of Washington, DC's National Mall and Union Station.
The author of the paper is Dr. Daniel Rathbone, Ph.D., P.E. He has 35 years of experience in transportation planning and transport engineering. Dr. Rathbone is Chief of Transportation Planning in Fairfax County and managed the team that conducted the transportation analysis for Tysons Corner. He is the principal author of more than 70 technical reports and papers. His honors include a Past President's Award of the Institute of Transportation Engineers and achievement of a Fulbright Scholarship.
Association for European Transport