A Multi-Modal Transit Hub is a transport node that interconnects multiple modes of transport, and consequently, improves the efficiency and speed of movement. The Multi-Modal Transit Hub unites seamless passenger transfers as well as combines it with passenger transit-based activities. It is the spine of a city that serves the most crucial purpose of transportation, becoming a linchpin for an efficient transport system. 

10 Best Multi-modal transit hubs around the world
Multi-Modal Transit Hub ©Arunas Kacinskas on Behance

The Transit Hub also caters to seamless mobility and an environment for easy flow between public transport and public space to uplift the economic scenario while also creating a social identity for the city. It is not just a starting or ending point of a journey the Multi-Modal Transit Hub also serves as a node for the community that surrounds or resides around the transit hub.

There are many built and unbuilt examples of multi-modal transit hubs. Here is a list of the 10 Best Multi-modal transit hubs around the world:

1) Arnhem Central Transfer Terminal, Arnhem, The Netherlands

Architect: UNstudio
Year: 1996-2015
Type: Built Project

Arnhem Central Transfer Terminal is a gateway or a front door of the city and an important node between 3 countries- Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. The Arnhem station consists of commercial areas, conference centre, and has connections with the shops, offices, housing, cinema complex, office plaza, underground parking garage, city centre, and the Park Sonsbeek. It has a Transfer Terminal, which features a dramatic twisting geometry and undulating form of the roof enabling column-free span up to 60m. 

The concept used by the UNStudio was to blur the boundaries between inside and outside of the terminal. They achieved this by having a naturally sloping continuous urban landscape seamlessly transition with the interiors. Another aim of the architects was to use a twisting central column, that unifies the various modes of transport- foot, bicycle, car, bus, trolley-bus and train. There are also V-shaped concrete load-bearing walls used to provide space for natural daylight to the below-ground levels. This daylight also becomes a source of wayfinding for the passengers.

Arnhem Central Transfer Terminal, Arnhem, The Netherlands - Sheet7
Arnhem Central Transfer Terminal ©Siebe Swart
Arnhem Central Transfer Terminal, Arnhem, The Netherlands - Sheet1
Twist ©Frank Hanswijk
Arnhem Central Transfer Terminal, Arnhem, The Netherlands - Sheet2
Twist ©Ronald Tilleman
Arnhem Central Transfer Terminal, Arnhem, The Netherlands - Sheet3
Skylight ©archdaily.com
Arnhem Central Transfer Terminal, Arnhem, The Netherlands - Sheet4
Skylight ©archdaily.com
Arnhem Central Transfer Terminal, Arnhem, The Netherlands - Sheet5
Arnhem Interiors ©dezeen
Arnhem Central Transfer Terminal, Arnhem, The Netherlands - Sheet6
Section ©archdaily.com

2) The Oculus, New York City, New York

Architect: Santiago Calatrava
Year: 2016
Type: Built Project

The Oculus, also known as the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, is an organic, white-winged transit hub located in the financial district of New York City, New York. The form with its vast interiors stands out and is inspired by bird wings while flying. The transit hub not only physically connects people with various places, but also helps them to overcome the 9/11 tragedy. It becomes a symbol of the camaraderie of the American people.

The design of the Oculus is an arched elliptical structure with two entrances from east and west facades. At the upper concourse level, passengers can access the MTA 1, R and E subway lines, as well as the retail galleries and towers 2, 3 and 4. There is a large skylight at the apex

which provides natural light. The repetition of the structural steel ribs unifies the multi-modal transit hub and becomes an appealing element for the pedestrians.

The Oculus, New York City, New York - Sheet1
Oculus ©Hufton Crow
The Oculus, New York City, New York - Sheet2
Oculus ©Hufton Crow
The Oculus, New York City, New York - Sheet3
Interior of Oculus ©Alan Karchmer
The Oculus, New York City, New York - Sheet4
Interior of Oculus ©Hufton+Crow
The Oculus, New York City, New York - Sheet5
Interior ©Imagen Subliminal
The Oculus, New York City, New York - Sheet6
Interior ©Imagen Subliminal
The Oculus, New York City, New York - Sheet7
Exterior ©Hufton Crow
The Oculus, New York City, New York - Sheet8
Concept ©Santiago Calatrava

3) Rotterdam Centraal Station

Architect: Benthem Crouwel Architects, MVSA Architects, West 8
Year: 2014
Type: Built Project

Rotterdam Centraal Station is a multi-modal transit hub that caters to the High-Speed Train (HST), RandstadRail, light rail system, tram, taxi, subway and bus services. It is a transport node with high passenger flow expected to have approximately 323,000 passengers per day by 2025. The Transit Hub is in the middle of Europe with being the first stop in the Netherlands when travelling from the south side. 

