A Streetcar Named Innovation

by: Guest Author | 10/27/2014
Estimated Reading time: 3 - 4 minutes

Kansas City, Missouri Uses InfraWorks to Do Planning and Urban Design

Guest author: Gunnar Hand, AICP with BNIM Architects @ghand@bnim.com

NextRail KC Interactive Model of potential Streetcar Routes_2

Downtown Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO) is experiencing an urban renaissance, eclipsed by the opening of its new streetcar starter line in 2015, which is already transforming both transit and economic development. In collaboration with KCMO and led by Kansas City-based architecture, planning and design firm BNIM Architects, a $2.5 million, 10-month planning process to expand the Downtown Streetcar starter line into an urban circulator system was completed last Spring 2014.

Titled NextRail KC, the project created an innovative approach to the prioritization of infrastructure investments. In the Summer of 2013, KCMO tasked BNIM and its project team (HNTB, HDR, HG Consult, Taliaferro & Browne, Polsinelli, Hardwick Law Firm, Parson & Associates, Draper Communications, Vireo, EAE, AHR, and SOJ) to identify the best streetcar expansion project using federal funding criteria and an extensive public engagement campaign that reached over 20,000 stakeholders to define community priorities.

The study projects 3,000 riders per day on the Downtown Street, with that number projected to increase to 22,400 riders per day once the expansion is completed.  Once constructed, the streetcar expansion is projected to increase overall urban mobility (36% ridership increase system wide), and bring significant economic development and reinvestment across the City ($800 million over the baseline over 15 years).

To maximize economic development potential and optimize federal funding opportunities, NextRail KC analyzed the land use patterns along each corridor to ensure future transit-oriented development was of the type and quality the community was asking for. Several scenarios were studied using Autodesk’s InfraWorks software. BNIM is working with the City to draft a citywide TOD policy that can be applied across a spectrum of neighborhood character typologies.

HDR_Downtown Streetcar starter line rendeirng_2 (Downtown Streetcar Starter Line rendering. Image courtesy of HDR).

The City is currently considering several funding options to expand the streetcar starter line and realize the full potential of an integrated and comprehensive streetcar and transit system.  [Credits: Image 1 and video courtesy of BNIM Architects. Image 2 courtesy of HDR, Inc.].


119_BNIM_2lindwoodstopTo learn more about this project, read the article in the September issue of Civil + Structural Engineer.

Learn more about Autodesk InfraWorks 360 here.


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