The Rotterdam Centraal has a different urban character on the north and south side of the station because of the varied context. The north side entrance has a modest design with a simple glass façade and a small plaza that dissolves into the surrounding neighbourhood. Whereas, the south entrance becomes an iconic gateway to the urban centre. It has a triangular roof that directs the people towards the activity and destinations in the downtown area. The grand entrance with a wide pedestrian plaza gives a bold visual impact.

The transparent platform roof allows abundant natural light and warmth to the interiors. It has a length of about 250 meters and covers all the tracks. There is a footbridge over the tracks for the fast movement of the passengers in transit. The design also consists of a large concourse area linked with commercial spaces, lounge areas, restaurants, office spaces, parking for cars and bicycles. Waiting halls and other transit or retail facilities allow smooth passenger flows in the transit hub.

Rotterdam Centraal Station - Sheet1
Rotterdam Centraal ©Jannes Linders
Rotterdam Centraal Station - Sheet2
Rotterdam Centraal ©Luke Harley
Rotterdam Centraal Station - Sheet3
North Plaza ©Jannes Linders
Rotterdam Centraal Station - Sheet4
South Plaza ©Jannes Linders
Rotterdam Centraal Station - Sheet5
Interior of Rotterdam Centraal ©Jannes Linders
Rotterdam Centraal Station - Sheet6
Site Plan ©Archdaily.com
Rotterdam Centraal Station - Sheet7
Section ©Jannes Linders

4) Västerås Travel Center

Architect: Bjarke Ingels
Year: 2014
Type: Unbuilt Project

Västerås Travel Center is a conceptual idea of a multi-modal transit hub located in the heart of Västerås for trains, buses, taxis, bikes and pedestrians. This project is an approach to redevelop the existing Västerås station where the train tracks bisect the city. The multi-modal transit hub creates opportunities for social interaction with its user-centric design.

The main aim was to reconnect and unite both sides of the tracks with a single floating roof form. The roof is like a thin rectangular sheet with its corners gently lifted, which creates a grand, welcoming entrance. The design follows the passenger flows and links them to restaurants, cafes, bike parking, retail and other facilities.

Västerås Travel Center - Sheet1
Diagram ©BIG
Västerås Travel Center - Sheet2
Diagram ©BIG

5) West Kowloon Station, Hong Kong

Architect: Aedas
Year: 2018
Type: Built Project

The West Kowloon Station connects Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong with the National High-speed Rail network to Beijing. It is a gateway to Mainland China, and with a floor area of approx 400,000 square meters, The station ensures a smooth passenger flow.

The concept of the station is to evoke the quality of a forest in its interiors. There are leaning steel columns to support the floating roof, which consists of 4,000 glass panels. The enormous sculptural roof allows daylight in the interiors and offers a view of the city from the platform and concourse levels, visually connecting the people. 

Surrounded by tall buildings, the station creates a contrast with its 25 m high green accessible roof allowing the passengers a panoramic view of the skyline. The Transit Hub has a green plaza of about 3 hectares that acts as a landmark for the city, giving it a civic element. The fluidity in the form, openness in the planning and the people-centric design of the station allows maximum mobility while forming a social identity for Hong Kong.

West Kowloon Station, Hong Kong - Sheet1
West Kowloon Station ©Paul Warchol
West Kowloon Station, Hong Kong - Sheet2
Interior ©Andrew Bromberg
West Kowloon Station, Hong Kong - Sheet3
Interior ©Virgile Simon Bertrand
West Kowloon Station, Hong Kong - Sheet4
Above 3D View ©Aedas, Below Photograph ©Virgile Simon Bertrand
West Kowloon Station, Hong Kong - Sheet5
Section Illustrated ©Archdaily.com
West Kowloon Station, Hong Kong - Sheet6
Interior ©Virgile Simon Bertrand
West Kowloon Station, Hong Kong - Sheet7
Interior ©Virgile Simon Bertrand

6) Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), USA

Architect: HOK
Year: 2014
Type: Built Project

The Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center also called ARTIC is a civic-minded multi-modal transit hub in Southern California designed by HOK. It provides daily commuters and other passengers with rail, bus, taxi services. The innovative, contemporary and a community-focused design of the transit hub makes it a destination in itself. 

The multi-modal transit hub becomes a link for various modes like Amtrak train, Metrolink, Anaheim Resort Transportation (ART), OCTA bus service, Mega Bus, Greyhound, and the future high-speed rail system. The transit hub also provides amenities such as transit-oriented retail, Wi-Fi, charging stations, lockers, community space, food courts, bike racks and parking.

The ARTIC draws inspiration from the transit hubs like Penn Station, New York and Grand Central Terminal, New York. The concept of the Arnhem Central is a futuristic parabolic form that consists of diamond-shaped steel arches. The diagrid structure is infilled with translucent ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) pillows and illuminated by LEDs. 

The north and south facades have curtain walls which provide views of the city and bring in daylight. The main entrance consists of date palms and olive trees, making the transit hub vibrant and appealing. The central, grand atrium allows open circulation for the passengers. The master plan of the transit hub is functionally seamless with separate areas for vehicular, non-vehicular traffic, and areas for future mixed-use development.

Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), USA - Sheet1
The Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center Aerial View ©HOK
Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), USA - Sheet2
ARTIC ©www.anaheim.net
Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), USA - Sheet3
Interiors ©John Linden
Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), USA - Sheet4
Interiors ©John Linden
Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), USA - Sheet5
ARTIC Exterior ©John Linden

7) Georgia Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal

Architect: FXFOWLE, Cooper Carry Associates
Year: 2013
Type: Unbuilt Project

The Georgia Multi-Modal Transit Hub is located in downtown Atlanta and integrates service for ten passenger train platforms, including commuter rail and high-speed rail. It also includes 80 bus bays for local, regional, and inter-city buses in a single transit hub. The transit hub emphasizes a great hall connected with restaurants and retail areas. 

The proximity of the transit hub to the sports centre and convention centre complex creates an opportunity for numerous activities. Not only this, The multi-modal transit hub acts as a catalyst for private development and urban revitalization. 

Georgia Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal - Sheet1
Exterior ©Cooper Carry Associates
Georgia Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal - Sheet2
Exterior ©Cooper Carry Associates
Georgia Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal - Sheet3
Exterior ©Cooper Carry Associates
Georgia Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal - Sheet4
Interior ©Cooper Carry Associates
Georgia Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal - Sheet5
Atlanta Multi-modal Passenger Terminal ©Cooper Carry Associates
Georgia Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal - Sheet6
Atlanta Multi-modal Passenger Terminal View ©Cooper Carry Associates

8) Transbay Transit Centre, San Francisco

Architect: Pelli Clarke Pelli
Year: 2018
Type: Built Project

The Transbay Transit Centre, also known as the Salesforce Transit Centre, is a multi-modal transit hub that consists of an urban public space, office and retail spaces, located in San Francisco. The design of the transit centre provides a 5.4-acre rooftop park in the downtown area. It consists of cafes, play areas, an art and cultural centre, cycling or pedestrian paths and a 1000-person amphitheatre. Below the rooftop park, It consists of various rail and bus platforms spread over five floors. The skylights in the park illuminate the transit hub with natural light.

There are ductile frames in the transverse direction, and eccentrically braced frames in the longitudinal direction. The entrance has an undulating glass wall, making the entry welcoming in contrast to the concrete and steel structure. The double-curved grid shell was to have a quadrangular grid with flat meshes. The undulating, translucent facade design of the transit hub creates open, airy, light-filled spaces. 

Transbay Transit Centre, San Francisco - Sheet1
Transbay Transit Centre ©Pelli Clarke Pelli
Transbay Transit Centre, San Francisco - Sheet2
Transbay Transit Centre ©Pelli Clarke Pelli
Transbay Transit Centre, San Francisco - Sheet3
Interior ©Pelli Clarke Pelli
Transbay Transit Centre, San Francisco - Sheet4
Exterior ©Pelli Clarke Pelli
Transbay Transit Centre, San Francisco - Sheet5
Interior ©Pelli Clarke Pelli
Transbay Transit Centre, San Francisco - Sheet6
Section ©Pelli Clarke Pelli
Transbay Transit Centre, San Francisco - Sheet7
Aerial View ©Pelli Clarke Pelli

9) Multi-Modal Transportation Centre, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Architect: Mecanoo
Year: 2023 completion
Type: Built Project

The Kaohsiung multi-modal transit hub, by a Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo, integrates train, metro, local and intercity bus services, taxi and bicycle. The design of the aboveground station activates the local community and adds a valuable public green space. The transit hub consists of a lit patterned atrium at the entrance like a welcoming gateway for the city. It has an organic motif, asymmetrical oval-like ceiling, sound panels and lights, and large rounded skylights.

The station offers numerous facilities for the local community and travellers, making it an efficient mobility hub. In the tropical climate of Kaohsiung, sprawling canopy with the green roof reduces the urban heat island effect and protects the open public plaza underneath as large trees would do. The plaza becomes a place where people meet or hold various events like a traditional open-air opera, markets or a mobile library.

Multi-Modal Transportation Centre, Kaohsiung, Taiwan - Sheet1
Kaohsiung Train Station ©Mecanoo
Multi-Modal Transportation Centre, Kaohsiung, Taiwan - Sheet2
Site Plan ©Mecanoo
Multi-Modal Transportation Centre, Kaohsiung, Taiwan - Sheet3
Interior ©Mecanoo
Multi-Modal Transportation Centre, Kaohsiung, Taiwan - Sheet4
Interior ©Mecanoo
Multi-Modal Transportation Centre, Kaohsiung, Taiwan - Sheet5
Interior ©Mecanoo
Multi-Modal Transportation Centre, Kaohsiung, Taiwan - Sheet6
Kaohsiung Train Station ©Mecanoo
Multi-Modal Transportation Centre, Kaohsiung, Taiwan - Sheet7
Kaohsiung Train Station ©Mecanoo
Multi-Modal Transportation Centre, Kaohsiung, Taiwan - Sheet8
Roof ©Mecanoo
Multi-Modal Transportation Centre, Kaohsiung, Taiwan - Sheet10
Kaohsiung Train Station View ©Mecanoo

10) Multi-Modal Traffic Hub: Ülemiste Terminal, Tallinn

Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects
Year: 2019
Type: Unbuilt Project

The Ülemiste terminal is a multi-modal transit hub, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, that connects Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius with the European high-speed rail network. There is an integration of bus, tram, air and rail traffic that meet at the transit hub. The movement of the modes of transport through the building plays a crucial role in defining the spatial geometry for seamless mobility.

The pedestrian bridge would create links between the various modes of transport with the adjacent airport. The design of the sustainable and pedestrian-friendly transit hub is according to the flow of the circulation routes. The design draws inspiration from a long curved bridge, perpendicular to the railway tracks that gradually twist at the centre by 45 degrees.

Multi-Modal Traffic Hub: Ülemiste Terminal, Tallinn - Sheet1
Ülemiste Terminal ©ZHA
Multi-Modal Traffic Hub: Ülemiste Terminal, Tallinn - Sheet2
Site of Ülemiste Terminal ©ZHA
Multi-Modal Traffic Hub: Ülemiste Terminal, Tallinn - Sheet3
Ülemiste Terminal ©ZHA
Multi-Modal Traffic Hub: Ülemiste Terminal, Tallinn - Sheet4
Ülemiste Terminal ©ZHA
Multi-Modal Traffic Hub: Ülemiste Terminal, Tallinn - Sheet5
View of Ülemiste Terminal ©ZHA
Multi-Modal Traffic Hub: Ülemiste Terminal, Tallinn - Sheet6
Platform ©ZHA
Multi-Modal Traffic Hub: Ülemiste Terminal, Tallinn - Sheet7
Ülemiste Terminal ©ZHA
Multi-Modal Traffic Hub: Ülemiste Terminal, Tallinn - Sheet8
Model of Ülemiste Terminal ©ZHA
Author

Yachika Sharma is an architect who recently graduated from Chandigarh College of Architecture. She has a profound passion for architecture, poetry, art and travelling. She believes that it is crucial to go on to an adventure to fathom a city and unravel the little subtleties of city life.

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